Below, Dare reveals why these heroines are so close to her heart"”and the hearts of her readers:
Romancing the Awkward
"Why must this be so mortifying? Oh, that's right. Because it's my life."
"”from Romancing the Duke
When I first started planning my latest book, When a Scot Ties the Knot, I envisioned the heroine, Madeline, as a beautiful, sophisticated heiress with dozens of suitors.
Hah. I should have known. As I tried to write the story, it became painfully evident that I have no idea what it's like to be a beautiful, sophisticated heiress. So Maddie became a different sort of heroine altogether: an illustrator for naturalists who suffers from severe social anxiety. She's so painfully shy she that she created the Regency version of a Canadian Boyfriend"”a fictional Scottish sweetheart"”to escape society altogether. (Imagine her surprise when this not-real Highland lover shows up at her front door.)
Why do I write these weird characters? Well, whether it's LARPing friends, a fascination with the reproductive habits of sea creatures, or the habit of sneezing like a flea"¦ it seems I can only write what I know. And I know how it feels to be weird.
What began as authorial necessity has become a mission of sorts. I'm writing romances to affirm what I consider to be an essential truth: Awkward people not only need love, we deserve it. Just as much as anyone else. The most beautiful part of it is, the more quirks and insecurities I explore through my characters, the more love the world seems to send me in return.
This summer, I met two readers at a book signing who'd become close real-life friends after discussing one of my books online. Their point of bonding? I'd written a heroine with mismatched breasts"”two different sizes and, er, personalities. (The hero, of course, was enamored with both.)
I dedicated A Week to be Wicked, which featured a supremely nerdy heroine, "To all the girls who walk and read at the same time." Despite the fact that it's not even part of the story, it's probably the most popular line I've ever published. Every time a reader tags me on Twitter or posts to tumblr saying, "Hey, this book is dedicated to me!""”I get the goofiest smile, and my heart warms. Those little messages let me know I'm not alone.
None of us are alone. No matter how isolated the world can make us sometimes feel. That's what the romance genre, at its heart, is all about.
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