The image in the desktop wallpaper I am currently using is not me, nor is it mine. (It isfrom Pinterest, and it is here.) The notebook, with the Eiffel Tower and the woman with the red umbrella is, again, not me, not my picture, but it is my notebook, because I bonded with it, sitting there in a travel themed display in Barnes and noble. The notebook was sitting there in the display, I should mention. I was standing on the floor, like a normal person. Like a normal person. Writers are not normal people. Some of us bond with notebooks in bookstore displays, for one thing. That should be an indicator right there, forming bonds with inanimate objects.
Not that it’s the objects themselves (not all the time, anyway) but what the objects represent, and, if they have one (or more) of the writer’s favorite motifs, then chances for bonding are higher. In this case, both images show a lone female figure, facing away from the viewer, and there is some sort of inclement weather situation. There is also outerwear. Throw those all together, maybe toss in a dreamy sort of filter, and it is a perfect storm. That sucker will draw me like an industrial strength magnet.
I don’t know when I first noticed that I liked this sort of image, but it does fit with my preference for stories, especially historical romance, that are heroine-centric. Not that I’m not into the dudes. Real Life Romance Hero is a dude. In fact, he is my favorite dude, and that includes all dudes who ever duded, hence his status as Real Life Romance Hero. Most of the romances I’m into include a dude, and so do the romances I write. I, however, am not myself a dude (RLRH can attest to this) which may be part of the reason I gravitate to heroines first, most of the time.
Not that I don’t love the heroes in my (and others’) books. That’s kind of mandatory when writing romance. These are 100% the heroine’s guys, but I have to be in author-love with them, or it’s going to be difficult to get said dudes to their HEA in believable fashion. I need to fall in love with them through the heroine’s eyes, because, let’s face it, she’s really the one who’s in love with them, and it’s her HEA as much as his. Theirs. This is not my day for pronouns, at least not until I have had more caffeine.
As far back as I can remember, it’s been the heroines that are my anchors to stories, whether read or written. The heroine’s skin is the first one I tend to climb into when I write, though there are exceptions. The hero and heroine of Her Last First Kiss came to me at the same time (convenient when they’re considerate like that, and, with these two, I would like to say that they walked into my office, already holding hands, though they don’t even know each other for the first couple of chapters. Time works differently for this sort of thing, but that’s another story.) and there is one back-burnered story, another Georgian historical romance, where the hero crashed what was supposed to be a regularly scheduled writing session for A Heart Most Errant, a medieval, turned the chair opposite me around, straddled it, and informed me I’d be writing about him that day, instead. Can’t argue with a hero like that, though, and, since I write romance, I knew that a heroine befitting him would not be far behind. (Spoiler alert: she wasn’t, and I look forward to getting back to their story soon.)
One of these days, I am going to track down the blog post (and do not ask me on what blog, because, at this point, I am starting to think it was probably a guest post) where Ilona Andrews wrote about teacup romances (books where characters, especially the heroine, could carry a cup of tea throughout the entire book and never spill a drop) and slapping kings (self-explanatory) and probably print it out and post it where I can see it every day, because yes. This. (Well, That.) As much as I love tea, and, generally being British, and generally living in periods when tea was known to and available in the British Isles (and other parts of the empire) they do drink tea, which therefore means that they are likely to carry teacups at some point, if I have a choice between carrying teacups and slapping kings, it’s king slapping, every time. Full disclosure: I have not read any of Ilona Andrews’ novels, as SF/F can be a hard sell for me, but never say never. I suspect I might like the kind of heroine she writes. (They write, as Ilona-the-writer is really Ilona and Gordon.)
There’s one more thing that draws me to these sorts of images, and, perhaps, to these sorts of stories. I love the heroine’s journey. Life was not always as easy for women in previous eras (not that it’s a cakewalk now, by any means) and finding out how the heroine is going to get what she wants, within the strictures of her time and society has always caught my interest. Figures, then, that when I need to figure out things in a story of my own, getting outside and taking a good long wander usually gets things going. So far, I have not been able to convince any photographers to follow me, but, again, never say never. For romance heroines, (and, one would hope, their writers) anything is possible.