Saturday, October 30, 2010

Great Heroines

What characteristics make a great heroine? Besides girl parts, she has to be brave, kind, emotionally and mentally strong, smart and capable of taking care of herself and the people she loves. Every single heroine of my favorite books has these traits. What they are not is na├»ve, pouty, sobbing Sue’s, TSTL, whiney, cruel, weak and helpless.

Every now and then, the planets align and the powers that be create the perfect heroine and conspire to make a perfect book for my keeper shelf.

Even better? When this happens in real life. If I were an author, there are some real life heroines that I couldn’t help but draw inspiration from when writing my heroine. Women who have stood up for what they believe in. Women who didn’t wait for a hero to rescue them. Women who try to make a better life for themselves or the people they love despite unbelievably difficult circumstances.

One of my favorite real life heroines is Jeanne Fourquet, also known as Jeanne Hachette, or Jeanne the Hatchet. Ok. How cool is that name? Jeanne was born in France in 1456. She was living in the town of Beauvais, when Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy decided to gather his troops and attack the town.

Ben Thompson has a much longer and much funnier version of Jeanne’s story at This is my much shorter and less funny version ala Ben Thompson style.
If you like history, you will love his web site.

Charles the Bold, had been making quite a name for himself by attacking towns that made disparaging remarks about his mother and who laughed at his long fingernails and unfortunate chin, and killing every man, woman and child. So in 1472, he and his posse of thousands rode up to Beauvais. Beauvais was only protected by 300 men-at-arms and a sad bunch of villagers, armed with only day-old croissants and empty bottles of a very dry French wine. Needless to say, the Beauvaisians were getting the shit kicked out of them. They were seriously bummed. They didn’t want to be murdered.

Then one of the Hamburgunders went too far. He planted the Duke’s flag a little prematurely. Heh. Jeanne saw this and said “oh hells to the no!” “OMGWTFBBQ?!” She grabbed a hatchet and ran up to that dude, hacked his head off, and shoved that flag down his bloody neck hole, and yelled “Eat this! You Poserburger!” This brave 16 year olds action was the 15th century version of “Let’s win one for the Gipper”, and effectively rallied the townspeople’s, especially those with girl parts, flagging spirit. They opened their last can of whoop-ass and sent Charles the No Bold Chin and his Loserburgers home.

King Louis XI heard about Jeanne and as a reward for her heroism gave her a parade with floats and creepy French mimes, her choice of husband and a bunch of money and stuff.


Jeanne reminds me of a couple of Johanna Lindsey and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse heroines. Women who are just trying to live their lives, but will step up to the plate, violently if necessary, when those lives or the lives of the people they love, are threatened. They aren’t afraid of a little blood.

For a more recent example, I give you Marisol Valles Garcia. Marisol is a 20 year old criminology student living in Praxedis G Guerrero, a violent city in the border state of Chihuahua, Mexico. This is a town where Mayors and police officers don’t have a very long life expectancy. In fact, the last chief of police was beheaded 8 months ago. Crack addled dickbags have made life here a real nightmare of epic proportions. The drug cartels, who are pissed off all the time for no particular reason, go from town to town in the state of Chihuahua and murder and rape and pillage on the daily just to try and prove whose wang is bigger.

So when the new Mayor asked the town folk “Who wants to be the new police chief?” nobody raised their hands. Finally, Marisol said “Enough of this bullshit!” She took the job proving she had balls of steel and promptly formed a police force of women to take back her town. The people are excited and are supportive of her. Her incredible bravery has given them hope. Her machismo is encouraging them to stand up with her and take no more shit. She vows to bring peace and tranquility to the good citizens and she will do it unarmed.

That’s right.


Balls. Of. Steel.

So suck it drug mofo’s. There’s a new sheriff in town and she isn’t playing your reindeer games. Marisol’s story isn’t finished yet but she’s a smart and courageous heroine and I hope she achieves her HEA This area of Mexico has seen a lot of heartache and bloodshed but I have faith that Marisol, with the towns support, can succeed because they are united. From the stories I've read, I don't think that's happened before. Marisol stepping up, may make all the difference. At least I hope so.

Marisol reminds me of a Julie Garwood historical heroine. They are selfless, smart and brave. More often than not, they will try to diffuse violent situations in a non-violent manner and much to the chagrin of their hero, their default setting is self-sacrifice to protect their loved ones.

Who are your favorite real life heroines?


1 comment:

LesleyW said...

You make me wish I had someone I could write about. But I always go completely blank when asked questions like this.

I do have great admiration for the suffragettes.

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