I’ve been a reader since I was a kid and discovered romance novels when I was in my twenties. Needless to say, that was quite some time ago. What I remember about those romances, other than how much I enjoyed them, was that each and every heroine was slender. The hero could usually span her waist with his hands. Who has a waist like that? Seriously? I never did. Not even when I was in third grade. So while I enjoyed the emotions and the love story, I was disappointed that none of the heroines looked like me.
On the rare occasions that a heroine was “chunky”, she either lost weight to get her handsome prince or she shed her dumpy clothes and was miraculously thin. Can you say disappointment? I knew you could. That kind of a plotline was a real let down. I was dismayed that the author had not allowed her plus-size heroine find her happily ever after and frustrated that the publishing industry wouldn’t or couldn’t deviate from the cultural norms of the 1960s and 1970s that said you had to look like Twiggy and not Mama Cass. Now, I’m sure Twiggy is a very nice lady but I will never look like her.
So when I began to write seriously, I asked myself, “Where are the heroines who look like me?” All readers want to see themselves reflected in the heroine and I think this is especially true of romance readers. I know that’s what I wanted. So I decided to write a heroine who had curves. Not little curves. But big ones. Dangerous ones. The kind that so many women in our society have. Plus-size curves. And since I’ve been published, every heroine I’ve written has been plus-sized. It may not say that explicitly anywhere. She may look thin in the cover art, but my heroines are big girls and that’s what I see when I’m writing and I like my heroines that way.
The curve is more powerful than the sword. -Mae West
My initial intent was just to show that regardless of her size, a woman is valuable and deserves her happy ending and she shouldn’t have to diet herself skinny to get it. Now, I’m not saying my heroines are all thrilled about being big. Some of them have a negative self-image and they struggle with their size. They may be okay with themselves most of the time, but when it’s time to get naked with a hot guy insecurity rears its head. That’s true of all women regardless of size, isn’t it? We all seem to only see our faults. But the hero I write thinks my heroine is hot. He sees those flaws the heroine obsesses over as an asset. She has a big ass? Yum. Curves on her body? Give him more. He digs curves. He loves the woman inside the curves, but he thinks she’s sexy even if she’s unsure about her allure. And sometimes that enhances her confidence in herself and her beauty because when we see ourselves through the eyes of love, we’re stronger for the change of view.
That’s a theme that crops up in my new release, Leader of the Pack. Yohana is more handsome than beautiful. She’s powerful physically but fears that males will not only find her intimidating, but be turned off by her big breasts and curves. Per sees Yohana with different eyes. He sees sensuality and beauty and he wants her from the moment they meet. Eventually, he convinces her and the methods he uses are enjoyable for them both.