Monday, June 24, 2013

Guest Post - Beate Boeker - Creating Strong, Likable Heroines

Hi All! Today I'm handing The Warrior Muse over to Beate Boeker so she can tell us a bit about creating heroines people want to read about.

Creating Strong, Likable Heroines, by Beate Boeker
Funny enough, the most important thing about creating a strong heroine is to give her a weak spot: something she has to fight with and has to overcome, something that makes her life difficult. This is important for two reasons: First, a reader can identify with a heroine who has a weakness – because we all know our own weaknesses. A perfect heroine will only disgust everybody because it's not likely that she exists at all, and if she does, you don't want to have her next to you all the time. Second, this weakness is perfect in order to pitch your heroine into trouble – and that's what you need to make your story compelling.

In my mystery series Temptation in Florence, the heroine Carlina is a successful business woman. She has a high-end lingerie store called Temptation on one of the most exclusive streets in Florence, and she loves her job and is dedicated to making it a success. She's financially and emotionally independent and strong – in fact, she even chucked her desirable fiancĂ©e several years ago because he expected her to give up working independently, and she just couldn't face that.

Her weak spot is her fierce loyalty toward her wide-spread family. As the family is rather eccentric, being loyal to them is not a given, particularly when bodies turn up and more often than not, the family applauds the murder.

Carlina falls in love with the Investigating Officer who has no understanding at all for this closely knit family. Throughout the series, she is torn in two between her family and the man she loves, and that's what keeps the story alive.

Another point to remember is that details make a story vivid and help to paint a picture in the mind of the reader. Carlina has two very attractive cousins that overshadow her a bit if you don't look closer. Besides, she's a hard-working and sober kind of girl, so to add a bit of pizazz, I have her a soft spot for anything that has a leopard pattern – be it her own underwear, the throw on her sofa, or the pattern on the helmet she needs to drive her Vespa.

I very much enjoyed creating Carlina and like spending time with her, her exuberant family, and the taciturn Commissario, and I hope that my readers will connect to her in the same way when they read my novels.

About Beate: Beate Boeker is a traditionally published author since 2008 and has 11 novels and short stories available online. Some of them were shortlisted for the Golden Quill Contest, the National Readers' Choice Award, and the "best indie books of 2012" contest.

Beate is a marketing manager by day and a writer by night. She has a degree in International Business Administration and her daily experience in marketing continuously provides her with a wide range of fodder for her novels, be it hilarious or cynical.

Widely traveled, she speaks German (her mother language), English, French and Italian fluently and lives in the North of Germany together with her husband and daughter.

While 'Boeker' means 'books' in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else could she do but write novels with a happy end?

Although being German, she has chosen to write in English because she appreciates the professional support and training opportunities a writer can find in the US. Learn more about Beate at

About Delayed in Death:
What do you do when you find your grandfather dead half an hour before your cousin's wedding? You hide him in his bed and tell everyone he didn't feel like coming.

Delayed Death is an entertaining mystery set in Florence, Italy. When Carlina finds her grandfather dead on the day of her cousin's wedding, she decides to hide the corpse until after the ceremony. However, her grandfather was poisoned, and she becomes the attractive Inspector's prime suspect. On top of that, she has to manage her boisterous family and her luxurious lingerie store called Temptation, a juggling act that creates many hilarious situations.

Delayed Death is the first mystery in the series Temptation in Florence. The second, Charmer's Death, and the third, Banker's Death, are also available.



  1. Hi Shannon and Beate,

    Yes, creating strong, likeable heroines, with a vulnerable side makes for an interesting balance.

    That seems like quite the trilogy. I especially like the name of the third book. I have a heroine who is a real life character. Yes, she 'pawblishes' on my site.

    Wishing you well, Beate. And Shannon, my amazing friend, very good of you to bring this further awareness.

    Penny's alleged human,


  2. Lovely covers!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. I think the weakness of my strong female character was she decided to go after my main character.

  4. Great to meet Beate! I always love books with strong heroines.

  5. Good tips, Beate--weakness, and fighting it, makes us strong. I like the life lesson in there :D Thanks for the post!

  6. Great write up Beate! I appreciate you taking the time to write and guest blog with Shannon!

    I'd have to say that I feel those tips qualify for characters in general. They are awesome universal mechanics that hopefully help readers be pulled in and connect with the protagonist and supporting cast.

    Giving a character those little quirks (like the leopard print) are sometimes the little things people [authors] don't bother with, but can make a big difference. I think they are important to include. It makes them feel more real.

    Delayed Death sounds pretty intriguing. Being I am in Arrested Development mode, I thought it sounded reminiscent of that some. An individual so devoted and tied to their family, despite how jacked up it is, while also being pretty quirky themselves. Sounds like a great read :-)

    I wish you luck on the trilogy! I like the cover's being the same essentially; just different color schemes.

    And, of course, you can never go wrong with a name meaning "Happy Books" !!

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

  7. Gary, uh-oh, when did you become an alleged human?

    Shelly, aren't they cool? I like the colors.

    Alex, it's good to know her weakness.

    Julie, me, too!

    Guilie, well put!

    Jak, it is a cool name, isn't it? What could be more perfect?

  8. Oh, God, I have to apologize! This was my last week before the big summer vacation and things were crazy at the day job, so my appointment with you all completely slipped my mind. I'm not usually unreliable and hate it when that happens! Can you forgive me? I loved to read your comments and am so happy that you like the covers! My husband created them all for me - that is, the colors of the last one were chosen by my friends on Facebook, who were given the choice!
    I'm off for my vacation now, so again, I'll rarely be online. Thank you for your patience!