Have you ever wandered down a dark street late at night, your high heels clicking loudly on the cobblestones, when you hear a second pair of footsteps behind you?
Is someone following you?
Heart thudding in your chest, you stop.
Your pulse racesâ€¦the hair on the back of your neck stands up.
Heâ€™s right behind you.
What do you do?
Run or fight?
If you havenâ€™t experienced this scenario, I bet your heroine has.
“From my experience in the field, I know each fight is different and this enemy has his own agenda. Rape? Robbery? Could be, but I doubt it. They don’t operate this way when they want a woman. They act friendly, use pretty talk to pick up a girl, then knock her off her feet before she knows what’s happening to her.
I pull back, walk toward the rue de la Huchette, one step at a time, like all this is happening in slo-mo. As if the whole scene is a video game and someone else is at the controls, pressing the attack buttons and toggling my polygonal form to do what they want and I have no choice. Enemy contact. Kill’em. Kill’em. These words zap through my brain like a subliminal message from command center.
Keep going back. Left foot, right. My eyes scope out the environment. Stone buildings, windows shuttered. No escape. No one to hear the ruckus, the screams. The punks know that. They talk, egging each other on to see who’ll make the first move. Closer, closer they come, like maggots ready to feast on a warm corpse.
Not mine, you punks.”
I wrote from my first-hand experience when I constructed that scene. A similar incident had happened to me on that same street in Paris and I was lucky enough to get away. But I never forgot that fear pulsating through my veins. The icy chill that goes through you when you make that split decision that can determine whether or not youâ€™re going to survive. Pulling up the emotions I felt that night helped me write the emotions of my heroine.
This scene went through my mind when I attended Dr. Debra Hollandâ€™s Workshop: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes at the RWA Anaheim 2012 Conference. Dr. Debra presented an outstanding workshop showing how to protect yourself as a woman and also how to put your heroine through her paces. She gave members from the audience the opportunity to experience what it feels like firsthand to be attacked by a stranger.
Hereâ€™s a video I put together from the workshop:
Dr. Debra Holland — www.drdebraholland.com — teaches a karate class at the American Martial Arts Academy located at1027 N. Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 714 871-3898.
Check out their website for more information: www.KarateOC.com
AMAA has been teaching Womenâ€™s Self-Defense Classes for more than thirty years.
The gentlemen from the Academy who assisted Dr. Debra are: Steve Hopple and Adam Rigsby.
A special thank you to fellow OCC/RWA member Rob Preece for his assistance in presenting the workshop.
And thank you to Sarah Andre — www.sarahandre.com — who volunteered to experience her heroineâ€™s fight scene up close and personal.
I highly recommend Dr. Debra Hollandâ€™s workshop.
Thank you, Dr. Debra!
by Evelyn Q. Darling
Romance Reporter At Large
How well do you know your hero? Is he tall, dark and handsome? Okay, so you donâ€™t want a cookie-cutter hero, but have you really thought about what questions to ask him?
(When you can take your eyes away from his sexy grin among other parts of his anatomy.)
This reporter recently interviewed heroines for a romance gig and got some very interesting answers.
Now, itâ€™s your heroâ€™s turn. Ready, ladies? Start your enginesâ€¦
Here are my 5 Job Tips for a great romance novel hero interview:
1. Donâ€™t ask him to take off his shirt. Tempting, yes, as you check out his muscular arms, but this is a sexist attitude that will get you nowhere. (But oh the fun youâ€™ll have trying!)
2. Schedule the interview in a locale where youâ€™ll both feel comfortable. Not in a sports bar where he can eyeball the basketball scores and the waitresses with the deep cleavage. Forget tea shops that serve lemon dainties, unless youâ€™re writing a regency and you want to see if he exudes the proper Mr. Darcy-isms.
3. Ask him to show you hisâ€¦wheels. Yes, I said, wheels. Is he a Harley guy? Jaguar? Or does he drive an old pickup? Does he keep half his â€œstuffâ€ in his car? Or is he a neatnik? You can tell a lot about a man by hisâ€¦wheels.
4. Whatâ€™s his day job? Or if heâ€™s into night work (and what hard-working vampire isnâ€™t?), youâ€™ll want to make sure heâ€™s a good match for your heroine. If sheâ€™s a lawyer, a police detective can make her life hectic; if she runs a cake and bake shop, how about interviewing a land developer who wants to tear down her vintage cottage shop? And letâ€™s not forget the city gal whoâ€™s just aching to meet up with a real cowboy. Just make sure he can rideâ€¦a horse.
5. And finally, donâ€™t ask him if heâ€™s a good kisser. Tell him to show you.
Evelyn Q. Darling is the alter ego of Jina Bacarr.
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