Monday I shared how Jake the hero in my novel, Secrets and Charades came to be. Today I’d like to introduce the heroine by her most startling feature—her hair. How to describe Evangeline’s hair color was a challenge. I could picture it so clearly in my mind’s eye. A girl I went to high school with had the most beautiful red hair, but it wasn’t red like Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett. It was more…more burgundy. Evangeline is the heroine and strong-willed mail order bride to my determined cowboy Jake. She has green eyes but no freckles. Her skin is peaches and crème. You know, porcelain skin with just enough blush on her cheeks to draw attention to her eyes. But she’s tall for a woman in the 1870s and a doctor to boot. A rare combination for the time and not a desirable mate for most men.
Evangeline is compassionate, determined and intelligent. She’s strives for independence and surrounds herself with a cloak of confidence. Beneath it all is a deep-seated fear that creeps out of the shadows to taunt any happiness she might reach for.
I wanted Evangeline to look different than the many heroines I’ve read about lately. I wanted her to have an unusual hair color and height not common for a woman of the era. No actress came to mind when I created her. She appeared before me complete with her own history and begged for her story to be told. She has not change one iota from the first moment she revealed herself to me. Jake on the other hand grew a mustache and sported a scar on his cheek after our first encounter.
Evangeline represents those women who feel their past has so tainted them they can never consider marriage as a path for their lives. Evangeline’s journey mirrors so many woman who still hang onto the past like a badge of dishonor that they fear others will discover and then reject them.
Her unique burgundy hair represents how she views herself. Different from other women. Stained, yet, her past has shaped her into the strong woman she is. Her whole existence is to help readers who can relate to her find closure and completeness. The 1870s were a less forgiving time and society’s view of women much more controversial.
Her painful past haunts her and colors how she responds to her new life. It’s a time to face her fears and grow into the woman she was meant to be and find love in the midst of it all.
If you were writing an unusual female character what would set her apart? Tell me in a comment below.
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