A Heroine’s Journey
I love watching a heroine grow. She always had hidden strengths, she just didn’t know it. Think of Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone. Two scenes bookend how she sees herself. At the beginning of the movie, we see her frightened of the street vendors, her arms clutched around her manuscript and, more importantly, around herself. After her adventure, she walks down that same street smiling at the vendors, even talking to them. In one arm she holds a bag of groceries, the other swinging a flower bouquet. What a visual difference in attitude.
In my romantic suspense One Red Shoe, my heroine Daria decides her life is too boring and needs to do something about it. When her parents died, her oldest brothers put their lives on hold to take care of their thirteen-year-old sister. Unfortunately, sixteen years later, they still consider their baby sister incapable of striking out on her own. Going to a writers’ conference in New York City is her first step. She sets off on her journey with high expectations. If she’d known how that journey would end, she would have stayed home. No way would she consider rescuing a wounded spy and helping him escape assassins.
But that’s the point. At the beginning of the story, she’s not ready. Each stage of her journey prepares her for the next. Is she scared? How about terrified. Does she think she can do it? No. She refuses. Smart girl. Unfortunately, she has a soft spot when it comes to the wounded. But she’ll only help him out of the building. Then he’s on his own. Okay, she’ll get him to a doctor, but that’s it. She has to get back to her conference. All right, she’ll take him to his friend but no farther. And that’s how a cross country road trip begins with Daria and her wounded spy one step ahead of the bad guys.
Step by step along her journey, Daria grows in confidence. When her spy keeps passing out from gunshot wounds, she has to make all the decisions. When he complains, she tells him “tough”—something only the heroine in her book would do—not her. Even near the end of her journey, she’s still surprised when the hero says she’s the real kick-butt hero.
Isn’t that the way stories should end? With the heroine discovering her hidden strengths.
Who is your favorite heroine?
Daria Mason’s life is too predictable. Nothing ever happens in her small Iowa town where everybody knows everybody else. But when she travels to New York City looking for a little excitement, she never expects to bring home a wounded spy.
From the moment agent Sam Jozwiak steals intel vital to US security from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassins find him. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from an Iowa tourist.
Sam and Daria flee cross country with the assassins right behind them. Sharing danger and excitement—and a few kisses—with Sam soon has Daria convinced he’s the man for her. He thinks she’ll be better off once he’s out of her life for good. With their lives on the line, can she convince him they belong together?
Jimmy bent down to look at the right front tire. “I don’t like the looks of this.”
“The tire is fine,” Daria said.
The others ignored her and all bent down to look. While they debated whether she should get a new tire, Rover dashed up. The reddish-brown mutt of indeterminate heritage nearly knocked her over with his usual enthusiastic greeting. She gave him a quick hug and ruffled his fur.
“Billy, don’t feed Rover any table scraps. Only two cups of kibble a day. Andy, you’re going to put food in the barn for Archy and Mehitabel, right?” She didn’t wait for his response. “And, Tommy, you’ll take care of—”
Jimmy straightened. “For crissake, Daria, it’s a goddamn zoo around here.”
At least he wasn’t trying to delay her with talk about new tires. She reached up and patted his cheek. “Don’t swear.”
“I mean it, Daria Jean,” Jimmy said. “Don’t you dare bring home some wounded stray. I don’t care if it’s bleeding. No more.” He ran his hand through his hair. “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. You’ve never even been east of Chicago.”
She smiled. “I know.”
“I hoped you’d get this foolishness out of your system.” He blew out a breath and thrust a small item at her. “Since you’re determined to go, this is a top-of-the-line cell phone. It has GPS tracking so if you have car trouble and call for help, they’ll know exactly where you are.”
Daria ignored the first part of his rant. She’d heard it before but was surprised at his thoughtfulness with the phone. She gave him a hug then the others. Standing back, she looked at the four of them. Tears threatened. She blinked rapidly. For goodness sake, it wasn’t like she was leaving forever. A week away from home, that’s all. She got into her car, eager to get started.
“Call every night,” Jimmy ordered. He just had to spoil the moment. “So we know you’re okay.” The others nodded. They meant well, she reminded herself.
She put the key in the ignition. Oh, God. This was it. She was going after her dream. A mixture of fear and excitement shot through her. She hadn’t felt like this since... since leaving for summer camp when she was ten. How pathetic was that. When she got back, things were going to change. First, she was going on a real adventure.
New York City, here I come.
One Red Shoe is available at:
And wherever ebooks are sold.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched series, she is the author of The Pilot, the first book in a series about strong women on the frontier of space. One Red Shoe is her first romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Diane Burton is giving away a $20 ecard from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!