I’m working on a new project which is a whole lot of firsts. It’s my first time writing a small town romance, it’s my first attempt at self-publishing and it’s my first book with a plus size heroine.
Talk about jumping in with two feet!
Given that I’ve had my share of body image issues over the years, I really wanted to write a heroine who’d had those experiences. The teasing, the ‘why the hell are skinny jeans back in fashion??’ moment, the toxic relationship with food…
Writing Shelby’s character was tough, yet in a way it was also cathartic. She's is a plus-sized model who struggles with the way larger models are used in the modelling industry and what it means to be considered a vessel for someone else’s message.
Just to be extra mean (‘cause we authors are a nasty lot when it comes to our characters) I forced her to go back to the hometown where she was bullied until she escaped at the age of sixteen. Coming home feels like a regression to Shelby, all the confidence she’s worked so hard to build evaporates the second she bumps into someone from her past. Her journey isn’t about her appearance so much as it is about forgiveness—forgiving herself for leaving and forgiving the people in her past.
It’s important to me, as a writer, to create strong female characters who overcome real problems. This is probably the main reason I love reading romance as well as writing it—we have a genre that is leaps and bounds ahead of others in representing real women conquering their demons and finding love, not only with the hero but with themselves.
I have to give a shout out to two books that inspired me to tackle Shelby’s story. Firstly, Driving her Crazy by fellow Lovecat Amy Andrews which features a heroine with deeply rooted body image issues on a road trip across outback Australia with a sexy, brooding photographer. Secondly, The V Sot by Wendy S Marcus a super spicy novella featuring a plus size nurse, a "Voyeur Motel” and a hunky wrestling hero.
Both of these books had vibrant heroines that were strong and take-charge despite their issues, exactly the kind of women I love to read about. If you have checked either of these books out do yourself a favour and read them NOW!
Tell me, have you read any great romances with plus size heroines lately? I’d love your recommendations. If not, let me know what you love about the romance genre.