What Makes a Kick-Ass Heroine by P.J. MacLayne

Today we welcome Author P.J. MacLayne as she defines what is a Kick-Ass Heroine! Enjoy!


What makes a kick-ass heroine? She’s got to stand up for herself and her friends, both physically and emotionally.  Not only can she beat a villain in a motorcycle race or take him down with a hard kick planted in just the right place, she can then turn around and comfort a crying child. She’s willing to make sacrifices for the good of her friends even if that means she has to give up her chance for true love.

And whether she realizes it or not, she needs friends to help her along the way. She may be afraid of making friends along her journey because she’s so used to depending upon no one but herself, but in the end her friends will be the ones to support her efforts and help her to succeed. Learning to accept that help can be one of the biggest challenges for a kick-ass heroine.

Her friends can be both males and females. Chances are, one of those friends may end up being the heroine’s partner in bed as well as in battle. With any luck, that friend will realize that the heroine can’t exist in a cocoon and will give her the freedom she needs to accomplish her goals. Otherwise, the heroine will resent what she sees as interference n her mission.

Writing Dot McKenzie, my heroine in Wolves’ Pawn, was both fun and frustrating. Writing her taking down yet another opponent using her wits as well as her strength made me grin. But allowing her to make mistakes was difficult. It was tempting to make her perfect, but then she would have been boring. And Dot has her share of challenges to learn from before she can find happiness. Sometimes I felt bad for her as I sent her into another dangerous situation, but hey, it was her story and that’s how she wanted it. Besides, I knew she would get her happy ending.

I think the scene I had the most fun writing is the one where Dot is being chased by a bad guy and they are both on motorcycles. But in her normal fashion, she makes it an opportunity for a little fun on her part. Here’s a snippet.

Dot guided her bike full speed over a series of speed bumps in the busy parking lot. She clung to the handlebars as she went airborne and landed with a heavy thud. The bike stayed upright and straight, but the man behind her wasn’t so lucky. In her rearview mirror she watched as he almost lost control. One for me, she grinned.

He didn’t let up. She would have been disappointed if he had given up so soon. What to do next? She didn’t want to draw too much attention to the two of them. She had a plan formulating for the finale and if the cops interfered it would put an end to all her fun.

A short set of stairs leading to the sidewalk along the road caught her eye. The heavy-duty springs Dmitri had fitted on her bike should be able to handle them. Without considering the consequences, she slowed, rose off the seat, bent her knees, and fought the bike to the bottom. The other rider stopped at the top, revved his motor, and drove off to find another way. Two.

So what makes a kick-ass heroine? A combination of guts, smarts, and emotion, all wrapped up in one package full of surprises.


P.J. MacLayne was born and raised in the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania, and uses that setting in much of her writing. She currently makes her home in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and believes she may have been a mountain man in a past life.

Wolves’ Pawn is currently available only at Amazon. http://amzn.to/1eV7UPz

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