02 Jun '13
Authors After Dark 2013 Spotlight : Liliana Hart – "Writing Strong Heroines"
I just counted and my 23rd book (BREATH OF FIRE) comes out on Tuesday. I can honestly say I don’t have one weak heroine in any of my books. Do they have weaknesses? Yes. Do they have obstacles to overcome? Hopes? Dreams? Fears? The answer is yes to all of those questions. But they’re women who will fight for what they believe in at all costs, and they’re women who will stand up to anything, including the Alpha men in their lives.
Since the Banishment, Rena has become the Drakan Enforcer, cleaning up the messes her dragon brethren make in order to keep their presence in the human world hidden.
When a group of rogue Drakan begins killing dragons who refuse to join the army of the Destroyer the dragon they believe will become their true king Rena has no choice but to take action.
Special Agent Noah Ford appears, seemingly out of nowhere, to offer his assistance and protection. Protection, from a human? Hell, no. But something about him draws her hypnotically, erotically close. Some secret he refuses to reveal.
Every clue Rena uncovers indicates Julian, leader of one of the five clans, is the Destroyer. But when she confronts Julian, the blue mating fire a phenomenon that hasn t been seen since the Banishment engulfs them both.
Burning with need for two very different men, Rena must choose to kill the one destined to be her mate. Or see her people s dreams of home turned to a pile of ashes. Warning: This novel contains high-speed car chases, crackling thighs, magic duels, naughty words, and sex on ceilings, tables, high in a tower, in the shower and you get the drift.
Rena Drake is the heroine of BREATH OF FIRE. She’s half-dragon, half-Atlantean, and a hundred percent badass. Her dragon nature automatically makes her an Alpha female, but it’s the human blood that runs through her veins that makes us feel true empathy for her. I especially think it’s important as a writer to show the vulnerabilities of the women I write about, so their strengths are more impressive when the reader sees what they have to overcome.
One of my biggest pet peeves when I’m reading books where the relationship is supposed to be the main focus is when the hero and heroine don’t communicate with each other. I hate that. So many problems can be avoided if people just talked. Dialogue is one of my favorite things to write because, but even though they’re communicating, I still like for things to get a little worse before they can get better. I want them to struggle through real problems and issues just like real people face.
Here’s a scene from BREATH OF FIRE where things have to get a little worse before they can get better.
As soon as we crossed the threshold, I drew from Julian’s magic and slammed the doors shut with a resounding thud. I sealed them with our combined powers and ignored the pounding that came from the Drakán on the other side. They could all stay in there forever as far as I was concerned.
“Are you out of your mind?” I said.
The calmness of my voice was the complete opposite of the turmoil that wreaked havoc inside of me. My inner dragon roared and fire spread beneath my skin. But something kept me from bringing her completely out and unleashing her rage against Julian. My dragon’s anger was an aphrodisiac to Julian, and I knew he’d never get the point if I used her. So for the first time in my life, I sent her away.
But once I’d locked her away and could no longer feel my beast, magic still pulsed within me and filled me to bursting with the need to break free. It wasn’t power I was drawing from Julian. It was my own. And it felt comfortable inside my skin, like it had always been there. Maybe it had. The room dimmed to a soft glow around me, but the target of my rage stood out like a beacon. Julian. His eyes flared, and he called on his dragon, but for once I didn’t react as his animal came to the surface. It was as if I were no longer Drakán. And while there was a part of me that was terrified at the unknown, my body embraced it fully. And wielded it.
A great wind swept through the hallway from out of nowhere. Gale-force winds that tore priceless paintings from the walls. Antique vases crashed to the
floor and shattered into tiny pieces. Julian’s hair swirled violently around his face. But he kept his balance against the rage of my storm and leaned into it.
“How could you do that to Erik? Don’t you have any compassion? You ridiculed him in front of everyone. Brought his greatest shame to light.”
The hallway was long and narrow, and we faced each other like gunslingers. My dragon wanted to come out and play, but I held her back, reveling in the new power that coursed through my body. This power didn’t need my dragon. Didn’t want her. And it felt wonderful.
“I did what I had to do,” he said. “Your brother is weak. And I would have lost ground with the other clans if I’d let him get away with questioning my authority. You know this. You’d been having the same thoughts about your own clan and their disobedience. Don’t question my authority. You agreed to this, lifemate.”
Thunder echoed in the narrow walkway and lightning crackled horizontally along the ceiling.
“What has come over you, Rena? You feel different.” Julian didn’t seem worried, only curious. “Your thoughts are projecting in shapes and colors. I can’t read you.”
“You’re no longer welcome in my head. And besides, you did this to me. You asked me to give you all my power last night, to open myself to everything. This is my power. And it has nothing to do with the Drakán. This power is not something that is yours to control. I’m free of you.”
“Not completely. You just aren’t as fully mine as you once were. But we are still lifemates, and there’s nothing you can do to change the fact other than sell your soul to the Shadow Realm.”
“It’s a tempting thought. You swore to protect my family, to treat them as your own.”
“And I’ve kept my promise. Erik is still alive.”
The violent wind rushed past me, the force of it aimed straight at Julian. But still he stood his ground. The chandeliers rattled and shook, and pieces of them slashed down around us like daggers. Another violent rumble echoed in the chamber and the windows cracked at the concussion of sound.
“Control yourself, Rena.” Julian stepped aside as the chandelier fell from the ceiling and shattered at his feet. “You know I had no choice.”
“And what about Feng? Could you not see your death in his soulless eyes, Julian? Could you not see mine? He is determined to see you dead. By any means possible.”
“Sometimes we see the future because it is true. And sometimes we see the future because it is what we wish it to be. Which is it for you? Do you have so little faith in my ability?”
“Faith!” I screamed. “You have given me nothing to have faith in.”
Heavy copper urns lined each side of the hallway. I put the force of my wind behind them and launched them at Julian’s body one by one. He put both hands in front of him and the urns bounced off the shields he’d placed around himself. They fell to the ground impotently.
“You have used me, insulted my intelligence, planned my future and risked us all, yourself included. My life force is connected to yours, and I do not wish to die because you are in the middle of a power struggle. What is there for me to have faith in? I am your lifemate, goddammit, and you have treated me no better than a whore.”
I brought my foot down hard on the wooden floor beneath me. It buckled with the force of an earthquake and rippled in waves toward Julian. I took advantage of him being slightly off balance and launched everything I could find that I hadn’t already broken—vases, lamps, and an oil painting of a nude woman
who looked far too satisfied with herself. Glass nicked the side of his temple, and blood ran freely down his face, but he swatted the items away with his magic.
“I’m beginning to grow tired of your tantrum. What is this really about, Rena?” he asked.
My anger vanished suddenly. The wind stopped and my power died. The air was still and weighed heavily around us—the calm after the storm. I was exhausted and heartbroken, and I didn’t know how to get through to Julian. How were we ever supposed to have a relationship when he didn’t know the first thing about compassion, or love or trust? Tears fell silently down my cheeks, and I think I began to give up—on Julian, our people and myself. I didn’t have the strength left to guard my mind or my heart.
“You love me?” Julian asked, surprised.
Just the fact that he could be surprised over such a basic emotion told me all I needed to know. Julian was hopeless, and our relationship was less than that.
“Yes,” I said. “But it doesn’t matter. I believe the mating affected me differently than it did you. I can’t seem to help it, though I want so badly to hate you. And I damn the gods for making me feel this way. Our lives are a diversion to them. Entertainment. And I’m tired of being played with.”
“I’ve made my decision. I’ll fight beside you when we face the Destroyer. But if we live, I will do everything in my power to release this bond we have. The gods are going to owe me one. I’m going to leave you and go back to my people. I don’t know if my clan will have me after what I’ve done to them. I’m not sure it matters. But I will not stay to watch Feng kill you, and I will not live with a man who sees me as nothing more than a pawn in his game and feels even less for me.”
I turned and fled the hallway, leaving chaos behind me. I didn’t want to hear his response or his excuses. And I didn’t want to give him the chance to talk me out of leaving. Julian had a way with words that made me lose sight of my own convictions.
The fight didn’t help as much as I thought it would. I ended up having a good cry anyway.
I want my heroines to make smart decisions and I want them to fight for what they want. I don’t want them to give in or give up just because they’re supposed to be the weaker sex. I want them to be able to do it all—to be sensitive, caring, a compassionate lover, and a fierce warrior. It’s what I want for all women.
I hope you enjoy BREATH OF FIRE. It’s the first book in a brand new series.
*Breath of Fire releases June 4th
About the Author
Liliana Hart spent five years teaching music in the public education system. She molded America’s youth, busted kids for smoking pot in the restrooms, and broke up illicit affairs behind the stage on a regular basis. (Liliana’s Addison Holmes Mystery Series, about a small town teacher who gets into a whole lot of trouble, is somewhat autobiographical, but she won’t confess to which parts).
Liliana began reading romance novels with all her new found free time, and when she ran out of things to read, she decided to write her own novels. The result was a 150,000 word thriller—a dazzling adventure—where the heroine was a thirty-year-old virgin assassin (Yes, you read that right). She couldn’t imagine why people weren’t knocking down her door to read it, but she persevered and began writing a second book. She finally got the hang of things, and eventually learned that losing one’s virginity wasn’t all that romantic after all. All of her books involve some kind of suspense (she just can’t help herself), laughter, and a lot of steamy sex.
Since the failure of her first attempt, Liliana’s books have won awards such as: The Daphne Du Maurier, The Suzannah, The Linda Howard Award of Excellence, The Maggie, and many others. Her affiliations include Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.
Liliana loves to cook, and is addicted to reading, Internet Boggle, kickboxing, and Bones. She lives in a big, rambling house in Texas with a couple of cats to keep her company. She loves to get emails from readers.
Enjoy the Adventures!