While I don’t find it necessary to write about characters to whom I would personally be attracted, there are certainly a few types of women who draw my eye—and my mind—more than most. These are the women I watch when they pass on the street; the ones who force me to turn my head, even as I struggle not to be caught staring. They are the women who make the writing of certain stories a somewhat flushed and breathy affair. And two of them feature prominently in my new novella, Hearts of the Hunted.
All Camille wants is to continue the mission of the new Underground Railroad, to get Transformed—those who have developed superhuman abilities—out of the embattled Midwest and into Canada where they can live free. But that’s before she’s saddled with Hannah, who was raped and Transformed by a rogue criminal that the police refuse to acknowledge even exists.
The women have no alternative but to team up to stop the menace, each for their own reasons. Through danger and fear, Camille and Hannah play a high stakes game to bring their adversary to justice. And they find themselves growing closer than either imagined possible, in the process.
Now each must face her greatest fears in order to bring a serial rapist to justice, protect the Transformed community, and get back to their lives.
Or maybe, chart a new path, together
Camille is the tom-boy. Oh, how I love the almost—but not quite—androgynousness of the tom-boy! Her short hair, cut for style or for utility, just long enough to allow questing fingers to brush through it. My dream tom-boy is willowy and lean, strong of body, but with a soft, unmistakably feminine face. There is something about this contrast of a less traditionally feminine sense of style or attitude, with the gorgeousness of a woman’s structure.
In Camille’s case, tom-boyishness is as much functional as it is stylistic, and since she spends her life on the run, she chooses clothing and hair styles that are easy to maintain. But even when the opportunity is presented to soften herself up a little, Camille prefers the boyish look and her practical clothing to skirts and heels. She owns her femininity, but doesn’t cloak herself in the traditional trappings of it.
Ironically, one of my other absolute favorite kinds of women is much the opposite. Feminine and womanly, women like Hannah choose to emphasize the traditionally feminine. Dear heavens, the gorgeous, enchanting vixen that is the femme! Hannah is curvy and beautiful, and totally unapologetic about it. She wears makeup to highlight her features, skirts to show off her legs, and the right kind of blouses to give lusty women like me a peek at the goods they’re packing.
Hannah was the victim of a sexual assault, but her softly ladylike appearance doesn’t mean she’s not as tough as steel beneath. Together, the sexy tom-boy and the red-hot femme plan to put a stop to the serial rapist that plagues their city, and it’s only a matter of time before matters between them grow spicy.
I love to showcase this aspect of femininity—the toughness and power that a woman can display, no matter what she looks like on the outside. Because really, when it comes to types, that strength of character and that core of womanly power is what truly turns me on, no matter what a character—or a real life lady—looks like. And power and self-assurance are something that Hannah and Camille share, even if each of them has her moments of doubt or fear during the course of their struggles.
Their mutual strength is also something that I love about writing lesbian fiction. While some stories will have a much more masculine “butch” who takes charge and lets her lady hide in a castle turret, it is also possible to break completely from that “hero” and “damsel” mentality into something completely new.
In Hearts of the Hunted, Hannah is introduced to us as the victim, frightened and not in control of her own fate. But it doesn’t take long for that damsel to decide to rescue herself, and to enlist Camille as an equal partner to do so. And while Camille could have been turned into a more masculine character because of her outward appearance and some of her surface attitude, she remains a strong female character, and doesn’t simply swoop to the rescue. It takes these two clever and powerful women working together to stop a dangerous criminal, and each of them is forced to explore her own weaknesses as well as her greatest strengths in order to do so.
Of course, these are only two broad categories out of the many, many types of beautiful women out there, and the many more who seem to defy description. What’s your favorite kind of lesbian heroine? Is she bookish and thoughtless of her appearance? Strong and butch, and ready to take charge of a situation and a relationship? Lipstick all the way, with a tendency to want to be taken care of? Do you dream of a sporty princess who takes no prisoners on the field? A pony-tailed grease-monkey with a killer wit? The possibilities are endless, and lesbian fiction provides us opportunities to explore them all.
Kathleen Tudor’s Hearts of the Hunted is available now from Storm Moon Press. She has work available in dozens of anthologies, some lesbian and some otherwise, from publishers including Mischief HarperCollins, Cleis, Storm Moon, Circlet, Xcite, and more. You can find news and new releases at KathleenTudor.com. Also, Kathleen loves reader mail! Contact her at PolyKathleen@gmail.com.