It’s Not Easy Being a Heroine

March 8, 2022

Think it’s easy being a fictional heroine? Think again. This month, we go Behind the Scenes with Tori McCain, heroine of Not Quite Broken, to hear what she has to say about it.

Tori and I are sitting in her cheerful kitchen. The view beyond the sliding glass doors is seasonally appropriate for pre-Spring. Bare trees and brush rise up like blackened skeletons, snow stubbornly covers the ground, and the sky is a washed out, lighter pastel shade of blue that will grow more vivid in the coming weeks.

It’s a rare, quiet moment at Danny’s Happy Trail Ranch, the hippotherapy place Tori runs with her husband Brian and their adopted son, Danny. Brian and Danny are out off in the woods somewhere, probably riding with Heff along the trails that lead to Sanctuary, if the disco music I heard wafting out of the stables earlier is any indication.

“What’s it like, being a fictional heroine?” I ask Tori bluntly. Yes, I talk to all of my characters like this.

“Like you don’t know.” She laughs softly and smiles at me. It’s more of a smirk, really. She’s grown more confident since her book released in 2018, and it suits her. “You write us, don’t you?”

“Sure, I know. But tell them.”

Tori lifts a mug of peach mint tea to her lips and considers her answer. She’s an avid coffee drinker but the tea is a new blend her friend Tina brought by for her to try.

“It’s really hard,” she said after several long moments.


“Thousands of women are judging our every thought, every action, every response. We have to have our own special traits that distinguish us from the hundreds of other book heroines they’ve read about, but we can’t be too unique, because quirky is okay but weird isn’t.

“We have to be relatable, but are held to a higher standard than flesh and blood women. We have to be better than real people, just like our croies do, but not too much better. Enough to be inspiring but not particularly enviable, because let’s face it – no one likes a Perfect Princess.

“Readers want us to be smart and strong but not too smart or too strong. We have to complement our heroes and provide the balance in a relationship with an alpha male without diminishing our own worth or appearing weak. Oh, and we have to be likable while we do all that.”

She stops talking and takes another sip of tea, then raises her gaze to mine and smirks again. “How’s that?” “That’ll do,” I say, smiling broadly as we clink our mugs together. I’m so proud of her. Tori is all that and more. And really, I couldn’t have said it better myself 😉