I loved Trixie Belden, when I was a young reader. And Madeline, in the Madeline books. That's probably because they were high-spirited and didn't take no for an answer. They were strong-willed and different than the other characters in the story. I tended to be shy as a little girl. However, once I knew you well, I could be very pushy. Just ask the kids I grew up with. And ask the WARA ladies, who'll tell you I haven't grown out of that pushy part. ;)
My reading has always been eclectic, from True Crime to Horror/Suspense to Romance, and everything in-between. If it's a good story, if it has characters that touch me in some way, it's going to be a favorite.
When I think of favorite characters, I think of three heroines, all in books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips aka SEP.
- Phoebe Somerville in It Had to Be You will always be an all-time favorite. Phoebe appears to be the Queen of Voluptuous Dumb Blondes. In fact, she might even agree with that, to some degree. But Phoebe isn't dumb. She knows how to use what she's been given to her advantage, but deep down inside, she's insecure and hates those curves. At my very first RWA Conference in Dallas in 1996, I attended a workshop given by SEP. She explained how she came up with the character of Phoebe, and when she finished, I was in complete awe. You see, beneath the clingy, low-cut dresses and outlandish outfits, Phoebe wears "white, old lady underwear." What she appears to be on the outside is the complete opposite of who she is on the inside. She's not the outrageous airhead everyone thinks she is. She had a childhood that would cause most women to have vapors, and because of it, she has no faith in herself. But as she grew up, she learned that, with the right clothes and "attitude," she could have men falling at her feet. In doing so, she has the upper hand, enabling her to never let anyone know the real Phoebe. I LOVE PHOEBE!
- Sugar Beth Carey in Ain't She Sweet is about as close as second place can be without edging out Phoebe. Sugar Beth was raised by her mother to be Parish, Mississippi's "princess." Believing what her mama has taught her, she left Parish, thinking the world would always be hers. But she returns, some years later, humbled by the "real world" and the horrible choices she's made. The trouble is, she's unable to do much of anything except be the person everyone still believes her to be. And then she meets up with the teacher who met his teaching demise, thanks to her. Talk about sparks! Talk about intricate but human characters! I laughed and I cried, throughout the book.
- Blue Bailey in Natural Born Charmer, tied for second place with Sugar Beth, is as tough as nails, but has a heart of gold. And that's a big problem for her. Stubborn as the day is long, she first appears in a headless beaver costume, walking down the road. She's broke, has nowhere to go, and would be the last person to take anything from anyone. Of course, she has no choice and must accept. Blue can fix anyone...but herself. But there's one person she refuses to help--the driver of the car, who offers her a ride. To reach her HEA (which she stubbornly refuses to acknowledge is possible), she has to grow, and she insists that's the one thing she doesn't need to do.