Great Jobs for Heroines

I blogged before about good professions for heroes (law enforcement, special ops, and cowboys among my faves), but what about jobs for heroines? What can our heroines do that allows them so much time to take long leaves of absence from work and skulk around with the hero or spend precious hours engaging in sexual antics?

A heroine who's a student or teacher is always good. They usually have summers off and can get into all kinds of trouble, like my heroine Lila Monroe from The Stranger and I. Lila is a marine biology graduate student AND a student teacher, so she doesn't have to check in with a boss when she goes jauntering about the desert with a spy and people shooting at her. My heroine, Lacey Kirk, in A Doctor-Nurse Encounter guessed it...a nurse. I know these days, you have your heroines who are doctors too, but that didn't work for this particular story. The heroine in Circumstantial Memories, Julia Rousseau, works in an antique store AND she's a student. But she's trying to regain her memory, so that's a full-time job.

The heroines in my erotic romances are a little more on the edge than my Harlequin heroines. One is a male strip club owner - she's not a male, the strip club is (Vivica Steele in Hot on Her Heels), one owns a sex toy company (Hayley Grant in The Gee Spot - the lovely lady in the cover above), one is a bounty hunter (Cassie Cartwright in Aphrodite's Fire), and one is a Vegas showgirl (Brandy in the upcoming Triple Threat). I also have a librarian in Virgin of the Amazon (yeah, she lets her hair down) and an attorney in Sex and the Single Pearl.

Are there any professions for heroines you don't like to see? I could not get a few past my editor at Harlequin - one was an attorney. The rock singer was a definite no-no (loved that heroine), as was the radio talk show host. I'm not sure why these professions wouldn't fly, although I was told attorneys aren't very sympathetic. I have an FBI agent upcoming as well as an artist and then a heroine who's rich and doesn't really do anything at all. I'd love to write a psychiatrist heroine one of these days, and does a D.A. count as an attorney?

So does the heroine's job matter to you at all, or is it just a function of the plot?


Cameo Brown said...

Great post, Carol! Interesting what jobs are considered no-no's for heroines. I would be able to identify more with an attorney than a wealthy person without a job. I think that, basically, job depends on what the story calls for and what the writer is trying to achieve. I think it can function as part of the plot or, more importantly, as a part of the character's persona as long as it doesn't become a crutch or plot device.

I have to admit, I get sort of tired of reading about writers as heroines, but my biggest pet peeve is when an author uses an occupation I'm engaged in and gets it totally wrong. Look forward to reading some of your titles, Carol!

Carly Carson said...

I can't think of any type of profession I particularly dislike. I don't know why attorney wouldn't work. But I started a book today (which I really like) but the heroine is introduced complaining about the new stamping machine she ordered for her factory and this takes place in 1893. I just have trouble believing in that scenario. I think it's tougher in historicals to have the "right" job.


Carol Ericson said...

Cameo, I think a lot of people don't like attorneys, so they're unsympathetic. I don't like writer heroines either - seems to forced and "cute" for me.

Carly, in some ways I think historicals are easier in this regard because most women (at least wealthy and titled heroines of romantic fiction) didn't work, unless they had fallen on hard times and might be a governess or companion.

Natasha Moore said...

Interesting post, Carol. Jobs can make a difference if they are an important part of who the heroine is. I can't think of any I would dislike, in fact, I love unusual occupations.

Chiron said...

Wow, I can't believe a rock singer wouldn't fly! That's on my list of "to do" heroines. *laughs* A radio talk show host, they're just plain wrong. I read a thriller by a NY Bestselling author with a radio show host heroine. So there. *grin*

My current WIP does have a psychiatrist heroine, will see what happens.

I actually don't have any problem with heroine's jobs. To me it's all about the writing. If the author makes the job and story believable, I'm there.

Oh, wait! I just thought of one I can't stomach. Literally. The Coroner. Not that it's unbelievable. Simply that I can't stomach it. Detailed autopsies? Not for me! I'd much rather read about that rock singer. *grin*

Great post!

Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul:

Cameo Brown said...

Chiron--How about a coroner who moonlights as a rock singer? lol

Chiron said...

Hey Cameo!

Okay, that I might buy. *laughs* As long as the only thing she disects are the songs. *heh-heh*

Carol Ericson said...

Natasha, I like unusual occupations too, but there's something to be said for the ordinary woman in an ordinary job who's thrown into extraordinary circumstances with an extraordinary man!

Chiron, that's for category romance. I'm sure it would fly for single title. Although, I've been told over and over that sports figure heroes don't fly (so my lonely English soccer stars reclines under the bed).

Nicole North said...

Great post! Almost any occupation is fine with me for the contemporary hero or heroine. Most recently the heroines I've written were a psychology professor and a model who wants to be a psychiatrist.

Sandy said...


I think this is why so many readers go to e-book publishers for their reading because they can't find the stories they want with print publishers. I know an author who has written books with both heroines and heroes as rock stars for an e-publisher, and she does well.

I definitely think a lawyer can be used as a hero or heroine.

Great post. Sorry, it took me so long to get here.

Carol Ericson said...

Nicole, I have to note that heroines who are too accomplished and beautiful annoy me - LOL

Sandy, either that are you have to be a bestseller like Susan Elizabeth Phillips to get away with sports figures and rock stars (and my heroine wasn't even a rock "star" - just a singer in a club band). But I don't begrudge HQ's rules - they've been in business for 60 years; I think they know what their readers want and what sells.