Tess, Lady of Bridswell, is independent, intelligent and brave, capable of taking care of herself and anyone she loves. But she isn’t a kick-ass heroine. She doesn’t carry a sword, take on the bad guys or sway court politics. Instead, she is a quiet, strong woman who does what she must without a lot of drama.
Like Aedan, Tess started as a secondary character in ANAM CARA. When I wrote TIES THAT BIND, I had to not only grow Tess up, but also fully flesh out her character. To understand the steps required to make Tess her own person, you need to know a little bit about her mother, Liza, and me, the writer.
I don't write spunky heroines. They are strong and stubborn and a little bit harsh, but life has battered the hippie-like optimism that heroines need to be spunky.
Tess’ mother is determined, unyielding and capable, as well as domineering, stubborn, and controlling. Tess learned early the futility of direct confrontation. So instead of being the wild, rolling water that creates new channels, she became the defiant rock in the middle of the stream. And because she's quieter, more easy-going on the surface, others assume she is acquiescent to their ever-lasting regret.
Unlike Aedan who lived the five years between stories drenched in wine, women and song, Tess spent that time keeping secrets, experiencing loss and living with heart-eroding sorrow. Few notice the gradual change, but to Aedan in TIES THAT BIND, it’s vivid.
"You are wisp-thin and pale as a cloud," he said.
Tess’ heart jolted, fiercely hammering against her chest. She should run, push him away and race to wherever it was she would be safe and free of men.
"You barely feel solid."
She closed her eyes and shivered when his fingers touched her neck, skimmed her collarbone, stopped at her ribs. Internal heat followed the trail, and then pooled deep and low, making her feel as if she would boil away if he didn’t stop.
"You feel cordoned-off, nay, hidden." He spoke softly, as if to himself. He bent closer, his breath a whispering invitation against her mouth.
He drew away just far enough to allow her to breathe. His hand fell away, but her skin still burned where he had touched her.
Tomorrow: TIES THAT BIND: Then and Now
Keena Kincaid, the author of three historical romance novels with The Wild Rose Press, is blogging all week to celebrate the release of TIES THAT BIND, the second of her Druids of Duncarnoch series. On Friday, she’ll answer your questions about her characters, her books and herself. Everyone who submits a comment or a question will be entered into a drawing for one of five prizes: a 25 percent off coupon to The Wild Rose Press bookstore (2); a copy of TIES THAT BIND (2) and a set ANAM CARA and TIES THAT BIND (1).