{Guest} D A Lascelles

Playing With the Big Girls

When I was asked to contribute to this blog I thought long and hard about what I could write about. I agonised about it and worried that I actually had nothing worthwhile to say about my writing. Eventually, I plucked up the courage and did what all men apparently find difficult to do. I asked for direction. “Talk about your characters, about how you developed the story. Why you chose now to write. How long you have been writing. Other projects in development. Who the book is being published by,” was the response I got. This got me to thinking about what it was that made my characters, or rather one particular character, special, and that was the fact that she was a big girl.

Looking at the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal shelves in bookshops and seeing the covers with pretty young things cuddling sexy Vampires and sexy vampire slayers looking all dynamic with blood covered stakes, you may be surprised to learn that there is actually a market out there for heroines who are not a well toned, skinny figure with ballistic breasts. More to the point, you may be surprised to discover that there is a Romance genre market that caters to the larger woman. However, it does exist. It may not be a very big market but it is out there and there are publishers and writing groups who are looking to expand it. My upcoming novella, Transitions, came about because of one such group.

I found the BBW Romance Writers  group on a random trawl of the internet. I could argue it as one of the hazards of unprotected net surfing, you sometimes don’t find what you are looking for but what you do find is often life changing. At the time, as someone looking to improve my writing craft, I was thinking that romance was an integral part of many stories and so being able to write it well was a skill worth learning. When I later found out what the meaning of the abbreviation BBW – Big Beautiful Women – I also considered this as both a challenge and an interesting niche in the publishing world. When I then found out that this group, as part of their normal activities, put together anthologies and had them published (they had one already for sale when I joined and in the process of producing another which was also published) I was sold and immediately began thinking about stories involving romance with outsized women. It was during this process that I created Helen.

Helen is an amalgam of a number of people I know. I am not going to embarrass any of them by revealing their names and I hope none of them can recognise themselves in her because I like to think I have blended her well enough that she stands alone. Physically she fits the requirements of the group as this extract from the as yet unpublished ‘Transformations’ shows:

Unlike Sim, with her dark and exotic beauty, and Tina, with her classic blond good looks, Helen knew that she was not someone who was desirable. Her hair was too frizzy to look attractive; she was too tall and slightly plump. Her colouring, dark hair and skin that reddened too quickly, was often referred to by some as the ‘English rose’ look which she assumed meant ‘plain and built like a farmer’s daughter’.

This, of course, is coloured by Helen’s own point of view of herself. Like many women faced with the media images of what is considered beauty she never sees herself as being beautiful and is therefore distrustful when people tell her so. In actual fact, she is a very attractive woman and her natural intelligence and strong personality, when she isn’t using them to alienate her friends and create barriers between her and potential lovers, make her allure even greater.

In the course of the story, Helen meets Brandon. Brandon is our hero but he is not the typical action hero stereotype. He’s a geeky guy in the same mould as Simon Pegg and he also has a multitude of self esteem issues based on media perceptions about what a man should be like. So, when these two meet at university, nothing happens. He quite likes the look of her and would like to know her better but thinks a confident and clearly beautiful woman like her would never consider him worthwhile. She, on the other hand, has got to the point in her life where she thinks no man would ever be interested and has thus resigned herself to a life of loneliness and rationalised it all as a belief that ‘men are only a distraction from more important career things’.

So, what gets these two characters together? Well, I hate to give away spoilers but as it is a Paranormal romance story let’s just say it involves a ghost…

What I found interesting about the process of writing this story was considering the motivations of the two main characters and how Helen not considering herself to be beautiful by the standards of the media made things difficult for the romance part of the plot. But then, romance has to be about overcoming barriers and I think a barrier relevant to today’s world is this one created by unrealistic body shape issues. Slim and sexy heroes and heroines getting together can be very superficial and hold no drama. This is why I like to play with the big girls because there is an inherent tension in getting them to overcome their own self esteem issues and realise that they are, in fact, beautiful. 

D.A. Lascelles photo by Abigail Parr

About D.A. Lascelles

D.A Lascelles is a former clinical scientist turned teacher who finds fun and relaxation in writing.

He is the author of the short story, ‘Gods of the Sea’ (released 19th September, 2011 in the Pirates and Swashbuckler’s anthology published by Pulp Empires. Please see the interview at Pirates & Swashbucklers for more information.

His upcoming paranormal romance novella Transitions (due out in 2012 from Mundania Press ) forms part of the ‘Shades of Love’ serires of ebooks.  The Shades of Love anthology is scheduled for release in paperback June 2012, also by Mundania Press.

He might explain why he keeps a number of replica flintlocks in the house but you would not like the answer. :)

You can find out more and stay updated by visiting his blog at Lurking Musings.


About Bek Harrington

Writer, author, vampire fan and historical enthusiast. You'll often find me crusing the internet under the guise of my alter ego, 3000 year old vampire "Bektamun"

Posted on 01/10/2011, in Guests and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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