I was one of those lucky children whose mother did not enforce gender specific activities. My brother and I, treated as equals, each participated in the same activities (with the exception of ballet, which my brother felt no interest in pursuing). I came home with skinned knees, ripped clothing (my poor mother, good thing she knew how to sew; a skill I never learned), and coated in dirt. While most girls my age were playing with dolls, I was building forts. However, I got to do the most interesting things; fencing, archery, rock climbing. I learned that I was capable of anything I put my mind to, that gender was not a hinderance. This independent spirit has followed me through life.
I was given a choice, a pinnacle moment in my life, when I decided to remain that way, instead of conforming to expectation. As a freshman in college, I lamented to my father that I was single (which really shouldn’t be the focus of a college freshman, but let’s be honest with each other). He gave me some fatherly advice. If you are interested in getting a boyfriend, you will need to learn to be less independent.
My jaw dropped. Learn to be less; less intelligent, less passionate, less of me.
I wrestled with that suggestion for a while. Could I be less of me?
In A Perfect Plan, I pose that question to my heroine, a tomboy who is struggling to fit into society. One of my favorite scenes is at one of those tedious society functions. Samantha is debating how to escape the party in which she finds herself trapped. What I love about her is that she doesn’t consider whether or not the activity is safe, but whether or not she could make it over the balcony railing before she is caught.
“May I ask you one question?” Lord Westwood gazed at her with a peculiar expression.
“Certainly,” answered Sam, tearing her eyes away from Wilhelmina’s glee.
“What were you concentrating on with such intensity when I threatened to tell the story of our first meeting?”
Sam glanced down, a red tinge crawling up the back of her neck, indicating the balcony with a slight jerk of her head. “Whether or not I could make it over the railing before Wilhelmina realized I was missing.”
“What did you intend to do once you climbed over the balcony?” asked Lord Westwood.
“I was planning to shimmy down the column, using the ivy as a rope.” Sam lifted her head, a tiny smile pulling at her lips. “She would never catch me once I reached the drive.”
Lord Westwood struggled to keep his face neutral. “Do you think about escaping ballrooms often?”
“More often than I would care to admit.”
“I suppose, as a gentleman, I would have to attempt to prevent you from injuring yourself even if that caused a public scene.” Lord Westwood clasped his hands behind his back, casting his eyes upward with a dramatic sigh.
“Dragged away from the balcony in full view of society by Lord Westwood—that would definitely be one more mark against me,” murmured Sam.
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About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author Alyssa Drake has been creating stories since she could hold a crayon, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. A multi-genre author, Alyssa currently writes Historical romance, Paranormal romance, Contemporary romance, and Cozy mystery. She thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when imagining conversations between her characters.
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Your character sounds like a hoot, Alyssa! Thanks for the peek at your work! And it sounds like your dad had some intriguing wisdom to impart 🙂