So how does one go about redeeming a self-absorbed person? That was a question I wrestled with as soon as I turned in book two and had to start working on book three—Shae’s book. How was I going to make this person sympathetic?
I started out by doing some research. I discovered that people who are spoiled, as Shae was, experience their own kind of pain. They often feel isolated because others are jealous of them, and when they try to express their pain, people don’t take them seriously, so they learn to keep their mouths shut. But what about narcissists? Interestingly, I discovered that if they want to change, narcissistic personalities are able to do just that once they are made aware of their behavior and its effect on others.
Okay, so Shae was redeemable. Now I just had to do it. I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the story. The first thing I did was to destroy Shae’s world—in the space of a few pages, her fiancé dumped her and she lost her job. I could think of no other way to wake her up. And then I gave her a nemesis that behaved worse than she did, a woman who purposely hurt others. Since Shae was such a perfectionist, I gave her a hero who wasn’t perfect--Jordan Bryan, a man from her past, who'd been scarred in a military explosion and was dealing with mental and physical trauma. The final step in Shae’s redemption was to put her in a position where she has to choose between her success and someone else’s happiness…and hope that she made the right decision.
I think it worked. All for a Cowboy received 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews, which made me very, very happy. Part of it was the 4.5 stars and the other part was that my favorite heroine had a believable happy ever after.
Harlequin Superromance author Jeannie Watt lives in rural Nevada and writes fast-paced, character driven stories set in the western United States. To find out more about Jeannie and her books, please visit her website.