Angela Burrowes: My Filthy, Outspoken Athena

I wrote a final post about Angie for Romance Divas, one in which I discussed the genesis of her character in the Lovestruck Librarians series. And I got to be nerdy about mythology too!

In Greek mythology, Athena—the goddess of wisdom and so much else—was not born. Instead, she sprang fully grown and armed from her father Zeus’ aching forehead, freed by a blow of the ax to his skull. She experienced no infancy, no swath of time where her goals or personality remained inchoate or indistinct. Instead, she emerged entirely complete and ready for battle.

Angela Burrowes, the heroine of My Reckless Valentine, is my own personal Athena.

To be honest, she’d make a pretty terrible goddess of wisdom. Her decisions…well, they’re often suspect. She’s definitely no virgin. And I suspect she uses her extensive vibrator collection much more than Athena did.

But like the goddess, Angie didn’t require years or even hours to form her personality. She sprang to life vibrant and herself within minutes, a potty-mouthed miracle with a loving, rebellious heart.

When I wrote the first book in the Lovestruck Librarians series, Broken Resolutions, I didn’t consciously plan Angie’s character. Penny needed a boss, so I gave her one. That boss didn’t need to create erotica displays advertising “Spanking-New Books.” She didn’t need to propose New Year’s Eve games entitled “Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray.” She didn’t need to bring a book called An Erotic Treasury 2: Tales of Submission to the hospital while awaiting her niece’s birth.

Heck, I didn’t even realize Angie would get her own story, since I hadn’t planned to write a series. But from the beginning, I knew exactly who she was (loyal, funny, warm), what she’d say (anything), and how she’d act (impulsively, covering her vulnerability with outrageousness).

That’s not true of many of my characters, not even the ones I end up loving the most. It took me three attempts at Mayday (the third book in the series) before I figured out what drove Helen, my heroine, and kept her apart from the hero, Wes. Even Grant, Angie’s lover-turned-boss, required some fiddling to become clear in my mind.

Not Angie. From the beginning, she seemed to exist separate from me. A force of nature, waiting impatiently for my attention. Prone to taking over other people’s stories and getting all the best lines along the way.

She deserves those lines, and she deserves a man who worships her. A survivor of depression and a perennial disappointment to her parents, Angie assumes someone like Grant would eventually reject her for her mistakes. Giving her a happy ending warmed me from the inside out, and I got such a kick out of revisiting her in my later books. I’m not surprised she remains my critique partner’s favorite heroine I’ve written. She holds a special place in my heart too.

If you read My Reckless Valentine, I hope you adore her. She’s not perfect, but she’s ready to battle her way into your affections with the fierceness of Athena and a big heart all her own. Both of which she’s possessed from the very start.

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