Revenant Week, Day 3: The planning of a kick-ass heroine

Welcome to Day 3 of Revenant Week—a week to celebrate the U.S. release of the paperback version of DIE FOR ME!

Why order the paperback version? Because it comes with EXTRAS!!!

  • author’s letter about Paris
  • author’s letter about revenants
  • Kate’s tips to belle living (10 favorite places to kiss in Paris; 10 etiquette tips for Paris)
  • DIE FOR ME discussion guide
  • Teaser for UNTIL I DIE (chapter 1)

(See the “extras inside” in the bottom corner!)

I hope you have as much fun reading these extras as I did writing them! Just click here for Amazon or here for IndieBound to order.

SO TODAY…I thought I’d tell you why my protagonist, Kate, is as she is. Because our Kate is kick-ass. In Book 1 of the DIE FOR ME trilogy, you see the seeds of her kick-assness. In Book 2, she is not only taking kick-ass lessons from Gaspard, but is becoming a stronger person after the devastation of her parents’ death. And in Book 3…*falls over* Kate might just reach her potential as queen of kick-ass.

It was important to have a kick-ass protag in the DIE FOR ME trilogy because someone with a doormat personality would never fall in love with a revenant. But I actually came to the realization that I wanted to write a kick-ass character about six months before I came up with the concept for DIE FOR ME. And it was because of something not-very-nice that happened to me.

I was in Paris, walking back late at night from a friend’s birthday party. There were a couple of girls walking in front of me as well as a guy in his early-20s wearing a hoodie and short cropped hair who skated past in the other direction. I took a left down a dark deserted road, at the end of which was my hotel.

And then it happened.

A large hand firmly grabbed my crotch from behind (no, not my butt – my crotch)—by reaching between my legs and almost scooping me up off the ground mid-step. It lasted a second, and then it was over. I stopped dead in my tracks and watched the same guy on roller skates who I had seen minutes before move at top speed away from me. He had targeted me and come back to grab me.

“Oh my [bleeping bleep]!” The expletives poured automatically from my mouth. My French disappeared as I began yelling at him, “Stop! Stop!” and then seeing a woman my age turn onto the street, I switched to French. “Stop that man! He groped me!” Frightened, she stared at the ground and speed-walked past me.

I began running towards the receding figure of my aggressor. He turned left onto another road. I realized that I would never catch him, and that the handful of people now walking up the street towards me probably hadn’t even seen the lightening-fast crotch-grabber pass them. I was defenseless. Except for my words. An ear-melting concoction of curse words flew like stones from my mouth towards the man’s back. As the foreign words reached him I saw his figure stiffen in surprise, but then he hunched back over and skated faster.

I got back to my hotel room and cried. And couldn’t stop crying. I told myself that it wasn’t that bad—it’s not like I had been raped. But something had happened to me that was violent and that was against my will, and it shook me badly.

It was the loss of power—the loss of control over my own body—that was most disturbing. As far as I’m concerned, my crotch is sacred. Only a select few people had ever had access to that part of my anatomy before, and I had certainly not selected the skating groper to be one of the chosen few. He had taken something that was mine alone to bestow.

Feeling violated and powerless, I wrote down what happened. And then I decided to re-write it in an alternate “Heeled Avenger” version, where the crotch-grabbing offender didn’t win – I did. And this is what I wrote:

Take 2 of Crotch-Grabbing Skater vs. Amy

Cue the music: something with a pounding beat and scary lyrics like late ’90s Prodigy. Spotlights are strategically placed along rue de la Folie Regnault.


Here comes Amy rounding the corner of the street, long strides matching the beat of the music. Her heels have metamorphosed from 3-inch Liz Claiborne block-heels to 4-inch Prada stilettos. The light flashes off their dangerous-looking soles. Our heroine looks the same, except that underneath her jacket, her arm fat has mysteriously disappeared and has been replaced by toughly toned biceps.

The music gets louder, and the beat raises the viewer’s anticipation that something bad is going to happen.

This time Amy senses someone coming up behind her, and slides her compact out of her purse, flicking it open and lifting it up to her eyes as if to powder her nose. In its mirror, she sees the man speeding up behind her, getting ready to pass her on the right. He lowers his left hand in a cupping position and, as he nears her, begins to bend over. At the last second, she steps adroitly to the left, making a graceful kicking motion with her right foot as she does.

The man flies through the air and lands on his chin with a crash. He sprawls helplessly on the sidewalk as Amy walks up to him. The music pauses as she approaches, looks down at him, and says, “Ooh. That looks like it hurt.”

As she effortlessly steps over his splayed body, we see a close-up of his left hand, which is still in its cupped-and-ready position. In slow-motion we see Amy’s stiletto heel coming down heavily upon it, and hear the sickening crunch of bone. As the man screams in pain, the music picks back up at the beat it left off on.

Amy, our  hero, continues striding towards the hotel, and the camera smoothly zooms in to her mouth, which slowly spreads into a confidently sardonic smile.”

Believe it or not, after writing this scary/violent scene, I actually felt much better. Changing my role in the story from victim to victor made me feel more in control. And that made me realize the power the written word actually has – that sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword.

Not to underplay the power of shopping therapy: the next morning I went out and spent a fortune on a dress that made me feel like a superhero.

And six months later, I created Kate.

8 Comments to Revenant Week, Day 3: The planning of a kick-ass heroine

  1. by Kelsey - On April 5, 2012

    OMG! Loved Take 2! Take 1 was totally scary, it’s crazy to know that there people like that out there. But what I love the most is that Kate was born from within u not like most characters that other authors kind think up but Kate is a part of u, that was born on that night when u decide to use your deadly weapon (your pen) to make things right in the world. Even though the balance was only made in paper, words are powerful and by creating Kate and sharing this, if this ever happens again or to anyone that reads this (which I pray that doesn’t happen to any1, EVER) they will know what to do because u got up, dust urself off and gave us Kate, who is really kick-ass Amy!. Love ya lots, and yes I kno I’ve typed it b4 <3 Kate and Vincent 2!

  2. by Lori - On April 5, 2012

    Wow! What a horrific experience, Amy. I like the kick-ass revision. Kudos for kick-ass heroines, both fictional and real!

  3. by Moirae book reviews - On April 6, 2012

    What a terrible experience! I love version 2.
    And I love Kate, she’s so kick-ass!

  4. by Deborah/Thebookishdame - On April 6, 2012

    Hi, Amy, Fantastic way to overcome that horrific incident in your life. It’s so maddening when something like that happens; someone gets the upper hand (sorry for the phrase) in abuse and we have to take it powerlessly. I’m glad you found a way to hit back hard!
    I’m featuring you tonight on my blog with a YA Fiction Author Spotlight. Your books are worthy of what I’m reviewing as YA to adult cross over fiction.
    Good luck and happy times in my favorite European city, Paris!

  5. by Olivia Snowdon - On April 6, 2012

    What an amazing come back from a horrible incedient!!
    I loved the part were you crushed his hand!!!
    And i hope nothing happens again!i think u are amazing!

  6. by law firm - On April 18, 2012

    Being a Lawyer does not make you more capable of negotiating loan modification. It has truly amazed me being a Mortgage Professional over 13 years how we licensed Real Estate Professionals are not capable of negotiating reduced payments and terms for homeowners. Please be advised these are the same Professionals who could present contracts, calculate income and debt, collect financial statement and documentation, contact various Lenders, communicate with Sellers and Buyers. What a load of crap that Lawyers are the only capable and knowledgeable party to negotiate these now so legal binding contracts. Lawyers use their title to get into areas they see money. I have been messed over by so many so-called high power “I can get done” Attorneys in my day. Title do not make you capable it is knowledge of your Profession. I see it like this where the money is just like the Real Estate Brokers who need money so follows the Attorneys who need money. Get a good knowledgeable and reputable Loan Modification Company that can assist you; bottom line use good judgment when hiring anyone.

  7. by Onie Maschmeyer - On April 21, 2012

    Congratulations to UST for establishing such resource site. I am grateful for the creation of this site as it would help a lot both law students and even professionals who may be seeking redress of their grievances. May justice prevail!


  1. To Donald Trump: What it’s like to have someone grab your p***y | Amy Plum

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