Someone wrote an article in Romance Writer's Report years ago--in the 90s if I had to try to pin it down--about who she wanted as a heroine. I wish I could remember who wrote it so I could give proper credit, but since I can't even remember what happened yesterday, that's pretty much a moot point. I do, however, thank her for saying what I thought.
My favorite heroine is someone who I want for my sister. I don't need her to be beautiful or thin or sophisticated. She probably bites her nails and has cellulite on her thighs and is scared shitless of spiders, snakes, and--since she's a midwestern country girl--driving in city traffic. She's good at one or two things, passable at a few others, and downright awful at many. She cries over movies and Hallmark commercials, but when someone she loves needs her, she is dry-eyed and determined. She's sexy in her own way, but the man of her dreams is going to like her before he starts having serious bone-jumping thoughts.
My heroine grows (as do my granddaughters in these pictures), but she does it realistically, getting bumped and bruised along the way. She learns things the hard way and doesn't emerge unscarred. When I write her story, it's about her last love, but not her only one, and the depth of the last love doesn't negate the joy and sorrow of the first one.
I love reading about all kinds of women, but when it comes to writing, I want it to be about someone I'm comfortable with. Like a sister.