Who Makes The List? Top Ten Heroines with CS McDonald

Everyone loves a good heroine. That statement got me wondering, what are the qualities that make a memorable heroine? Beauty? Pride? A strong will? Stubborn beyond belief? Courage? A kind soul who is generous to a fault? 

My Unlikely Heroine

Everyone loves a good heroine. That statement got me wondering, what are the qualities that make a memorable heroine? Beauty? Pride? A strong will? Stubborn beyond belief? Courage? A kind soul who is generous to a fault?  I have a few favorite heroines of my own, but I wanted to know who actually makes the list. So, I went to the guru of all information: Google.

Sure enough, I found several lists of the most popular/famous heroines, and these were the names that seemed to always appear: Most often #1—Elizabeth Bennet, and then usually following in any order: Jane Eyre, Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, Scarlett O’Hara, Eliza Doolittle, and of course, Dorothy. As I said, the heroines were not always in the same order of popularity, but the list really didn’t vary too much.    

Don’t ask me why, but others who consistently made the lower-end of the list kind of surprised me: Laura Ingalls, Nancy Drew, and on one list, I saw Ramona Quimby. Okay, I’m a big fan, so imagine how thrilled I was to find Ramona a list.

Indeed, all of the characters mentioned above have many or all of the qualities that I noted in the first paragraph, especially beauty. Well, maybe not Ramona. She had a more tomboy rough and tumble quality about her. Adorable is more the word to describe Ramona than beautiful.

Okay, so where does my heroine, Fiona Quinn, fall in this elite category of leading ladies? Well, Fiona is beautiful. Does she have pride, a strong will? Is she stubborn and kind? Check, check, and check. How about courageous?

Uh, oh—we may have a problem.

All of the famous/popular heroines had to overcome a great obstacle in their life, and some on a weekly basis. Like Laura Ingalls for example. Week after blessed week it was something or other with that Nellie Oleson! Some of the heroines had to dig deep to find the courage to fight against the odds in order to rise above.

For me, Katniss comes to mind.

In the first Hunger Games, she is just one of the many to be subjected to the sadistic “games”, and that poor girl was flat out terrified, as anyone would be. But Katniss wasn’t chosen. Rather, she bravely stepped forward to take her sister’s place, knowing her sister would never survive. Through it all, Katniss became the face of a revolution. Now, that’s one hard-hitting heroine!

Scarlet had to overcome a self-absorbed lifestyle in order to save her beloved Tara. Elizabeth Bennett, pride or was it prejudice? Eliza Doolittle—ignorance.  Dorothy—flying monkeys—lots of them! EEK!

So, what does my heroine, Fiona Quinn, have to overcome?

When I describe Fiona on Facebook or Twitter, I say she is an “unlikely sleuth.” Well, my friends, I’m afraid this cute kindergarten teacher from Pittsburgh is an unlikely heroine as well. With each installment of the Fiona Quinn Mysteries, Fiona finds herself smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation, and at some point, face to face with the murderer themselves. Yeah, I’d say that’s something my character has to overcome—dealing with a murderer. Okay, so does Fiona handle the situation with smooth finesse and grace? Is she a cool, cunning customer?

Not hardly.

Fiona is more comfortable handling unruly kindergarteners than murder suspects. She tends to get a bit flustered, or should I say, a lot flustered. She’s apt to get a bad case of verbal diarrhea. Not good for her, but what fun it becomes for the reader. When I began writing the Fiona Quinn Mysteries, that’s exactly what I had in mind: fun. A don’t take sleuthing too seriously cozy mystery series.

Book Writing During Covid

Recently, I had an author friend of mine ask, how are you handling the COVID situation in your Fiona books? Are you dealing with it at all? My answer was a resounding, NO. I explained that everywhere one turns COVID is there: on the news, on TV shows, in our conversations, at our places of worship, and more. I didn’t want my readers to have to deal with it in my mysteries. The Fiona Quinn Mysteries and the Owl’s Nest Mysteries were and still are meant to be an escape, and I had every intention on continuing to provide that refuge for my readers.

So, who is your favorite heroine—from television, movies, or literature? I’ve gotta say, Scarlett O’Hara is mine. Oh, and Fiona certainly makes my list too!

Thanks for stopping by, see you back next month!

Cindy McDonald

CS McDonald

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister.


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