All Art: She can't be "one of the guys"
My first book was a psychological thriller I wrote shortly after I graduated high school. To this date, Whispers of Insanity is my shortest novel and the only novel that has only a male main lead. I didn't purposely choose to do it that way, I just knew the story belonged to Codey Mathews, no one else. I really confused agents with that one because apparently I wrote him very convincingly for being a *gasp* woman. I also did something they didn't like. I gave the antagonist his own viewpoint scenes. To please interested publishers, I tried to ditch those scenes. Didn't work. The story lost heart and I lost interest in it until I took the plunge and threw it out there. Funny thing is, readers loved my antagonist as much as Codey in some aspects. Then I wrote my second book, a horror suspense. I was "Mom" at that point and the book grew from a nightmare I had. If you read the prologue of the book, that's built on details from the nightmare. What can I say, I dreamed very vividly back then. It turned out to be just a tad longer than Whispers of Insanity and had my first no-nonsense, don't mess with her, female. She was a mom fighting to save her children from old black magic. She had to be so. And then the Manipulated Trilogy sprouted in my mind. Funny, it started from two characters I had developed for another psychological thriller I thought I wanted to write. 9-11 happened, I developed the characters more and BAM - Ravyn didn't want to be merely human or from Earth. She also wasn't some alien life form. She also got impossible if I tried to direct her story. So I let her lead it all along with Kyle, the college man who kept Ravyn grounded - who actually starts out the story and shares the stage with Ravyn and a few others through the trilogy. Again I apparently pulled off writing a male convincingly because readers loved it too. And Ravyn, well, she didn't much care what anyone thought, including me. She did a fine job driving the entire trilogy, though, and I have to give her credit for the surprise ending everyone adores. She ran with the guys, that's for sure. And then came Desire. A hundred years into our future, her people and world star in Rise of the Arcadians. She's stubborn, but a tad uncertain too. Still, she accomplishes everything she sets out to do and she does so with the support of the male lead who shares the scenes, but with her own stubbornness, smarts, and determination. Among the Ancients was more of a challenge for me because Kynly is more timid and uncertain than any of the other females I wrote. She grows into her own, though, and takes on the responsibilities she doesn't want but ended up with anyway. The Disillusionment Series was a whole other beast. Seven books, a fantasy family saga that included a war with the gods of old, dragon battles, and spans hundreds of years. Tryn Brye Annis was a warrior from the start but frail until being reborn and rescued by Cedrik, the man who shares her story. I have to admit their life story surprised me a bit, as did the daughter Kira. But it was Tarenek, the son and his descendants who were the funnest to write. Tarenek, yes, another male main character. The thing is, I never saw the male or female. The characters came to me naturally, the females maybe a little softer, but in no way push-overs. I read other books where the females must be taken care of by their men and, honestly, I can't relate to those women. I don't think badly of them, I just can't relate. For me, my female characters take care of themselves and those around them, sometimes entire worlds. They usually need support, but can also stand alone. Those are the female characters I also like to read and watch in movies. And they are the females I will continue to craft into my stories because I know not how to do it any other way.