Monday, August 26, 2013

Kickin' Ass While Wearin' Heels

So, I just finished with the copy-edits for Land of Shadows. If you've forgotten what the first of my new series is about, here's a reminder:

In Land of Shadows, LAPD homicide detective Elouise 'Lou' Norton must learn the truth about the apparent suicide of a teenage girl which may be related to her own sister's disappearance more than twenty years ago.

I love Lou. She's a homicide detective in a traditional male's world. More than that, she's a girlfriend, a wife, a daughter, a citizen and a sister. Many things to many people. I love her because she is strong.


Just finished reading an article that makes me question that word. And not just that word, but the "Strong Female Character" trope. And I thought about Lou as the writer stated why she 'hated' these types of characters. The author says this about 'Strong Male Characters":

Are our best-loved male heroes Strong Male Characters? Is, say, Sherlock Holmes strong? In one sense, yes, of course. He faces danger and death in order to pursue justice. On the other hand, his physical strength is often unreliable – strong enough to bend an iron poker when on form, he nevertheless frequently has to rely on Watson to clobber his assailants, at least once because he’s neglected himself into a condition where he can’t even try to fight back. His mental and emotional resources also fluctuate. An addict and a depressive, he claims even his crime-fighting is a form of self-medication. Viewed this way, his willingness to place himself in physical danger might not be “strength” at all – it might be another form of self-destructiveness. Or on the other hand, perhaps his vulnerabilities make him all the stronger, as he succeeds in surviving and flourishing in spite of threats located within as well without.

And in many ways, I agree. She says:

I want a wealth of complex female protagonists who can be either strong or weak or both or neither, because they are more than strength or weakness. Badass gunslingers and martial artists sure, but also interesting women who are shy and quiet and do, sometimes, put up with others’ shit because in real life there’s often no practical alternative.

Click here to read the rest.


  1. I think it is difficult to find a "likeable" strong female protagonist. I think of my favorite authors, Jonathan Kellerman, Walter Mosley, James Patterson -- with all their male protagonists and how I love and adore them. Then the closest I find to a likeable female counterpart is maybe in Patricia Cornwell's work. But even her female character grates on me as well. It is hard for a writer to portray strength (even quiet strength) without offending someone. Somehow it is easier with a male character, because of I don't know, those silly gender roles we were brought up with. However, I believe that in the future women will write fearlessly about the inner and outer strength of women in a different way. Writing changes with each generation and I think that our generation has changed sociologically in the way we view gender roles. Maybe not a whole whole lot, but I think its a great start.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Caramel Thoughts!

    It is hard in some ways, which is weird since we're surrounded by heroines.