Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Guest Post - Kait Nolan - "A Different Kind of Strength"

Guest post today, but no blog tour. This is about strong heroines, and was written by Kait Nolan. She's strong and kinda heroic herself, and definitely female. Enjoy

Being an avid paranormal romance and urban fantasy reader (and writer), I really dig strong heroines. Women who can kick butt and take names, who don’t wait around for some man to fix their problems or rescue them—these are the stuff of my plots and my fantasies. Sometimes when I get bored in staff meeting, I’ll envision a hostage situation from which I save everyone with Matrix-style martial arts that leave the kidnappers drooling. What? Don’t tell me I’m the only one with that fantasy. I digress… I love independent, hard-headed women. The kind of women who are lynchpins, who hold families (conventional or not) together. Women who can do for themselves and aren’t afraid to take risks, be they emotional or physical. But there are lots of ways to build a strong heroine and many qualities with which they can be imbued that aren’t learned in a dojo or on a firing range.
Take Buffy, for example. Everybody’s favorite slayer (and yes, I would totally have a And then Buffy staked Edward. The end. T-shirt). She had incredible butt kicking power given to her, but she had to grow into being able to deal with it and accept it and all the responsibility that came along with it. The whole with great power comes great responsibility shtick. Yes, I said it. It’s a classic for a reason.
Then there’s Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody. Here’s a woman who’s tough as nails during a time when women were supposed to be delicate flowers in corsets. She fights to get in on Egyptian excavations (a man’s provenance in the Victorian Era) and is constantly telling people what’s what with no nevermind about conventions of the day. She’s the queen of pragmatism and even when she’s wrong, she has everyone’s best interests at heart. And she’s deadly with that parasol.
Claire Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels. I love her because she has Jamie Fraser. What? I wasn’t supposed to be talking about big, strapping, sexy Scotsmen? You’re kidding, right? He’s the reason all women read this series. :looks around for notes: Oh right. Where was I? So Claire I love because she’s another woman who is literally out of her time--a modern woman, thrust back into Jacobite Scotland, whose modern sensibilities occasionally get her into some serious trouble. She doesn’t back down, doesn’t submit, and I really love that.
Aisling Grey from Katie MacAlister’s Guardian novels, is another character who has great responsibility thrust upon her (often in the form of accidents and craziness). Over the course of the series, she’s put into countless impossible situations that lesser women (and men) would have quailed at. Aisling perseveres in the face of great odds (and hilarity). Sometimes that’s because she doesn’t know any better and sometimes it’s because it’s the right thing to do. She protects those she considers hers, no matter what.
Patricia Briggs holds claim to one of my all time favorite heroines, Mercy Thompson. I love Mercy because she’s so fiercely independent. A coyote shifter raised in a pack of werewolves, she is in a constant battle to maintain who she is, to remain separate from the pack that she nevertheless has messy emotional ties to. She’s gutsy and principled. She’s another chick who won’t back down, won’t submit to the alpha males in her life (are you seeing a theme here?).
The theme, in case you missed it, is acceptance of responsibility, which is something that I do on a daily basis. At work. At home. I’m the one everyone comes to when something needs to be done, like yesterday. I’m the one who puts out the fires and organizes everything in my corner of the world, making sure that everything gets done. These heroines are who I’d like to imagine myself to be if I were as cool as fiction and was thrust into one of these wacky situations. I can really identify with them.
And that’s the clincher really. Identification.
We don't have the luxury of waiting around to be rescued. Real life women have to have these strengths, just for the day to day grind. Whereas when we have to put out all those fires and make sure things get done, it feels like drudgery, when they do it, it's full of win. Maybe that makes us feel a little win too.
Kait Nolan is a writer of action-packed paranormal romance that features a fresh and inventive mythology. No sparklay vamps here! Her debut release, Forsaken By Shadow, is available on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Sony, Scribd, and SpringBrook Digital. It is also available in audio from Crossroad Press, and SpringBrook Digital. She can be found at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, MySpace, Pots and Plots (her cooking blog).

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