It’s been three years since I published my first novel, The Assassin. Three years is a long time when you’re in your twenties and over the past few years, as a reader and writer, I’ve grown to appreciate the love for women in books. The women in books have influenced my life for a long time and in nod to the women I’m creating in my books.
I’ve read books as long as I can remember, but there are some characters that have stuck out to me in ways I can’t describe. I was in high school the first time I picked up a Stephanie Plum book. It hit me that a woman in a book could be rough and tough and most importantly, she could be funny. She could be a little crude, have friends that made off-color
Before reading these books, I never remembered having a woman lead a book who was funny – especially in a mystery novel. A funny woman in a mystery novel felt like a magical unicorn.
Even after finding Stephanie Plum with her mystery and humor, I found another woman who made an impact. A series of mystery novels that were also historical fiction? Lady Georgiana (better known as Georgie) is a woman who doesn’t meet the standards of her family – who would rather marry for love, even when she’s thirty-something in line for the thrown.
She’s the idealistic kind of character – determined not to give up, always fighting to continue to figure out her case.
This year, in 2018, the woman who has really left an impact on me as a reader has been Lieutenant Eve Dallas from the In Death series. This is a woman who in some ways reminds me a lot of myself, coasting through life until she realizes something isn’t right. She found love, but I’m still looking.
She’s a little grumpy and she’s got a mean streak when provoked – both things that remind me of myself. I’m not perfect, far from it, but the fact that all these flaws that I see in myself, I can see in a character who is still loved – I can’t imagine how that has impacted me, not just as a reader, but as a person.
I was thirteen when I first started writing The Assassin, in a little lime green notebook. Back then, I didn’t expect anything out of writing. I didn’t know anything about creating well-rounded characters, or about putting them into tough situations. I knew nothing about how to make a character that had an impact. Looking back now, I realize how much strong, slightly messed up women (both real and fictional) have impacted my life.
Without the women in books, I would have never realized some of the values I want out of my life or out of my characters. Women in books have had a profound impact on my life, and I hope they continue to do so. I hope at some point, my characters have an impact on someone else’s life.