E. B. Davis's "Ice Cream Allure" contained in the new anthology, Carolina Crimes: Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing is now available at http://www.amazon.com/Carolina-Crimes-Nineteen-Tales-Longing/dp/1479408832 Look for the trailer on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVkSYbgD7V0&feature=youtu.be Nineteen tales by SinC members!

James M. Jackson's
new Seamus mystery, Cabin Fever was released last week. Look for the WWK Interview on 4/9.
Check here for a list of online retailers or to order a signed copy from Jim.

Linda Rodriguez's
new Skeet Bannion mystery, Every Hidden Fear, is available for preorder at her website:

http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com/
Look for the WWK Interview on 4/30.

KM Rockwood's new Jesse Damon novel, Brothers in Crime, will be released on May 2. Look for the WWK interview on May 14th.

Gloria Alden's
short story, "The Body in the Red Dress," has been accepted by the Bethlehem Writers' Roundtable for publication in March/April. Look for the story under the section called "and more" at the top of the featured author of the month. Also look for her third Catherine Jewell Mystery, Ladies of the Garden Club available at all bookstores in print and ebook.

Welcome Wednesday guests for April: Kathleen Dalaney 4/2, Jim Jackson 4/9, Janet Evanovich 4/16, Teresa Ingle 4/23, Linda Rodrigues 4/30.

Paula Gail Benson's short story
"Confidence in the Family" is featured in the Mystery Times Ten 2013 anthology, which can be bought at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Times-2013-Linda-Browning/dp/0984203583/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1387240857&sr=8-2 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Favorite Female Characters

Three are English. Two are American. One lives in the 19th century. One is an author. One is a retired advertizing executive. One is a retired journalist. Two work within the criminal justice system. One is egocentric. One fights her parents even though she’s well past thirty. One fights the shadow of her father. One is a widow. Two are now married, but neither was when their series started. One is trying out a new career. One lies habitually.

I chose five of my favorite female main characters (I have many more favorites.) to analyze, trying to discover what appeals about these characters. I found dissimilarities, which I’ve enumerated above, and yet with all of these varied aspects of their lives and characteristics, I’ve found that they also have a great deal in common.

All are independent women, making or having made their living. None is dependent on males, but all of them like males, even if they are frustrated by them from time to time. All rose to the top of their given fields. All of them have issues due to their upbringing and/or family. All of the characters participate, getting involved in events and with other people in their lives. They could even be characterized as nosey. All are smart, perhaps even superior, and all have challenges.

They have their faults, just as all of us do. The characters are frustrating because they risk their lives regardless of how those risks impact love ones. Sometimes their values or decisions are questionable. They bend or break the law justifying the means to the ends.

Do these characters sound like anyone you know?

Yes, I think most of us write characters that are somewhat like ourselves, yet aren’t us at all. Those characteristics that remind us of ourselves are universal traits, at least in some segments of the population. They are who we’d like to be, resourceful, knowing how to accomplish any given task in five different ways, succeed in everything, juggle their lives, overcome the odds in conventional and unconventional ways, and solve mysteries. To some extent, they are superwomen. Luckily, we know they are fictional characters.

Can you match the traits listed above with the characters listed below?

Deborah Crombie’s heroine, Gemma James is a divorced mother, who is in a relationship with her boss when the series begins. Duncan Kincaid and Gemma keep their affair secret so that her career doesn’t suffer. Of course, no one in real life could keep such a secret. She is a responsible parent, balancing those responsibilities with her career, and teams with Kincaid even though she is below him in rank. Seeing Gemma marry, rise to the same rank as her husband and co-mingling their families, Crombie balances her plot and back story well. And somehow writes an English police murder mystery while hailing from Texas.



M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin is a character we sympathize with because she is so terribly human. Yes, she lies, cheats, and isn’t above stealing or squeezing that extra dollar from a patron to get what she wants. She’s a whiz at making money. The problem is that after she works so hard and even compromises her character to attain her goal, she doesn’t know if what she gained is what she wanted after all. Her friend, the minister’s wife, represents us, loving and supporting her, not necessarily approving of her, but will defend and chastise those who judge her. Beaton makes one aspect very clear. When others want something and know Agatha can accomplish what they want, they have no compunction about using her, balancing Agatha’s faults against our own.



Susan Wittig Albert’s series based on the life of Beatrix Potter gives us insight into the social relationships of the 19th century and gives us reason to be thankful for living in the 21st century. And yet, there are charms about the English village life of yesteryear. Ms. Potter, the writer and illustrator of her children’s series, uses her observation skills, her popularity, and her wealth and position to help those around her. Albert shows us the irony of Victorian England. Beatrix has world-wide fame, money of her own and property, yet she can never be free until her parents’ die. We can only hope they kick the bucket quickly, but I don’t think they did.



Henri O. (Collins), one of Carolyn Hart’s first main characters seems no longer to be a viable series, which is disappointing. I keep hoping for a new Henri O. book, but none have been released since 2002. Henri O. is everything I’d like to be when I grow up. She capable, very intelligent, sleuths like a pro, had a successful marriage, but is now a widow and takes on new teaching assignments and travel. Her life sounds grand to me, even if she’s a little bit “Murder She Wrote.” Hart wrote short stories in which Henri O. was the main character as far back as 1960’s. Watching her grow was great fun.



Margaret Maron’s main character, Judge Deborah Knott, is also an independent woman, but she is a small town, southern woman, which complicates her independence. Her notorious father’s history connects her to the land and people in a unique way. When she was younger, she rebelled, but now has come to appreciate this legacy. While she takes the men in her life into consideration when making decisions, maybe too much, she also judges men and women in her courtroom exacting penalties to fit the crime. Following her relationship with her husband, from friends to spouse, Maron gives us a real sense of the pitfalls of marriage to a man with a past. Deborah walks a fine line, involving herself in crimes that come between her husband’s jurisdiction as a cop and hers in the courtroom. Maron’s development of the long family history provides the basis for an interesting backstory, one that continues into the changing south of the 21st century.

Were you able to match the characters to their traits?  Who are your favorite female series characters?

1 comment:

Ramona said...

Now I want to curl up and read and read. Thanks for the reminder of such interesting fictional women.