Monday, June 6, 2011
Influenced by Heroines
There are a lot of writers that I like and admire. But when it comes to inspiration, I always come back to the first fantasy book I read that included a powerful female protagonist. I read Robin McKinley's THE HERO AND THE CROWN when I was thirteen. All the books I'd read before then had been about men. Men riding dragons. Men making war. Men storming castles. The female characters were relegated to two-dimensional backgrounds. They were passive. They hung out in castles and expected to be taken care of solely because they'd sprouted ovaries. Until the guy with the washboard abs showed up to rescue them.
That didn't fly with me. Sorry. Couldn't suspend disbelief that far. Still can't.
Then, I met Aerin, the heroine of THE HERO AND THE CROWN. She wasn't glamorous. She was clumsy. Unmagical. She broke dishes, tripped around the castle, and wished that she was someplace else. She wasn't popular. She wasn't cool.
But she discovered her talents. She couldn't work magic or embroider nicely. She was, instead, a dragonslayer. Aerin grew into her armor and her role, becoming a legendary hero. She suffered for it, nearly incinerated by a fearsome foe. She survived as a result of courage and endurance, lifting a terrible curse that had permeated deep within her kingdom.
Aerin fell in love...not once, but twice. Neither time with an alpha male. They were both good men...one a hermetic immortal sorcerer, and the other a kind and sorta bookish guy destined to be king. She loved both of them and they loved her. She could choose only one in the end, but it was without a slugfest or angst.
And Aerin has always been, to me, the model of what a heroine should be. She knew independence. She knew duty. She knew love.
And she also ignited my love of the fantasy genre. She showed me what a heroine could be, and I'll always be grateful for that.
Posted by Laura Bickle
Writing as Laura Bickle, I'm the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket Books and THE HALLOWED ONES for HMH Graphia. Writing as Alayna Williams, I'm the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE. More info on my urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: www.salamanderstales.com