I could talk to you about the hot-topic of strength in women, of feminism, of gender-politics in fiction. I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to simply tell you about my two female protagonists.
I find that I tend to write female protagonists, it’s not planned, it’s not a conscious decision, it’s just how they form in my mind. First of all there’s Evelyn, more usually called Evie. She’s the protagonist and narrator of the Infernal Hunt series.
Evelyn’s old for her years, she’s in her early twenties, but she matured at a young age. Her parents took advantage of that, for reasons I can’t disclose (I can’t share spoilers). This means that she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders, because she’s been expected to do a lot for the majority of her life. She’s a hunter, her parents were hunters, and her twin’s a hunter. In this world, a hunter is someone who keeps the supernal community in line, it’s a rough, bloody job.
She’s been killing rogue lycans, facing down packs of redcaps, and squaring up to witches, for years. She’s not fearless, but she understands her place in the world. If she doesn’t do it, then innocent lives will lost. People who didn’t grow up being prepared for that world, will have to face it, and they will lose. She’s a protector, a defender, and that applies to her twin Quin too. Quin isn’t exactly weak, he’s a damn fine hunter in his own right, but Evie has it ingrained in her that she must protect and look after him. That means that she tended to hold other people at arm’s length, relationships were few and far between. She was the guard dog, the defender that sat up on the hill watching over her family and friends.
That all being said, she isn’t the stone-cold, aloof, hardass, that you might expect. She very much feels, Quin and her best friend mean the world to her. She pines after a lover, someone to be weak with and hide from the world with. She laughs, she cries, and she feels fear. She wants to be like Quin, to have friends and lovers, but she doesn’t quite know how.
Then there’s Ava, the alchemist in Powdered Ink. She’s very different to Evie, she’s bouncy, full of life, fiery, and fueled by her curiosity. People and relationships are an interesting thing to her, she thoroughly enjoys them, and flits between groups and people with relative ease. She can be aloof, but that’s usually when she’s entirely absorbed in a new adventure or alchemical challenge.
She grew up in a boarding school, without contact with her family, they didn’t want her. So she learnt how to deal with people, fellow students, those studying other forms of magic, and teachers. She is an adventurer, defined more by her love of exploration and a good challenge, versus Evie’s protectorship.
She’s completely comfortable in her own skin, and loves life. Where Evie feels lonely and set aside from society, Ava worries more about being wrong and what if she runs out of adventures and challenges? What if one day, she can’t do what she loves so much any more? In the back of her mind, she wants to explore the adventure of really falling in love, but that terrifies her. She’d quite like a family but, she didn’t have one growing up, what if she fails? What if she resents them for reducing her adventures? Ultimately her biggest fear is failure.
On the outside, if I were to write Evie from one of the other hunter’s point of view, then perhaps she’d look like one of those hard-ass, cold, aloof types. Neither she or Ava fit that bill in truth though. They both kick ass. They take on big scary creatures, and terrifying situations, and win. They both cry, for varying reasons, from sadness or fear, to frustration and happiness. They both feel, they love, they care, they get scared and worried. They’re affectionate and sweet when the moment calls for it. They’re real people, real women, and I love them. I hope you’ll love them too.