Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Post: Author Melissa West

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By far my favorite books, both in YA and adult fiction, involve strong heroines. Take Elizabeth Bennett as an example. She is the epitome of strength, turning down Darcy and a lifetime of wealth out of loyalty to her family and respect for herself. Of course, we learn she was misguided, but still, the fact that she was willing to put what matters to her above status and wealth—both very important during those times—is amazing. Then there is Katniss Everdeen. Again, a strong female character that puts everything on the line for what she believes.

These characters are both admirable. They are the kind of women we strive to be, the sort of women we want our daughters to be. And I think we need more of them in YA.
We need characters that push back and ask questions and strive to be better than their situations. Because these are the sort of traits that make strong women in real life.

When I set out to write GRAVITY, I knew I wanted to make Ari, my main character, one of these strong heroines. I wanted her to be the kind of character the reader respects, not one that the reader continually questions during the story. Ari is loyal, yet questions anything that feels wrong to her. She is tough, yet able to show her emotions. And she is driven to stay true to herself above everything else.

So what about you? Do you prefer to read stories with strong female heroines, and if so, who are a few of your favorites?

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