A while ago I saw a video of Reece Witherspoon talking about producing films and how she would often read scripts and then inevitably would get to the part where the female lead looked at the male lead and said 'What do we do now?' and she hated it. She commented that women would be full of ideas on what to do next.
I'm a long time fan of the action movie, but Reece is right, they're full of women who seem to need to be saved and have no idea of how to keep themselves safe. And whilst I'm not saying that it has to be girl power and nothing else, one of the best action films for me is Peppermint (controversial I know) I love Riley North's (Jennifer Garner) character arc. Another great movie example is Breaking In, Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) needs to, and does, save herself and her family.
This doesn't mean I don't love books with great male leads, like Jack Reacher or Inspector Rebus, I do. Although when I looked through the books on my book shelf I realised I must be naturally drawn to book with female main characters.
What does this all mean to me when I'm writing? Did I deliberately set out to write female main characters only? The answer is no. I write female protagonists because, as someone whose stories are character driven, the characters that come to me are female, these are the ones that I've bonded with so far.
It is important to me that the women in my books are strong, capable and intelligent. I want to show them feeling the full natural range of human emotions including anger and sometimes even rage. To show them following their career dreams and not being held back by perceived societal norms.
For me the whole cast of characters is important, they need to fit into the world I've created and feel believable. So, whilst it's important for me to have a cast of kick ass, multi-faceted women, it's also important that the male characters are rounded as well.
Along time ago I was advised against writing female protagonists if I wanted to be successful, because men wouldn't like it. I was told they wouldn't read a book where a woman was capable of looking after herself and didn't need saving. That was one opinion, one I have no regrets about ignoring.
The truth is I don't think that's true, sure there will be some that are put off by that, and if that's the case then my books aren't for you and that's okay because there are thousands of books to choose from and we all get to pick the ones we like the most.
In a recent review Sarah (Instagram mrse2017) wrote 'a strong woman raising a strong woman' when she described Rowan and Alana's relationship. In fact what many of the reviews of Jack In A Box show is that there is absolutely an audience for strong women, who stand up for and look out for themselves and those they care for.
What will I do now? I'll continue to write fabulous female lead characters, that I relate to and I know other people will too.