Why Write Strong Female Leads? Because You’re Still Asking That Question.


Back again today is author Hazel Butler to talk about strong female characters and what makes hers different. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

One of my favourite writers (and directors), Joss Whedon, famously recounted an incident with a journalist during an Equality Now speech in 2006. It went something like this: the journalist asked, ‘So, why do you write these strong female characters?’, and in the style we have come to love and adore from the man who brought us Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and The Avengers (amongst other things), Whedon simply responded, ‘Because you’re still asking me that question’.

I’m fairly certain that everyone who has ever written a tale involving strong female characters—in particular a lead character—has been asked some variation of, ‘Why did you make your women so strong?’, and/or, ‘Why did you make your hero a woman?’

caI find it mildly ridiculous, but sadly not surprising, that this still happens. But it was a comment from a friend of mine after she read my first novel, Chasing Azrael, that really got me thinking about this. The friend in question is no chauvinist. She’s no stranger to strong female characters, in fact she’s all for them. What surprised me was her assertion that it was the first time she’d read anything wherein there was a strong female protagonist whose strength depended, not on her physical power or supernatural abilities, but due to her strength of character.

Andee Tilbrook is not a strong character because…

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Chasing Azrael

Hello!  Me again.  I’ve finished two books quite close together, so I’m back with another review for you.  Today, let’s take a look at Chasing Azrael by Hazel Butler, archaeologist, artist, and fellow member of the Alliance of Worldbuilders.  From Amazon:

When Andee Tilbrook’s husband died, her preoccupation with death turned to obsession. Thanks to her unique ability to commune with the dead, her husband remains all too close, yet never close enough. Mired in grief, she clings to James’s spirit, slowly losing touch with the world, her friends, and any desire to continue living.

But when her friend Josh becomes the target of Natalya, a jealous, capricious and violent Russian beauty, Andee somehow finds the strength to free herself from her misery long enough to help him. They soon discover that Natalya is wanted by the police for her involvement in a series of grisly murders, and Andee is dragged into the inquiry by the same man who investigated her own husband’s death.

Torn between new feelings for Josh, and fear that he might be involved in the murders that seem to threaten anyone who comes close, Andee must face the realities of her life, her past, and her very nature-and do it all in time to save her own life.

I could not put this book down.   I stayed up past the witching hour…