Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strong, Smart and Under the Radar

Here’s to strong smart women. Especially those who fly under the radar.
Amateur sleuths, particularly women amateur sleuths, often don’t seem all that strong or all that smart at first blush. But they are, aren’t they? 

Whether they have ordinary jobs like small-town librarian, Ophelia Jensen, in Shirley Damsgaard’s Ophelia and Abby series. Or they’re preschool teachers like Lizzie Brown in Angie Fox’s hilarious Demon-Slayer novels. Or for that matter they may be like, pet therapist, Caro Lamont and pet boutique owner, Melinda Langston, in our Pampered Pets mystery series

Whatever their regular every day job…these women are strong. They are smart. They may seem ordinary, but they’re definitely not. 

We love writing (and reading) these seemingly ordinary women because they’re often underestimated. Whether their special powers are supernatural like Ophelia’s and Lizzie’s or part of their vocation like Caro’s and Mel’s, these ladies can take care of themselves and anyone else who needs it. 

Writing a strong heroine can be tricky. It’s a balancing act. You see a strong woman isn’t just a guy named Lance who’s been given some curves and renamed Linda.  A strong heroine is a multi-faceted person with feelings and flaws. She understands her weaknesses, learns from her mistakes and draws on her strengths to face what she needs to face. She’s loyal and fierce and believes in fighting the good fight not only for herself but for others who can’t fight. She may get knocked down, but she always gets up. 

Joss Wheldon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, says he writes strong women because of his mother who was a cool, sexy, funny, woman. And because of his father and step-father who prized wit and resolve above all things. 

We believe part of the fascination with strong, smart women who fly under the radar is that they are going along, leading ordinary lives, and suddenly they must rise to the occasion when faced with extraordinary circumstances. In our books, it’s almost always a murder. But the murder isn’t really the call to action for Caro and Mel. It’s the injustice. Someone is falsely accused. Someone is in danger. Someone has been wronged. 

And don’t we all hope that if we were placed in a situation that called for it we’d put on our big girl capes and perform extraordinary feats. 

So here’s to us -  the daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends who fight the good fight. Even if sometimes we have to save the world between grocery shopping and endless meetings. 

Here’s to you - may your battles be small and your superpowers sufficient to the challenge before you.
Sparkle & Abbey

What are your thoughts? What makes a great strong female character for you?
Do you have a favorite strong, smart female character in a book or movie?
Please comment and get your name in the drawing for free books. We’ll be giving away some copies of Desperate Housedogs and Get Fluffy. Also, just an FYI, Get Fluffy is currently an Amazon Big Deal and being offered on Kindle for $1.99 until December 22.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter who co-write the Pampered Pets Mystery Series featuring feuding former Texas beauty queen cousins Caro Lamont and Melinda Langston who are strong enough and smart enough to solve crimes that have stumped the police in posh pet-friendly community of Laguna Beach, California. 

Book One: Desperate Housedogs
Book Two: Get Fluffy
Book Three: Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (coming soon)
Book Four: Yip/Tuck (2013)


Zita said...

What makes a character strong for me is not gender specific. They must have integrity, honour, and loyalty. And a sense of humour :-)

SandyG265 said...

A strong character can rely on the help of othet people without being dependent on them.

Sparkle Abbey said...

Zita - That's so true! It's very much about their *character* and, of course, a sense of humor is essential. :-)

Sparkle Abbey said...

Sandy - That's a great point. Accepting doesn't mean being dependent!

Sparkle Abbey said...

Any particular characters that come to mind? Either books or movies?

Angie Fox said...

I also think a strong character isn't afraid to ask for help. She may not get it, but smart women at least need to try and pull their resources together.

Angie Fox said...

Hey, I'm just realizing I said what Sandy said. Ha! But it's true. :)

BW said...

I like the character Olivia Benson on "Law and Order SVU".

Chrisbails said...

I like Cat Crawfield from Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost and Anita Blake from Laurell K Hamilton. I think a strong female charcter is able to fight and stand up for themselves and others, the are protectors, very loyal to their family, friends, and significant others, and always love some that can make you laugh and have a great sense of humor. Thanks for the chance to win.
christinebails at yahoo dot com

Sparkle Abbey said...

Great examples! The character of Detective Olivia Benson is interesting because she uses the places where she's broken to make her stronger in her fight and her dedication. Strong yet compassionate...

Sparkle Abbey said...

Chrisbails - Haven't read Jeaniene but just took a peek at her website and love the trailers! One Grave at a Time was way cool. Clearly Cat is another great example of a woman who is not only smart and strong but also fights for others.

Sparkle Abbey said...

Thanks to you all for your great comments and recommendations!

Zita, SandyG265, BW, and Chrisbails you have all won books.

Please send us an email at SparkleAbbey@gmail.com with your info so we can get them to you.


BW said...

Thank you so much! I sent you my info.