Hey there, everyone. I’m not going to waste too much time going into the why of the blog and the what it will be (book related thingums), I’m just going to launch straight into it.
A question that seems relevant to me today is “Why did you write Falling Fast?”
Because the only YA books I’ve read (or have seen film/TV adaptations of) that have strong, female lead characters who aren’t there simply because the author needed a romance to make the took happen, have all been fantasy books.
You might argue that even in the fantasy books, there is a romance. You’d be right, there were romances in all the books I’m thinking about, but they’re there as plot devices for politics and world building or to challenge the character. They’re there to thicken the plot and extend the character, but the story could have still happened without them.
Here’s a list of the books I’m thinking of:
Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
The Cassie Palmer Series & Midnight’s Daughter, Karen Chance
Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson (I’ll allow an argument for arguing that it’s not YA material, it’s better classed as High Fantasy, I think it’s called, but I read them in my late teens/early 20s)
The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare
All fantasy books, all with strong females as the main role (or one of the leading roles as in Sanderson) whose romances are only there to add to the story, not to be the story. I’ll add Lord of the Rings in there as well even though Arwen and Eowyn aren’t lead roles, but they’re strong and independent women who know their own minds outside the romance.
Though they’re all very different heroes of their stories, they all remain female. They don’t take on male attributes like Brienne of Tarth does. They may not always dress in expensive dresses or wear the nicest perfume, but they remain feminine in appearance. They’re maybe not all stunning beauties, but they’re not masculine in appearance in any way.
So I sat down and wrote Falling Fast, a book where romances happen, but the two leads, Zoey and Lexie, have lives outside them. A book where they have a strong bond with each other, but still clash on occasion and have lives outside of each other. A book where they’re juggling more than one thing and don’t crumble under the pressure or ask someone to take over.
But a book that doesn’t at all exclude men because, let’s face it, in a book set in the real world, you can’t not talk about men and have male characters unless you’re story takes place in a convent. Zoey’s friends are a mix of males and females, she has a strong bond with her twin brother, Dan, and her obnoxiously hilarious father, Peter. Dan’s friends come along for the ride for a while as well. This does mean that Zoey and Lexie are rather surrounded by guys, but I wanted to have it that way to show that even surrounded by guys most of the time, a couple of girls can easily still be heard and properly listened to, and still be feminine.
The story grew into a story about what friends, male and female, will do for each other, though the main focus for that theme is Zoey and Lexie, with a bit of Dan thrown in there on occasion. Honestly, the whole story could have happened without the most of the male characters, it just wouldn’t have been as funny.
At the heart of it, Falling Fast is about what two teenage girls, best friends, will do for one another. Zoey, takes on Lexie’s ex-boyfriend as he attempts to force her back into a relationship. Lexie takes on Harriet, the girl who bullies Zoey at school and helps Zoey gain the strength she needs to defend herself.