contemporary fiction

the other list

Thinking about my list of seven male characters has actually helped me quite a lot in solidifying some things about John Grant, who is the male protagonist in Tied to the Tracks. In the hope that lightning will strike twice, here’s a preliminary list of female characters who work especially well for me. Again, this is in no particular order, and I’ve put my own main character at the bottom for the purposes of comparison.

Three more things I’ll be thinking about as I try to deconstruct what makes a female protagonist work for me: (1) unlike my list of male characters, most of these women come out of traditional romance; (2) Each of these women has a male counterpart who I like a great deal, but who didn’t make it onto the other list. (3) I can think of another five female characters who probably deserve to be on this list.

Elizabeth BennettPride and PrejudiceJane Austen
Marie Du GardDanceJudy Cuevas (Judith Ivory)
Maddy TimmsFlowers from the StormLaura Kinsale
MelantheFor My Lady’s HeartLaura Kinsale
Aeryn SunFarscapeof course, of course
Hannah TrevorHearts and BonesMargaret Lawrence
Elizabeth MiddletonInto the WildernessS.D.

former lives, puppy boys, and Lily

in another life, I was a university professor. I wrote books about language and discrimination issues, and my work was well received. For the most part that is all behind me now, but every once in a while my past catches up with me. I spent Thursday and Friday writing an expert opinion for a Title VII language-focused discrimination case, which felt very odd but interesting. I did it because I felt like I couldn’t not do it.


Just before I started this project on Thursday, I sent off two things I had promised my agent: the first three chapters of the contemporary novel (tentatively entitled Tied to the Tracks) and a children’s book I have been writing, off and on, for the last year. A short thing, really, but it was fun to do. Don’t know if it will ever sell, of course. It’s called Puppy Boys.

So now I have to get back to work. While I was hammering away at linguistics, the odd thought did pop into my head. Or maybe I should say the odd character: Lily showed up to tell me something obvious I had been overlooking. It was actually a great surprise and relief and quite amusing, too.

Lily is a young woman at this pointl. She is a great deal like her mother, but she doesn’t know that yet. In matters of the heart, her life is looking very different so far than her mother’s ever did.