Today we're joining the THREATS OF SKY AND SEA blog tour. Author Jennifer Ellison has written a great guest post for us, so let's get right to it. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.
“How to Write a Strong Female Protagonist in YA Fantasy”
The urge to write this blog post in recipe format was strong, but I resisted the compulsion to make you read my weird list of female MC “ingredients” and instructions to “mix well.” I hope you’re all proud of me.
In all honesty, this post could be really short for me. I could say: “let your female characters define themselves” and be all:
But I’ll say a little bit more.
Having strong female characters in Threats of Sky and Sea was really important to me, but it wasn’t essential to me that that meant they were busy kicking ass and taking names throughout the book. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. I like Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior as much as the next girl.
But my main goal in creating these characters in Threats of Sky and Sea was that I wanted them to be their own people.
(This GRRM quote was necessary. Necessary.)
That’s what defines strength in characters for me, be they female or male. That they have strong personalities, no matter what their physical strength or prowess with a weapon may be. That they fight to be the ones making decisions for themselves.
In Threats of Sky and Sea, there are three women who take center stage. On the protagonist side, there’s my main character, Breena Perdit and Princess Aleta. On the antagonist side, we have Lady Katerine.
Bree is snarky and a little loud-mouthed, while Aleta can be cold and cutting. Lady Katerine revels in holding power. Aleta and Bree have little to no combat training, while Katerine has a great deal. Bree is used to wearing torn breeches, Aleta uses the impressions that clothes can give as a tool, and Kat is a straight-up snob about jewelry and titles.
(A quick aside: Female characters don’t have to eschew those things that are traditionally feminine. Dresses don’t make someone weak.)
The point I’m trying to make by telling you about Bree, Aleta, and Katerine is that they all have different motivations. Different interests, different ways of handling things, different personalities.
And maybe I’m biased, but I think that they’re all strong women.
No matter your genre, your characters can make mistakes. They can have flaws, frivolous interests, and they can even make you want to scream at them. But give them inner strength. Give them something that pushes back at the world when it’s beating them down.
They can fall down and fail… but it’s their decision to get back up again that makes them strong.
Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision
(Threats of Sky and Sea #1)
Publication date: May 20th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.
Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time.
But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war.
Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes his life– and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.
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Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She lives in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.
Threats of Sky and Sea, a young adult fantasy, is her first novel.
You can find Jennifer online at www.jenniferellision.com, or on twitter @JenEllision.