The best part about having two female protagonists is I get to write two strong, but very different, women. I can explore what it means to be a strong woman in different settings, without stereotyping what it means to be strong.
Case in point: my main character, Gwyn, is nineteen when we first meet her—bit of a dreamer, has a romantic streak. Yet when she is placed under extremely difficult circumstances—namely, is flung back in time to a violent siege—she not only survives; she escapes, forges friendships and ultimately saves some of the people she cares about. Yet she hasn’t lost her romantic side—she is confronted by uncomfortable realities and emotions, doesn’t always behave in a way she might be proud of, is frustrated and often frightened, yet still struggles on in an effort to do what is right.
Michelle on the other hand, fulfils the trope of bad-ass action hero; kicking butts and taking names. Adaptable, ruthless and determined, she perseveres through intense physical discomfort in order to do her duty. She is extremely capable and confident, so she fears little, knowing she will be able to fight her way out of trouble.
These two characters clash. It’s easy to call Michelle the strong one, but when you consider how Gwyn not only survives, but succeeds, without any of the physical and psychological training Michelle has, you realise how, despite her flaws, Gwyn has a strength of character that continues to grow despite the hardships thrown at it. Michelle’s personality risks hardening to breaking point, however, once her support systems are taken away, and it’s only through some painful self-reflection that she admits that Gwyn’s coping mechanisms are simply different, not weaker.
Right now I am part way through the last book in this five book time-travel series. I’ve had the opportunity to showcase each of my protagonists’ strengths and weaknesses—alone and together—and while they have formed a working partnership, their respect for each other doesn’t mean they are now best friends. Strong women don’t have to be the same. They don’t have to even be friends and have the same interests.
I am surrounded by strong women in my life, some of them very different. Capable, resourceful, powerful women—they achieve in many different areas of life. They are all managers to one degree or another: whether in actual job name, project managing multi-million dollar projects, or organising finances, renovations, teaching a classroom full of excitable and challenging students. Many of them are mothers—they have the strength to get up for the sixth time that night to a crying baby, corral toddlers out the door with lunches, nappies, spare clothes, water bottles. The strength of mind to deal with a relentless, unpredictable landscape. Many of them are creatives or academics, with the self-discipline to see through a multi-year project, persevering in the face of thankless tasks, with only themselves to hate or blame when the self-doubt overwhelms them in the seemingly endless days.
But they carry on. They survive, they improve, they thrive—particularly in the company of other strong women. And it is that theme I have sought to draw out in my books, that alone, a strong woman is strong, but together—with others—she is incredible.
Jodie Lane is the author of Turning Points – a time-travel adventure series that takes readers from the ancient world to an interstellar future. Based in Brisbane, Australia, Jodie is an enthusiastic historian, combining her love of travel with fascinating stories from the past. Find her books at www.jodielane.com or stay up to date with her events and news on www.facebook.com/authorjodielane
Jodie provided this blog on request because Bek loves how she makes the point that strong women don’t have to like each but they do need to respect the others skills/beliefs. It is a core part of my belief system. I am half way through reading Jodie’s first book and am trying to free up a weekend to binge read the rest. Purchase your copies of Jodie’s books and anthology contribution here .