I look forward to dinner because it is where the three-ring circus of our home intersects. My daughter Molly lives upstairs but works at a machine museum. My husband works in the woods. I do stuff and I write. We get to tell the stories we have collected over the course of the day.
One day I shared my idea of The Walker Tales with them and Molly questioned my choice of having a male hero. Why did I not try to balance out the predominance of male leads with a female? I am a woman. I should write what I know. What qualifies me to get in the head of a boy?
Good questions. My immediate reaction was to say I didn’t want to add to the plethera of warrior girl leads. I think, ultimately, women don’t want to live as warriors, though they can fight when they need to and provide for themselves if they have to. What a girl wants is to be a princess and then a queen. Beauty with power, complementing a good king.
But I have better reasons.
I think my 63 years of observation about boys and men, 58 years of reading all sorts of fiction, 35 years of marriage, 33 years of being a mother of sons, and 21 years of teaching other children give me some insight into how a fellow might behave.
But honestly, I didn’t even think of having a girl walk through the journey I had in mind. And this is my reasoning:
- my character is learning to fight battles and will become a warrior
- the theme is learning to walk by faith and not by sight, in trust and not in strength, and while girls need to learn it too, it is going to be a lot more fun to watch a boy fumble with this
- he’s the clueless idiot and the girl who will join him will be a voice of reason and grace
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.