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Spunky heroines: a YA historical fiction dilemma

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My friend wrote this column for BookPage about the modern reader's desire for a spunky heroine which can be at odds with the time period in which the novel is set. I thought it was super interesting.
#1 - February 05, 2014, 12:11 PM
Author of YA novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards (Red Adept Publishing, 2014)

I really enjoyed this article! I write historical fiction, and it's hard to make characters accurate for their time period and independent enough to appeal to a modern audience.
These were some interesting suggestions--and I have some more books to check out.  :)
#2 - February 05, 2014, 07:30 PM

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Great article!  I write historically-influenced fantasy, and part of the reason for that is the constraints placed on characters (and author!) when writing historical fiction.  However, I am also allergic to the word "spunky" as it has come to be interpreted in today's YA landscape.  While characters like Katniss are great, not all girls are like that, and not all *interesting* girls are like that.  I have found that my protagonists tend to be anti-spunky. :)  I know that characters like Bella Swan tend to get a bad rap for being anti-feminist, but I worry that this obsession with spunky female characters actually does a disservice to girls, because it deprives them of seeing the journey of a non-spunky-at-the-beginning character finding her own way and her own strength.
#3 - February 12, 2014, 02:14 PM

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I write historical fiction but don't see anything unusual about spunky girls as long as it is clear what the norms are -- and why they are not followed in this character's case. There have always been girls outside the norm -- from queens to saloon madams to homesteaders. I also agree that girls don't have to challenge society to be story-worthy. Sometimes it is just as tough to follow the norms when temptation is to break them!
#4 - March 06, 2014, 01:19 PM
- 4RV Publishing, April 2015
NO MORE MR. DAWDLE (Caramel Tree, April 2015)
UNGLUED (Caramel Tree, June 2015)


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