I’m writing this on my phone from 35k ft up (yes I googled that fact), just a few hours out of Dublin, Ireland.
It’s 2:58 AM, and I’ve managed to doze for about three of the six hour long flight, but sleep evades me. I guess that’s what happens when your wildest dreams are coming true.
While I would love to write about that in more detail, that story is not the one keeping fresh muse blood pumping through my groggy mind. I’ll be posting about Ireland soon, but for now you can read a bit about why I decided to come here in this post. You can also pre-order The Festival of Trial and Ember (one of the main reasons for this trip) right here!
On this early morning I want to talk about characters. Particularly the kinds of heroine figures I resonate with and hold as model examples in my life. The kinds of girls I strive to write about in my own novels…
Anne Shirley, Katherine of Mrs. Mike, Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Kelsea of The Queen of the Tearling, Elizabeth Bennett, Dashti of The Book of a Thousand Days, Jane Eyre, and Laura Ingalls, just to name a few.
Girls who struggle to feel good enough, pretty enough, capable enough. Girls who dare to speak up and speak out. Girls who might at times wish that someone would swoop in and save them, but learn in the end the magic of rescuing themselves using self-love, courage, compassion, and a dash of grit.
I want to see myself in these heroines. At times I only see my own flaws staring back at me as I know I have so far to go before I’m on their level of girl-power.
But the reason I come back to these girls and their stories is because they too faced dark nights of the soul – feeling as hopeless and helpless as their circumstances. What stands them a part is their choice to stare down those flaws, to get real with themselves, to choose love instead of fear, and in the end, to overcome much more than some “bad guy” figure, but the internal demons that often are the strongest antagonists of all.
And I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I personally feel that it’s these internal antagonists we must watch out for.
They can appear as subtle as an unwavering inner critic who never lets you think anything you do is good enough…
Walls around our hearts built in the name of protection, but only serve to keep love out…
Fear of change, the unknown, or any other fear that stops your feet from moving along life’s beautiful, unexpected and exciting path…
Feeling as if your worth is dependent on someone else’s opinion of you. The moment you connect your personal worth to another flawed human, you hand over the keys of who you are to that person…
(Self-love is a practice. I fall out of it on a weekly basis. The important part is to be self-aware enough to recognize when you’ve slipped, and use that chance to start practicing compassion by loving yourself back to the arms of truth that say: “you are precious, you are enough. Your flaws mean you’re alive. You are a beautiful goddess meant for more than this moment of fear, anger and hate. Turn back to love, friend.”).
I’ve been asked why I write Young Adult, or if I base my heroine figures on anyone in particular.
I write YA because I will always love the coming of age stories. I think that’s because a part of me will always be stepping into my own, no matter how old I am. I also believe a lot of women feel this same way.
As for the character inspiration, I pull from everything. Small encounters with strangers, lifelong friendships, my own personal journeys. I try to capture the struggles and emotions we all face at some point. I want my characters to feel relatable, even if they live in a fantasy world or their hobbies include fighting faeries. For me, what matters most are the protagonists’ inner battles, and how they come to know themselves a bit better by the end of the book.
These kinds of characters are the backbone to every good story.
These are the kinds of characters I write about. I see pieces of every girl, every woman, within their story. I see pieces of myself. In the end, I think that’s what makes the concept of stories so timeless – we see ourselves in the eyes of the characters, and we triumph in the end right alongside them because we ARE them. They are us. We are joined together in life’s great story, learning from each other, sharing tears and laughs, and remembering who we are….
The strong, kind, beautiful, courageous heroines of our life story.
Who are your literary heroines? What characters have inspired you, and why? Comment below and please share this post with any women who are your real-life heroines!