28 April 2018

Holding Out For A #Heroine

"That hurts"
I write novels about ordinary people; ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations leaving them fearing they can’t cope, but they do anyway because the alternative is too unpalatable to contemplate.

I don’t write about gung-ho macho men who can make world-changing decisions in an instant; I certainly don’t write about kick-ass women with a mouth full of sharp one-liners.

Who are these kick-ass women, anyway? Where are they from? They’re usually in the 18-25 age bracket. We’re talking millennials here, the snowflake generation who require universities to have “safe spaces” and who whine about gender inequality.

I’ve news. They’ve never had it so good. They should have been my contemporaries in the so-called “swinging” sixties. Heck, we both should have been around in the run up to World War One: poor food, looooong hours, no labour-saving devices, and the forbidding local workhouse standing as the only form of Welfare State on offer. Neither of us would have lasted five minutes.

Yet our female ancestors did, and they still found the time to lay the foundation of, alas, the whining society we have become. No wonder Historical Sagas, particularly those set in the beginning of the 20th century, continue to be read so widely. Forget Downton Abbey. Ordinary women in extraordinary situations determined to make a difference.

Those people still exist. Think of those who run foodbanks and soup kitchens, sit calmly on the end of Samaritan telephone lines, volunteers who help feed the incapacitated on our hospital wards – each has a story to tell but often merely offers a self-effacing smile.

The London Marathon event has just passed. So far over £45m has been raised on just the two major fund-raising platforms. One runner gave his life, thinking more about others than himself.

Following the 2017 London marathon, in total £65m was raised by individual runners for charitable causes big and small, international and close to home. Ordinary people in extraordinary situations who felt they had to do something because the alternative was too unpalatable to contemplate.

Who wants to write about gung-ho macho men and women with a mouth full of smart-ass one-liners? Give me a #heroine every time. They are the ones with the stories worth telling.

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