Last week Lily Morgane of Madly Girly Geekly, a French geek girl website, posted a review of my novel Wynde. Earlier this year I did a two-part interview with the French website, which is translated into English on Lily’s site. While most of the interview focused on how fandom is changing for women, I did get a chance to discuss my novel and characters that have influenced my storytelling:
What is your favorite female character(s) ever? Why do you like her/them?
Jaina Solo, by far, has captivated my imagination. After Return of the Jedi, I had wondered about Princess Leia training to be a Jedi, and I loved Han Solo’s bold reckless nature. When I found the Expanded Universe stories with their daughter, who is a Jedi but acts a lot like her father, I was hooked. She is a great archetypal character and I learned a lot writing fan fiction about her.
You wrote your own sci-fi novel, Wynde, Can you tell us a bit about it?
After over a million words of fan fiction and tons of awards, I felt it was time to explore my own universe. I like epic stories, so that’s what I set out to write. I love war stories and historical romances, fantastical characters like Pegasus and mermaids, fighter pilots and car racing. Really when writing a story the only limitation is your imagination. Ultimately I believe I accomplished what I set out to do – Tell a story about a young woman Vespa who finds herself in the middle of a terrorist attack and makes a choice that saves many lives. But choices come with consequences and terrorism is meant to tear the fabric of its victims’ lives apart. Wynde is a heroine’s journey.
Obviously, there are traits from Jaina Solo that I enjoy playing with, but I wanted to do a superhero origin story and put it in a space opera setting. So the worldbuilding and the origin story really became key to the process. The world Prime is early in its intergalactic relationship development with a relatively new space navy program. Within the worldbuilding I also include some social and political allegory. The story can be enjoyed as a space romp or as commentary on our own situation here on Earth.
The main characters of this story are women. Do you think it is different to write female characters than the traditional male hero?
You don’t often see women working together, so I emphasized that a lot in Wynde. My fanfics were popular for many reasons, but one of them was that I incorporated teamwork into my stories. Vespa works in tandem with her best friend Gemini. Vespa’s mother, who is a high ranking world leader, is shown working side by side many other confident women. At the same time, Vespa does some of the same things you’d see from a traditionally male hero: she tries to save the day on her own, struggles with her relationship with her father, and can be an overly aggressive risk-taker.
Many of the names in Wynde are related to the elements fire, air, earth, and water. This reflects the religious beliefs and cultural differences in the society on their home planet, Prime. Many characters have two elements in their name, such as Zephyr Tames; his first name denotes moving air and his last name brings to mind the famous river Thames. By doing this I was able to show that many on Prime have moved past former biases, but that doesn’t mean everyone has…
Lily’s review was highly complimentary of Wynde. I’m glad she picked up on the social and political allegories and appreciated how the world-building is sprinkled throughout the story. I’m in the thick of weaving that world-building basket on the second book in the Fireheart Series, Sky Fall Down. In the meantime, there is no time like the present to pick up Wynde if you haven’t done so. From Lily’s concluding thoughts:
As you might have noticed, I really loved reading Wynde. It’s a great tale, full of good characters and twists in the plot, that will bring you to a new universe. If I had to find a default, it would be its length, but I think it’s because it was the first time I read such a long book in English, and given that it isn’t my first language, that might explain it. However, why would I not love this story? I has everything I love: science fiction, spacepilots, strong female characters, fascinating adventure, a great deal of suspense, villain aliens and a hint of romance. Add a few Star Wars references to this, and you got the perfect match for me. I can’t do nothing but recommending it to you. You should definitely read it, you won’t be disappointed.
Lily’s favorite character was Gemini. In the Silence in the Library’s anthology Athena’s Daughters, Gemini is the featured character in the short story “Mission Accomplished.” Not only does Athena’s Daughters include a fantastic line-up of short stories about female protagonists, it also features illustrations for each story. Here is the first artwork of a character born in my own imagination. Meet Gemini Reed.
Athena’s Daughters will be published in July 2014 and is available for pre-order now.
Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters. She also writes about Star Wars for Random House’s science fiction and fantasy blog Suvudu.com and Star Wars Insider magazine and is a contributor for Her Universe’s Year of the Fangirl. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Assembly of Geeks and RebelForce Radio Presents Fangirls Going Rogue.