Also, if you would a chance to win a Kindle copy of both books, check out the GIVEAWAY page!
I've always harbored a bit of a rebellious streak when it comes to literary creativity. I'm hardly out there on the esoteric fringes, but I'm definitely one for pushing the envelope. That's why I'm particularly enjoying writing the Sunset Vampire Series so much.
My view on heroines in literature is somewhat different from even some of the most successful, popular, and widely-read authors in today's paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres. I can remember reading early contributors to those genres, and they each conveyed a common flavor to how strong females, particularly heroines, were presented. Women were allowed to be heroic, but they had to be paralleled by an equally strong, capable, and magnetic male lead. It was almost as if to infer, "Of course you ladies could probably save the day of your own accord, but now we won't need to resort to that because 'we alpha males' are here to lead the way and ensure that you don't get in over your heads." To me, that's kind of insulting.
Here's the way I see it: a woman can be heroic, capable, self-sufficient, and even take the lead in romance while never needing to abandon feminine, sexy, or occasionally nurturing characteristics. To me, those are all qualities that are worthy of celebrating in literature. However, I also add to the mix that a heroine can also be occasionally assertive or dominant with a male lead or love interest without seeming to be emotionally distant, jaded, or "bitchy" towards their partner. Heck, there are times where "the lady definitely knows what's best." Don't you agree?
Does that imply that, to have a strong, lead female, the male lead or partner has to be deemed emasculated or effete and thereby undesirable to readers? Hardly, I say! Indeed, I believe that a great majority of female readers can easily see that, in "the real world," the men in their lives are more appreciated when they don't try to necessarily "rule the roost" and are instead supportive, receptive, and caring in their own right. Furthermore, I venture that when heroines are paired with a reasonable alpha male, or even a capable beta male, the relationships are able to be portrayed realistically and viably.
Now, some women are possibly thinking at this point, "Yeah, I understand. However, we read fiction to escape the realism of the world around us. We want a hunky 'bad boy' of a man who will sweep us off our feet whether we ask for it or not, and then crush his lips against ours."
Fair enough. There’s certainly an enormous tidal wave of material available that has been written with that predominant theme and character development in mind. However, I believe that a fresh alternative can be just as satisfying, entertaining, and refreshing.
For another perspective, I suggest that we consult Katrina Rawlings, the lead vampire heroine in the Sunset Vampire Series.
(Jaz) Katrina, thanks for joining us today. What are your thoughts on the topic?
(Katrina) Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with who I am. I’m a woman and a vampire. Caleb is a human male, and my mate.
(Katrina) As a vampire, I’m faster, stronger, and more durable than he is. I love him, so why wouldn’t I use my enhanced abilities to protect him? But since I’m a female and he’s a male suddenly he’s a wimp because I can throw a car at someone and he can’t? What kind of warped perspective is that? How ironic that nobody thought anything unusual about Edward Cullen when he protected the very vulnerable human, Isabella Swan, in Twilight. And besides, Caleb’s not a wimp. Thanks to my training, he’s a match for most any other human who might confront him. Granted, he wasn't overly capable when we first met, and he’s still learning, but give the guy a break. He merely needed proper mentorship....from me, a skilled combatant.
(Jaz) Your point is well made.
(Katrina) Actually, isn’t it kind of retro-chauvinistic to think that a man shouldn’t need protection from a woman?
(Jaz) Actually, it would be retro-chauvinistic if a woman felt that way. I think it’s still chauvinism if a man feels that way.
*Katrina glares at Jaz*
(Jaz) I mean that respectfully, of course.
*Katrina rolls her eyes*
(Katrina) Anyway, it’s laughable that your manhood or sense of worthiness might be threatened merely by requiring my protection or for needing me to save you from a more powerful threat.
(Jaz) Well, not me, of course.
(Katrina) I was speaking of “your” metaphorically.
(Jaz) Um, certainly. Well, some readers have really panned Sunrise at Sunset because you seem very…dominant.
(Katrina) I’m a woman who, as a human, suffered the loss of her husband and two children because I was powerless to save them. I’m also a five hundred year old vampire who has spent her entire lifetime struggling to survive on her own spanning centuries when women were expected to be subservient. Do you realize there was a time in history when men used to rape or beat women who were too headstrong or opinionated? Never mind that many male vampires felt the same way. I have battled humans and vampires alike to maintain my independence and thrive, and I’ve become adept at doing both. Today, I’m not about to let anyone walk all over me -- or take the man that I love from me -- without a major fight. Yet, I can still be a loving, nurturing, and caring mate for Caleb. And he seems quite satisfied with my efforts.
(Jaz) Indeed, he does.
(Katrina) Caleb is an excellent cook, and capably irons his own shirts, too. So, now he's a sissy-boy for that, as well?
(Jaz) Um, hardly.
(Katrina) Mm-hm. I thought not.
(Jaz) You make a compelling argument, to say the least. Thanks so much for your insights on the topic.
(Katrina) Anytime, Jaz.
I certainly don’t want to be a blog-hog, so I’ll close for now. I hope that everyone has enjoyed today’s topic and has had an opportunity to gain some insight about my Sunset Vampire Series. My sincere thanks to Jennifer for the opportunity to appear on Books and Barks. I’ve had a fun time, and this is a great blog site!
Special thanks to Jaz for taking the time to stop by and guest post with us today! Hope you enjoyed it, and don’t forget to leave any questions for him in the comments below.