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Why a Man Chose to Write a Woman

January 19, 2017

Hello Lovelies, 

 

Welcome back to Andy Peloquin! (As you may recall, I read and reviewed his Dark Fantasy Blade of the

Destoyer, and he offered us a guest post on What Goes on in the Mind of A Sociopath as part of his launch for The Lament of the Fallen.)

 

Well, awesomely epic writer that he is, Andy Peloquin is releasing another book! This one is Child of the Night (And of course, I added it to my TBR) and is about a young girl who is adopted into a Thief Guild. 

 

I love Andy's writing, but wondered why he would choose to write from a female perspective (and if it was at all the same reason that I write from a man's perspective) I figured my readers would be just as interested, so he has been gracious enough to write this wonderful guest post for you. 

 

We've all heard that old adage, "Write what you know". So why the heck would I, a VERY male author, choose to write about a woman? Isn't that way outside the scope of my understanding? After all, the male and female brains are very different—everything from thought processes to motivations to reactions to attitudes to situational perceptions differ wildly.

 

But that's half the fun!

 

Men tend to have a hard time understanding women. We find ourselves confused by their actions, and we never really know what they're thinking. It's so much easier to stick with guy friends because a guy friend always speaks their mind.

 

As a male writer, it's easy to write men. Being one myself, I can understand most of what's going on in their heads most of the time. Sure, there are a few things I can't relate to, but that's where I stretch and grow not just as a writer, but also as a person.

 

But what an amazing experience to be able to put myself behind the eyes of a woman and try to see the world from her perspective!

 

Most of my favorite novels revolve around male characters. Oh, there are female characters too, but the really good ones tend to be male. I've found that there aren't too many female characters I, as a man, can relate with.

 

When I sat down to write Child of the Night Guild, I knew two things:

  1. I wanted to write the sort of female character I would enjoy reading.

  2. I wanted to experience life from the female perspective, living through my character.

To address the first concern, I made sure to write a character with flaws that most men and women could relate to. They aren't personality traits or attitudes generally perceived as "feminine", but they are simply "everyman/woman" problems. She's still very much a female, but most of the problems she faces are gender-neutral.  As a male reader, I find these problems the easiest to relate to.

 

But to address the second concern, I had to find the sort of problems women would experience in the male-centric, might-is-right world I've created. So though I kept most of her problems to be gender-neutral, I made sure that she faced problems that many of the women in the world today have to face.

I'm not going to lie, it's a VERY fine line to walk. I can't go too far in either direction, else I end up alienating an entire gender/demographic. I have to find a way to keep her femininity without giving her the "annoying" traits that make many male readers turn away from female-centric fiction. And I have to make her a realistic woman facing the sorts of problems women of that era would face to appeal to the female readers. It's about bringing the best of both worlds together into one complete, balanced character and story.

 

As an author, I'm always looking for new ways to challenge myself. The story of Ilanna has and continues to be one of the hardest for me to tell. I have to spend a lot of time researching the psychology behind the character, especially after some of the hardships she faces (no spoilers!). But doing so has helped me to not only understand my character better, but has given me a better insight into the world at large.

 

Oh, make no mistake, women remain as mystifying and confusing as ever, yet thanks to all the research and study that was required to write this story, I have a better understanding of the human mind and the "why" behind actions—now female as well as male.

 

Character Spotlight:

 

Name: Ilanna
Former Names: Viola, Seven
Born and raised in the city of Praamis, sold to the Night Guild at age eight.

Mother: Liora, deceased
Father: Girard, former chandler, current drunk
Siblings: Rose, deceased

Age at start of the story: 8
Eyes: "brown"
Hair: "black"
Skin: "fair"
Height and build: short and slim


Education: Six months of grueling training—hauling buckets, pushing wagons, picking pockets, knife practice—in the Menagerie under Master Velvet. Nine years studying with the apprentices of House Hawk, third-story burglars.


Motivations: Despite her small size, Ilanna refuses to be the weak link. She will do whatever it takes to succeed. She is loyal to her friends, has a fierce stubborn streak, and wants independence above all. She is a perfectionist who refuses to settle for anything less than the best. 

 

Traumas: Sold by her father, who blamed her for the death of her mother and baby sister. Starved, beaten, abused, pushed beyond the limits of physical endurance, multiple broken bones. Loss of identity, loss of memories of her past. 

 

Strengths: Killer with a dagger. Excels at picking locks. Grim determination to never stop trying. Deft fingers for lifting purses. Keen intellect, willingness to learn. The ability to read. 

 

Weaknesses: Smaller and weaker than the men around her. Highly competitive perfectionist. 

 

Come learn more about her story: Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

 

"They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken."

 

Viola, a child sold to pay her father's debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves' trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts. The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman's rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood. What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

 

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

 

Grab a copy of Child of the Night Guild on Amazon 

 

Are you thinking you might love Andy's writing as much as I do? Then I highly recommend that you join his mailing list. He sends a monthly short story built in the world of Voramis, and I ABSOLUTELY love getting those short stories! You can subscribe on his website Andy Peloquin

 

You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter to see all the fun he is sharing! 

Have you read any of Andy's books yet? Which one? If not, which one are you looking forward to reading? Let us know in the comments below. 

 

 

Until next time, 

 

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© 2013 MEGAN ELLIOTT