When I was a child I loved, and I still love, stories of women and girls triumphing over adversity. Books like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women were among my favorites. I have also always loved adventure and fantasy stories. As a young girl, I read and reread Treasure Island, The Hobbit, Gulliver’s Travels, and other epic tales.
As I got older, I realized there was little overlap in adventure stories and female-centric stories. I started to wonder why women weren’t going on adventures. In the stories I read about women, they reached adulthood, got married, and that was it. That was the end of their story. If a woman was present in the story, it was not her story, she was the one being rescued and/or she was a love interest to be won at the end of the grand and perilous journey.
I wanted to read about girls, and later women, like myself. I wanted a female in science fiction and fantasy stories, as the hero, as the main character, and as someone fierce and real. So, I started writing those stories. When I was young, writing women wasn’t revolutionary feminism; it was natural to write main characters the same gender as myself.
When I reached adulthood, I had another realization: even when the main character of a fantasy or sci-fi is female, she’s almost always a girl or a teenager. There were hardly any adult women going on fantastic adventures, and there was no similar shortage of adult men fighting their way through far-off galaxies and exotic landscapes.
In the past few decades, there has been a reversal of this men-and-girls-only trend, but we still have a long way to go. When I’m asked in interviews why I write so many women characters, I always answer “women are fifty percent of the population, so they should be having fifty percent of the fantastic adventures.”