I’ve been invited to the Midlands Women of the Year lunch this Friday, 9th October. Men and women alike are welcome should you care to join me! As well as meeting strong women in real life, I adore reading about them in fiction. While heroines abound, not all have a core of steel. I’d happily share a cup of tea with Jane Austen’s Lizzie Bennett, but I wouldn’t rely on her to save me from a tight spot. Here are a few fictional characters who really kick ass, though…
#1. Brienne of Tarth and #2. Arya Stark from George RR Martin’s fantasy series, Game of Thrones. Famously gory, bad things happen to practically everyone in Martin’s books. Misfortune is the making of some characters and the breaking of others, while for a few, it is simply endured. Unlike a conventional heroine, Brienne is no beauty, but her determination, physical strength and skill as a fighter enable her to hold her own among the knights of the land. Arya trains as an assassin to avenge her father’s death. Both are women you’d want firmly on your side. The alternative is too scary to contemplate.
#3. Dr Joanna Hunter in Kate Atkinson’s third Jackson Brodie detective story, When Will There Be Good News? Resourceful Dr Hunter may be the target of crime, but she’s definitely not a victim.
#4. Dagny Taggart in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is a businesswoman who runs a railroad and takes lovers on her own terms. While I find Ayn Rand’s novels lack subtlety (the heroes are intelligent and capable, the villains spineless), she firmly believed a woman could do anything a man could, and reflected that in her fiction.
#5. Terry Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax. A beacon of common sense, guile and barefaced cheek, the old witch can take care of herself and others. There’s a fabulous chapter in Witches Abroad where she turns the tables on a bunch of conmen, robbing them blind in a card game. On another occasion, she cheats Death at the same game.
#6. Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s thriller, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Salander’s tribulations, and her reaction to them, are every bit as extreme as anything George RR Martin could concoct. Although she lacks social skills after her troubled childhood, she’s a computer hacking genius. Evildoers can’t hide from her, and nor can their money.
Should you be celebrating great real-life role models at the Midlands Women of the Year lunch this Friday, do drop by to say Hi. I’ll be signing copies of my latest crime thriller, The Bride’s Trail – featuring an enigmatic heroine whose disappearance sparks off a trail across two British cities…
AA Abbott’s crime thrillers, Up In Smoke, After The Interview and The Bride’s Trail, are described by readers as “racy and pacy”, “stylish” and “funny and fast”. Grab one at a bookshop, peek inside each book on Amazon or read tasters here.