In ninety percent of Fantasy and Sci-fi books, there only ever seem to be three types of heroine:
- The one that screams a lot and needs to be rescued a lot (not very heroic, but helpless women draw the heroes to her).
- The five-foot nothing, smart sassy one, who, with a suitable quip, can kill five hundred heavily-armed and armoured six-foot deadly killers in two seconds flat.
- The muscle-bound broadsword wielding one who will happily do battle in an armoured bikini, regardless of the weather conditions or practicality.
There is nothing wrong with any of the above, and many good books include them; however, I wanted to write my female heroes as, well… real woman. So, I looked at fictional characters – such as Judy Dench’s “M” in the James Bond films, real life characters such as Margaret Thatcher, and various women that I know – to be my inspiration.
Queen Alexandra Peterson
The Early Years
Not a lot is known about the early years of Alexandra. All we really know is that she was forced into an arranged marriage at a young age to King Hamish Peterson, who once famously said, “If I can’t fight it or romance it, I’m not interested in it” (or words to that effect). Although King Hamish was not deliberately cruel or aggressive to his Queen, Alexandra felt alone and unloved in her marriage as her husband waged war, hunted, and claimed his royal prerogative on the willing women of the kingdom.
Because of her husband’s behaviour, Alexandra had a brief affair with her bodyguard, Nathanial West. As a result of that affair, she fell pregnant. Luckily, King Peterson thought Alexandra was pregnant via him and the resulting daughter, Princess Kathleen, was raised as his heir.
King Peterson then died from plague, leaving an unprepared Alexandra widowed and Kathleen seemingly fatherless.
To Be a Queen
With the death of her husband, Alexandra had to learn quickly. She was a single mother ruling a small kingdom in a violent and dangerous world. By necessity, ‘duty to daughter and realm’ became the basis of her reign as Queen, which she firmly ingrained in her daughter’s education and everyday life.
Being a widowed Queen, there were many suitors trying to claim her hand in marriage. It was while she was trying to fend off these unwanted attentions that she first showed the steel within her – by unleashing her Dev’ver bodyguard, Nathanial West, in his werewolf form upon an aggressive suitor (see the short story ‘A Mere Woman’ in Tales of Solomon Pace for full details).
Echoes of a Storm
At the start of the book ‘Echoes of a Storm’, we find Alexandra having just survived an assassination attempt on her life and the life of her daughter. This attack causes her to make a hasty decision that comes back to haunt her later on in the book.
Throughout the novel, Alexandra shrugs off her youthful ideas and becomes a powerful and confident woman, a determined Queen who can protect her daughter and kingdom from the evils of the world. This determination to protect her daughter leads to the dramatic ending of the book.
I have tried to write Alexandra as a real woman who does not need to be rescued every five minutes, does not wear skimpy outfits, and uses her assassins, armies, and generals to fight her battles, but does not shy away from using a sword or knife in defence of her daughter and kingdom.
My hope is that I have written a strong female character in a fantasy setting to whom women can relate, giving the fairer sex the respect they so richly deserve.