Women make better heroes
I was born into an era in which the fictional hero was almost invariably male and the female lead was the client, the love interest, the damsel in distress. When I started writing thrillers, my first novel had a male first person narrator/protagonist. But John Rainwater was no hero. He rose to the occasion at the climax because he had fallen in love with the female lead, Morgana Trehane, and the villain was on the verge of killing her.
Neither of those characters could hold a candle in their capacity for violence to retired Mossad agent Roni Miller, whose life had been characterized by terrible losses and suffering, which had deprived her of her femininity and nearly the last shreds of her humanity – someone, as Rainwater says, who had become “ … too terrible to be pitied, too inhuman to be loved.”
That description could very easily be applied to Emily Kimelman’s character Sydney Rye, though perhaps with an even more tragic twist – “too terrible to be pitied, too inhuman to feel herself worthy of loving or being loved.”
Could such tragic descriptions be applied to a male character? Yes. But it would be unlikely. Men, by and large, are inherently closer to violating human norms than women. Testosterone and traditional male roles have made them accustomed to responding in kind to heartlessness and violence – certainly as characters in adventure fiction.
I really liked Morgana and Roni and the tension between them, but in the absence of their connection to Rainwater, I couldn’t see a way to use them again.
Then came the invitation to write in Emily Kimelman’s world, and the realization that my two female characters were perfect for it. Nemesis Investigations was born and, with a series of novels to perform in, the ability to have these characters evolve in depth and to add a third and contrasting female character.
Lorena Moura is, in almost every respect, their antithesis – a beautiful Afro-Brazilian girl who was raised in an affluent American home by wise and loving parents. She is as courageous and as well trained in the arts of soldiering as Morgana or Roni, but new to their violent world. As Roni says, she will have to be stronger than either of them, or that world will corrupt her or grind her to dust.
From the forgoing, you might think me a strong believer in the equality of the sexes. But I’m not. I believe that women are inherently superior to men, emotionally, psychologically and ethically. That’s why a truly villainous woman is so aberrant and abhorrent. And it makes them more interesting to write about as well.