Hear me out, Nights of Passion Readers, I’m going out of the box today.
I picked up the Life and Death, Twilight Reimagined audiobook from the library. This post isn’t really about the book, but about my shock at familiar characters in unfamiliar gender roles.
(May contain spoilers ahead)
Listen, I have no shame. I loved Twilight. But, it’s been ten years. I’m no longer sitting in the bar on my 21st birthday with a martini in one hand and the Twilight hardcover in the other. Now, I’m listening to the audiobook on my library app looking up mortgage rates and thinking about filing taxes. It’s a different life now.
My first impressions: I love that immediately we’re hit with a female surgeon and several physically strong female vampires (the Cullen family), along with another female (human) who likes to fix cars. The males are in more emotional roles, like our hero, Beau (who replaced Bella).
I caught myself being annoyed that Beau was actually showing emotion. (Uncool, Heather. Uncool.)
For example: There’s a scene where Beau isn’t hungry during lunch because he’s upset that Edith (heroine) wasn’t in school that day. I found myself super annoyed at Beau’s whiny behavior. But when I read about a female doing the same thing (which millions of us did), I identified with her and didn’t think twice about it.
So why is it I can identify with a female character whose emotion affects her appetite, but not a male character? While I’m only guessing, I bet it goes hand in hand with the “guys don’t feel emotion strongly” lie that I’ve heard my entire life. -10 points for me.
Listening to this book was incredibly eye opening. Was it perfect? No. Did it slap me upside the head? Yes, yes it did.
As a romance writer and reader, I found myself shocked at my own reactions to strong females and emotive males. Even though I sit here and preach that I want to write male characters who can show emotion and female characters who aren’t in traditional roles or have traditional hobbies, do I do it? Do I dare do it to this extent?
This is a risk that Stephanie Meyer could afford to take. After all, even if she doesn’t make another cent from this franchise, she can still feed her family and keep a roof over their heads. But what about the rest of us?
What happens when we write a book that we can’t sell because it’s too different?
Yet, the fact that I just wrote the above sentence is the reason we need to write and read books that break the gender roles, that break through the stereotypes. We need to take the risk.
Let’s write outside the box and see what happens.
Did you know:
On this day in 1985, “We Are the World” is recorded by supergroup USA for Africa (Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and other pop stars)
Wishing You Laughter & Good Books,
Bold. Bewitching. Breathtaking.
Author of The Lynch Brothers Series
Be careful what you wish for…
Hunting Witch Hazel: Spring 2016
Threat of Raine: Spring 2016
Rosemary for Remembrance: Spring 2016