My latest book, SIN, the first in the Sinclair O’Malley Series, has a strong female protagonist. A question I seem to be getting quite a bit these days is, “Being a male author, what’s it like writing a female lead?” The funny thing is I don’t think I’ve answered the question the same twice. It has taken me a while to come up with what I would consider an adequate answer.
The truth is I thought that it would be easy writing the character of Sinclair O’Malley. She is a young, rather high strung, potty-mouthed, rouge FBI agent with a chip on her shoulder. What could possibly be hard about that? Everything, I discovered.
At first, she was too ‘in your face,’ then she came across as too soft, and then she was a bit too intelligent for the character. I found I had to blend the three incarnations in order to come up with the personality I was looking for. So where did I find the inspiration for the character? It ended up that I didn’t have to look any further than my own family.
I am surrounded by three generations of strong, willful, yet compassionate and loving women. My wife is an intelligent, beautiful woman who has the reasoning to find her way through most dilemmas. My daughter is a strong-willed, tell it like it is young woman in her early twenties who will put her 4 foot, eleven inch frame against anyone of any size and come out on top. She will cut you down with her wit and mind before you even have a chance to draw your ‘weapon’ of choice. And then finally there was my mother—my inspiration for all things, especially writing. Much like my daughter, she was quick-tongued, smart, sarcastic, and not to be messed with.
When I put all of their attributes and weaknesses together, stirred in the mouth of a truck driver, and baked—Sin was born: brains, sass, and unstoppable.
So to the three generations of women in my life, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for being the people you are, thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives, and thank you for coming together as ‘Sin.’ ”
Until next month,