Thursday, May 29, 2014

Amy Raby: Writing the Nerdy Heroine

As a lifelong geek girl, I’ve always had a soft spot for nerdy heroines in romance novels. Whether she’s a gamer, or a scientist, or a computer programmer, or a fan fiction writer, I identify with the nerdy girl. So when I sat down to write the third book in my epic fantasy romance series, Prince’s Fire, I decided to write one.

The fantasy world in my series is at roughly a late 18th-century level of technology. There are no computers, no gaming conventions, no fan fiction that I’m aware of (but who knows?). There is, at least, a burgeoning science movement. But my stories in the Hearts and Thrones series always have an adventure component to them. What practical skills would a scientist heroine have that would aid her in a fantasy adventure story?

Fortunately, history gave me a lot to work with in solving that problem. Scientists and engineers have played a pivotal role in a number of military conflicts over the last couple of millenia. Consider the engineers of the Roman army, who could break into walled cities. Consider chemical inventions such as Greek fire.  Consider medieval siegecraft, the scientists of the Manhattan Project, the codebreakers at Bletchley Park. All of these are cases of science and ingenuity triumphing over military might.

For my Prince’s Fire heroine, Celeste, I chose code breaking, since that fit my story of adventure and political intrigue. She’s a mathematician and a code breaker, and in order to help her husband-to-be track down the assassins who are after his head, she’ll have to use brains rather than brawn.

Do you identify with nerdy heroines? What are some of your favorite books/movies/TV shows that feature them?

1 comment:

Liz Flaherty said...

I like nerdy because I AM nerdy. What a gorgeous cover! My favorite was in an old Muriel Jensen book called Valentine Hearts and Flowers. She was more hall monitor than nerd, but I loved her.