I’m pretending to be a woman
Not really the short skirts and makeup sort, me. No, I’ve written a book in the first person, as Amber Farrell, a Denver PI having a hard time and tangling with the hidden paranormal world in Colorado.
As I put it to my editor, I like a challenge. Why this one?
Simply put: range. If I have a male protagonist, he can be tough or he can be sensitive. Yes, I know great writers can carry it off and have tough, sensitive, credible, male protagonists. And I aspire to be able to carry it off too, one day.
In the meantime, when Amber smashes through the window, firing her gun and taking out the bad guys, you won’t (I hope) be thinking ‘more macho bullshit’. And when Amber later hugs the young girl she saved and takes comfort from it, despite knowing she will never have a daughter to hold like that, you won’t feel it’s out of character.
I’ve loved writing about Amber, exploring tough and snarky, sexy and unsubtle right alongside restrained, sensitive and hurt, with even the odd tear.
When I came out (so to speak) as the male author of a female protagonist, my friends and family were very supportive.
Some of them suggested that I could hide my gender, pretend to be Marcia rather than Mark. It was tempting, but in the end I went with some advice from Stella Duffy (if you haven’t already, go read her now):
“Be honest and concentrate on the story. Don’t pretend to be what you’re not. The story’s the important thing. Do it right and they’ll love you for it.”
I hope I did it right.