Today we've got Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron Fey series answering a few of the topic questions for all of us. Thanks for stopping by Julie!
What qualities are heroines required to possess in order to be deemed a strong female lead?
Julie: It differs from book to book, but I think bravery, stubbornness, compassion, and not being afraid to speak up, either for herself or others.
Are heroines required to be kick ass or independent in order to be considered a strong lead?
Julie: I don't think literal ass-kicking is required (though it certainly doesn't hurt). A little independence is good, provided the heroine doesn't constantly slip into: "I don't need any of you males to protect me," mode and does something stupid because of it.
Why is it okay for the male in the story to sleep with multiple partners, but the heroine has to be virginal?
Julie: It's a cultural thing. We see a girl who sleeps around as slutty and loose, but that doesn't seem to be the same with the guy. Its certainly not fair, but I think we also like to see the guy who's never been tied down suddenly fall in love with the heroine and give up his wild ways for her.
Are tattooed, leather clad heroines overused now in books?
Julie: It certainly seems that every vampire-slaying, demon-fighting, bad-guy kicking, motorcycle-riding heroine is dressed in leather and has a Celtic tattoo across the small of her back. I'm not saying its overused, but I'd love to see a mousy little social worker in pumps and glasses take down a vampire someday.
Do you feel that there are a lot of redheads in paranormal books? If so, why is this particular hair color more popular than the rest?
Julie: Red hair is definitely popular. One, its not very common. Two, we tend to think of redheads as tough, smart-mouthed, and fiery. (When have you ever read about a shy, demure redhead?) Also, Redheads are mostly spared the dreaded "blond syndrome," where a gorgeous blond is either an airhead or a total bitch. Yes, there are a lot of blond heroines in books (my own heroine is blond); I'm just saying there are a lot of stereotypes we should think about breaking once in awhile.