I was recently listening to a podcast about gender equality, and strong female characters in fiction when I first learned of the Bechdel-Wallace test, a method for evaluating the portrayal of women in fiction.
This simple gender equality baseline test asks the question whether at least two women talk to each other about something other than a man, and also asks: do at least two women have a name.
Believe it or not, only about half of all Hollywood movies supposedly meet this ridiculously simple test and of course the test calls attention to gender inequality in fiction.
I thought it would be appropriate to talk about this in relation to the sequel action thriller I just released in paperback, Targeting the Telomeres, A Thriller which not only features a strong female protagonist, Amanda Michaels, but also several other (actually named) female characters that are far from bit players. Amanda Michaels has genetically altered telomeres, which are the protective tips of cell chromosomes which control cell life-and-death. She survives a horrible jet crash in my first telomere series novel, Taming the Telomeres. A Thriller a prior #1 bestselling Amazon suspense thriller. In the final parts of my new thriller, Targeting the Telomeres, Amanda engages in a do-or-die rescue mission inside Communist China, but there are several other strong female characters, Britt Hayes, a covert CIA operative, and Liza Zhang, herself a former CIA agent, who has left the agency and occasionally takes on undercover contract work.
First of all, in both my novels Amanda is the central character, herself a complex, unpredictable heroine, but her many interactions with Britt and Liza all occurred during the daring rescue mission inside China.
No, I never thought about the Bechdel test when I wrote either of my novels, and I was thinking about it, maybe it’s because I’ve been surrounded by strong women throughout my life, I’m married to a CPA, I have a CPA daughter, I work with and against many female attorneys and I happen to have a number of relatives who are members of the LGBT community. I happened to invent a strong female character in Amanda Michaels, and maybe subconsciously dynamic women that I’ve known throughout my life have informed some of the attributes of these characters in my novels.
In one action-packed scene in my novel, Amanda Michaels, Britt Hayes and Liza Zhang all are involved in decision-making relating to the daring, desperate rescue.
Anyhow, maybe I didn’t think about it in those terms when writing scenes, but if you’re looking for strong female characters, who don’t follow old Hollywood stereotypes, check out my telomere thriller novel series, featuring Amanda Michaels.
Note: the e-book version goes on sale on Amazon September 6, 2018, currently you can get a free download of an advance reader copy of Targeting the Telomeres by clicking the link above and below the cover:
If you miss the free ebook Book Funnel promotion, Targeting will be available to download on Amazon or other bookselling sites.