Hey everyone! I’m finally getting things in order after the YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes! And this week, helping to get us all back into the groove of things with an all new guest post, is Joanne Levy , author of the absolutely adorable SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE. Here’s a little more about her debut:
After she’s hit by lightning at a wedding, twelve-year-old Lilah Bloom develops a new talent: she hears dead people. Among them, there’s her over-opinionated bubby Dora; a comically prissy fashion designer; and an approval-seeking clown who livens up a seance. With Bubby Dora leading the way, these and other sweetly imperfect ghosts haunt Lilah through seventh grade, and help her face her one fear: talking to and possibly going to the seventh-grade dance with her big crush, Andrew Finkel.
Ooh! Spooky. If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good ghost in my story. And now for Joanne, and a little more about her favorite female characters!
Hi Ellie! Thanks so much for having me here at your blog today. I love the sound of ZIP (and that cover is lovely) and can’t wait to get myself a copy in September!
Now, down to business. When people ask me about my favorite female characters, my mind immediately goes to Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Not only is she Canadian (like me) and does she have red hair (like me) but she’s also adopted (like me) and gets herself into a lot of scrapes and funny situations, because she’s an independent thinker who sometimes doesn’t think things through (this is not like me AT ALL—I never make stupid impulsive decisions EVER!) which makes her a flawed but amazing character that everyone (not just Canadian adopted redheads) can relate to. If you or your readers are interested, I wrote a post at The Debutante Ball about my great love for Anne, and how she is so relatable, but here I’m going to talk about how she influenced my writing.
First things first: Anne didn’t take any crap from anyone. Not from Gilbert Blythe (who really only teased her because she caught his eye) and not from the world at large. In a time when girls only wore dresses, basic education wasn’t always guaranteed and higher education for women was rare, Anne thrived and was always looking to better herself. She never would have settled, just because she was a girl. If anything, she worked even harder to prove herself to be as good (or, as the case often was, better) than anyone else, girl or boy.
Anne never let typical gender roles stop her from anything. Ever. Now, this isn’t a post about feminism, but the way things were when Anne lived, meant a lot of what she did would have been frowned upon because of how people viewed the roles of women. But the way Anne fearlessly lived her life and never let anything (except maybe herself) get in her way, has always been an inspiration to me. I don’t see myself as a girl, per se, but as a person who navigates her way through life using her brain and the tools she was given—and this is how I write my characters.
When I look at my main character, Lilah, from SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE, I see she is a strong, capable girl; she wantsto be a drummer in a band and helps out some ghosts when they come to her for assistance with their unfinished business and even saves the eighth-grade fashion show from being a total disaster. Sure, she makes mistakes sometimes, but that’s how life is, especially when you’re twelve and are learning who you are and how you fit in your own skin. But Lilah always stands up for herself and uses her brain to solve her problems. And even if she fails, she tries again and never lets anyone tell her she can’t do something, because she knows better.
That’s how Anne Shirley lived her life, how I try to live mine, and that’s how I want my characters to as well.