Loving on Literary Leaders: March ed.

Loving on Literary Leaders:  Women Mystery Writers

The month of March honors women’s impact in history. This month will focus on women writers/authors and their impact on history.

Or, at least, their impact on me because, hey, I’m a part of history, right?

This week, I focus on mystery writers.

Let’s start with that I absolutely adore women mystery writers!

Growing up, they were not the norm for me. It was difficult to find their books. But when I did find one, I could barely contain my excitement to crack the spine and engross myself in their stories of brave women who were defying traditions. What was different about these fictional characters were that they were complicated and individual in that they had normal problems, dealt with issues, and didn’t rely on their beauty or love to save the day. In fact, many of these characters were beautifully flawed, and their physical descriptions reflected women who were not gorgeous by society standards.

I read these books growing up in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. At that time, the popular writing trend for women was ROMANCE, ROMANCE, and more ROMANCE! It seemed that every woman in every story had to have a romantic interest. Even these mystery stories had romantic elements.  However, these characters didn’t just delve into the romance. The fictional leads worried about jobs, eating, paying bills, who to beat up, so I don’t remember these characters for the romance. I remember them because these women were being portrayed to be independent and not necessarily need men. In these stories, men were the props or the means to an end.

By reading this, you would think that I don’t love romance books. Please don’t get me wrong—I live and breathe for romance novels! But I like variety. Growing up as a black female, I’ve always felt that I did not meet the beauty standards of the 80s and 90s. And, it didn’t help that during that time many female lead characters were described as skinny, gorgeous women finding love because of their beauty. For me, what was so impactful about these mystery writers were that they were able to successfully mix romance with their character’s personalities. Women got the brass ring—they got to be themselves, solve the mystery, and get their man.

Come back next week for more Loving on Literary Readers and other blog posts about my ramblings!

Your friend in writing,

Livvy Zoe