Mystery and fantasy writing

Archive for May, 2013

The Series Appeal

I have always liked a strong woman character who comes to the rescue. I can trace this back to when I first saw “The Avengers.” Those of you of a certain age will remember the clever British spy adventure about “top professional” John Steed and his partner, “talented amateur,” Mrs. Emma Peel. Every week, Steed will announce, “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed,” and off they would go to tackle eccentric inventors, robots, and crazed villains of all kinds. Steed wore a proper Englishman’s suit and bowler hat and carried an umbrella that doubled as a weapon, and Mrs. Peel, played by the very attractive Diana Rigg, wore tight cat suits and could karate chop the hell out of anyone who messed with her. But that wasn’t all. In an amazing and exciting way—to me, anyway—she was always rescuing Steed. Up until then, there hadn’t been a TV show that featured a tough yet beautiful woman who could protect herself and her male partner. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Which brings me to the Foreigner series by C.K. Cherryh. Bren Cameron is the only human allowed on the atevi part of the world and the only one fluent enough in the atevi language to translate for the leader. In the ever-shifting political atevi society, high ranking officials have bodyguards, and Bren has two, a father daughter team, Banichi and Jago. Throughout all the adventures, take-overs, trips to space, alien contact, and the pranks and schemes of the leader’s mischievous young son, Jago is there to protect Bren in her extremely efficient fashion. They also have a clandestine love affair.
I liked this series so much, I couldn’t wait to read Cherryh’s other books, of which there are many, including one of her most famous, Downbelow Station. But I found to my surprise that I couldn’t get into them. Now, this is certainly not the fault of Cherryh, who is a fantastic writer with an unbelievable output. I think because I like the Foreigner series so much, I want to read more about those characters, and that’s that.
Through no planning on my part, I’ve ended up with two different series, the Madeline Maclin Mystery series, which is written from a female point of view, and the Grace Street Mysteries, which is written from a male point of view. Some readers will like one better than the other, and that’s okay. One set of characters will resonate with one person, but not another. You can’t please everyone. I’m happy when a reader likes anything I’ve written. If you do, thank you! If you don’t, may I recommend the Foreigner series by C.K. Cherryh?

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