Today the Heart of Stone blog tour is stopping off at The Madhouse, after calling in at Nayu's Reading Corner here yesterday. Look out for my review of the book coming up in a moment, as well as a giveaway where you can win both of the Verity Gallant books, but before that, without further ado, I'm very excited to share an exclusive guest post with you from the author herself. I asked Melanie to explain why she thought it was important to create a strong female lead character for her books. Here's what she said.
Verity as a strong female lead character
This month sees the publication of my second children’s novel, Heart of Stone, the follow-up to Mistress of the Storm. Both books are adventure-mysteries, and both feature a young girl called Verity Gallant and her friends.
Verity would be extremely surprised to hear herself being described as a strong female lead character. And certainly I didn’t set out with a plan to make her that. To be honest, I originally wanted her to be more of an anti-hero (and I still feel that Henry is the scene-stealer).
But it’s wonderful that people do seem to warm to Verity (thank you very much). So after getting this topic, and thinking about it for a while, I thought I’d tell you about the things that make me love her, why I think she’s strong (but still human) and why she deserves to be a lead character (group hug for Verity).
1. She’s a bit dumpy
Verity isn’t as overweight as she thinks she is, but she’s not some slender nymph either. Yes, I know that beautiful people have problems too, but let’s face it: they’re a bit annoying aren’t they?
2. She knows what it’s like to feel lonely
I don’t know if you’ve ever changed school, moved to a new town or switched jobs only to find that, well, you just don’t fit in very well but if you have then you know how horrible it can be. Verity’s had that her whole life, until she meets Henry. Maybe I’m a dreadful old witch but I find people who’ve always been popular a bit less sympathetic.
3. She usually thinks of something clever to say …when it’s too late
Verity doesn’t get a lot of snappy rejoinders; in fact she often ends up saying completely the wrong thing. But some of my friends’ funniest stories are the ones where they do exactly the same. And it makes me love them all the more for it.
4. She can be a bit stroppy
Verity isn’t averse to a good old storm-off-down-the-street-in-tears. But who hasn’t done that in their time? You can’t warm to someone who hasn’t made a complete idiot of themselves at some point.
5. Her heart is in the right place
Verity might feel a bit pushed out when she discovers her mum is having a new baby, or worry that she’ll never be as pretty or popular as her sister Poppy, but she is also the kind of sister who’ll race through a squall to save her family. Which is a good quality to have when you’re a heroine.
6. Henry loves her
Henry can see all the good and bad in Verity and he loves her anyway. And I wonder if, secretly, that’s the bit that speaks to us all. Because isn’t that what everyone wants?
I think where Verity comes into her own is that she’s basically just a normal girl trying to deal with things like wanting to fit in, coping with change and discovering what it feels like to fall in love. She’s strong sometimes, yes, but she can also be hurt, loving, angry or just plain confused: exactly like the rest of us …well, mostly like the rest of us (no one wants a grandmother like Verity’s).
To find out more about Verity Gallant, Mistress of the Storm or Heart of Stone please go to www.veritygallant.co.uk for sample chapters and trailers.
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