I’ve always loved Science Fiction, especially movies. The first film I ever saw at the cinema was Star Wars in 1978. I was seven. And I fell in love with Luke Skywalker as he watched over the dunes with the twin moons rising in the sky. You know the scene. Someday, I thought, someday I want to invent a world just like that.
My childhood was unusual. We moved every four years (something I’ve related to in my books) and so no matter how settled I ever got I always knew I would be moving on. Leaving school and best friends behind. Everything you read about in YA books – the angst, the tears, the arguments – is absolutely real. I suffered.
So my solace was Sci-Fi. To dive in deep into a world that wasn’t my own. To feel so overwhelmed with someone else’s emotion. Live with the characters. Breathe in their life and forget my own.
I spent a long time reading Sci-Fi Fantasy. My dad and brother were also readers so our house was always littered with David Eddings, Terry Brooks and Tad Williams books. But I got bored. All the main protagonists were male. All doing the same quest. Finding a sword, a chalice, a stone etc. Occasionally there’d be a love interest but nearly always a sappy, waif-like girl who needed rescuing. So I started looking for women writers. There weren’t many. Until I discovered Tamora Pierce, Mary Stewart and Diana Wynn Jones.
My world exploded. Finally, I was reading about women who were adventurers, who had guts and confidence that awed and inspired me. As a teenager the characters raised me to be a better person, to help the helpless and oppress the bullies. I think my parents noticed a difference. My boyfriends certainly started to become taller, wider in the shoulders, and not so adolescent.
What I love about women sci-fi writers is that they tell a story with more emotion. And for young teenagers or young adults who need guidance in their lives from bullies, or a bad home situation, or just living in the wrong area – the characters can lift your spirits and encourage you to overcome whatever hurdles lie in your way. It’s no good thinking that someone will come along and help you with your burdens, you have to gather your confidence and deal with whatever life throws at you.
Now I’m a Sci-Fi writer and a woman. My only hope is that I can inspire someone, maybe just one person, to be better. That will make it all worthwhile.
This article was first published on I am a Reader Blog on 28th October 2013