She Will Stand Her Ground: Annie McCann on Strong Female Characters

Strong female characters. Right now you're probably thinking about Wonder Woman and girls with guns who take names and not prisoners, but is that the only definition of a strong woman? In what other ways do female characters display strength?

I talk to several authors and book lovers about that very question.

In this interview, avid reader and blogger Annie McCann talks to me about Shazrad, the heroine of The Wrath and the Dawna modern retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights.

BELINDA: Tell us about Shazrad, what makes her strong?

The cover of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
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ANNIE: In The Wrath and The Dawn, Shazrad is a woman living in a man’s world under a tyrant boy king who takes a bride every night who does not live past Dawn. When her best friend is taken as a bride and does not live past Dawn,  she volunteers herself to be this boy king’s next bride in an attempt to avenge her friend’s death and bring justice to the bride’s before her. She’s quite headstrong and brave to face a tyrant the kingdom fears. Once inside the walls of the castle (I won’t say too much to avoid spoilers) she discovers a truth she never thought possible and the choices she makes is remarkable —just proves her courage, strength and loyalty.

BELINDA: Why is Shazrad one of your favourite strong female characters?

ANNIE: It’s the strength she shows in a time where women don’t have status and in a place ruled by a tyrant boy king everyone fears—she’s not scared to seek justice…almost like a David and Goliath story

BELINDA: What messages/examples do you think Shazrad provides readers

ANNIE: Strong sense of Independence—she shows women can be head strong and independent and intelligent enough to formulate their own opinions and make their own decisions. Also her strength and courage—not in a Badass wielding sword kind of way but her courage to stand up and seek justice as a minority against power— she’s demonstrating it’s ok to seek justice no matter who it is.

BELINDA: What traits and/or features do you think make for a great strong female character?

ANNIE: Courage. Loyalty. Independence. I like strong female characters who are not scared to stand up for what is right and be “outspoken”—not fearing to challenge the status quo

BELINDA: What types of strength would you like to see more of?

ANNIE: Rather than seeing more kick ass kind of characters I like to see strong women with intellect and courage—knowledge is a strength.

BELINDA: Who are some of your favourite strong female characters?

ANNIE: Next to Shazrad? I like Eleanor from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell as she shows a different kind of strength in the way she deals with her family and socio-economic issues throughout the story. I also like Sophie from Hate is such a strong Word by Sarah Ayoub. Sophie is growing up in Australia but trapped between 2 cultures, her family traditions and expectations of her peers, but regardless of what she has to deal with, she’s still strong enough to make her own decisions—she will stand her ground and was never scared to speak her mind and to go against the majority when she knew what they were doing was wrong. It’s the kind of code I try to live by myself 🙂

About Annie McCann

Annie McCann on a Sydney ferry,
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Annie is a blogger and the founder of Read3r’z Re-Vu network of readers based in Sydney. She loves YA and is a life-long Michael Jackson fan. When she’s not reading or blogging you can find her watching box sets of the Big Bang Theory, Grimm, Friends or The Three Stooges.

You can connect with Annie via her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of darkday. Used with a Creative Commons license.

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