Guest Post by Sara Larson, author of Defy Series
Sara Larson shares insight on how the strength and courage of her favorite literary heroines inspired the development of the main character in her Defy series, Alexa Hollen.
A lot of readers have written to tell me how much they love Alexa’s strength and courage in Defy and Ignite—and that spurred the idea to write about some of my favorite literary heroines. Bear in mind that there are definitely many more amazing heroines out there that I love, but here are some of my favorites.
One of my all-time favorite heroines of all time is Jane Eyre. She’s so quietly courageous. Her life was very hard, but she just made the best of it, no matter what got thrown at her. I also loved the dynamic between her and Mr. Rochester. I’ve had some readers tell me they thought the relationship between Alexa and Prince Damian in DEFY reminded them of theirs (but in a fantasy setting, of course)—which wasn’t on purpose, but I am highly flattered by the compliment!
Another favorite from the books I loved growing up is Beauty from BEAUTY by Robin McKinley. I always felt an affinity with Beauty, in all the retellings I’ve read and watched. I felt unattractive when I was growing up, and I was a voracious reader. I was so inspired by Beauty’s ability to see past the exterior and love someone for what was inside of them—for their heart and soul. And again, you might see unintentional echoes of that theme in the DEFY series, especially with what happens to Alexa at the end of DEFY and how that influences (or doesn’t) those around her for the rest of the series.
Another favorite is Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. Talk about a strong character! I love that Hermione is so smart and resourceful. Let’s be honest, without her, both Harry and Ron would have been toast many, many times. I adore a character that can use her brains and courage to be strong. Hermione made being a “nerd” cool—nerds can save the day, and often do in real life and fantasy.
Some more recent favorites include Karou from DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. Her story is heartbreaking but powerful. She is witty, smart, strong, and achingly broken, but still manages to keep going and going and going. How do you keep living when you keep losing all the people you love—whether to death or for other reasons? Karou will teach you how. There is a lot of loss and heartbreak in the DEFY series as well, and I only hope readers will think my characters can prove to be as resilient as Karou and those who fight alongside her for peace and freedom and happiness.
Finally, another recent favorite is Lilac LaRoux from THESE BROKEN STARS. You might think she’s just a spoiled, rich princess as the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, but you’d be wrong. There’s much more to her than that, right from the start, but when the Icarus crashes and she is stranded on a deserted planet with the only other survivor, Tarver Merendsen, you find out just how deep her strength runs. She never gives up, no matter how bad things get (and trust me, in this book, they get pretty bad). I love this book and just how brave Lilac proves to be.
So those are some of my favorite heroines from books I’ve loved throughout my life. Perhaps someday, Alexa will make someone else’s list. Wouldn’t that be something?