“Both of these books look good. Which lead character is your favorite?” asked the lady, looking up from reading the back blurbs from two of my books. We were at a rural farmers market and she’d paused at my table to talk and, thus tempted, purchase a book. She was trying to decide which of the two she wanted. A woman after my own heart, she said she demands a compelling character, or in this case, heroine.
The books in question represented my two series, one featuring Bootheney Irons, a time-traveling gunsmith, and the other China Bohannon, from my historical mystery series, available from Oak Tree Press.
I, somewhat naturally, blathered and stuttered. Asking me to voice a preference for one of my creations over another is a little like asking me which of my kids I love the best. If I had a favorite I’d rather not say so out loud.
Her question got me thinking, though. What links these two strong female characters, and what differentiates them? I made a short list and this is part of what it said.
China Bohannon: As a character in an 1890s historical, she has to act appropriately for an 1890s woman of her time and class—and yes, class matters. She has to dress, eat, and do what is proper. But China, since she intends to investigate crimes regardless of what anyone else says, also must be spunkier and sassier and braver than most of her contemporaries.
Boothenay Irons: Here’s a modern woman working in a fairly unique field. Added to that, she can do things, like time-travel, that no one else can. She’s also brash and a bit bigger than life.
Both women rebel against authority.
Both women have a strong sense of responsibility.
Both believe they can take care of themselves as well as others.
Both are loyal to their friends.
Both are unique in personality.
Both have dogs of breeds that start with a B. Briard for Boothenay, Bedlington for China.
My conclusion? I love’em both, but I’ve gotta be honest. My favorite is...wait for it...the one whose story I’m telling at the time.
Speaking of the farmers market, here’s a photo of the sign featuring the China Bohannon series I made to hang outside my booth. The Two Feet Below cover is on one side, and Three Seconds to Thunder on the other. A good many people paused for a second look at my beautiful book covers.