Sunday, 4 December 2011

Guest post: Girls Kick Butt by Sierra Dean + Giveaway

Today I am very happy to once again welcome to the blog one of my favourite UF authors Sierra Dean (author of the fantastic Secret McQueen series) who is here today to share with us her story on who inspired her to be a writer and to believe that girls can be kickass heroines saving the day and the story. Please give a warm welcome to Sierra and read on, there will be a sweet festive giveaway for yo at the end.  ;-)

Girls Kick Butt by Sierra Dean

This past week had me thinking a lot about inspiration, and what makes a young person decide they want to become an author. For me, I knew at a very early age I wanted to write, and as I grew that dream never faded. I knew the odds of it happens were astronomical, but I also knew it was the only job that could truly make me happy.

Now that I can honestly say I’m living my dream, one of the questions I’m most commonly asked by fans and bloggers is: who are your biggest inspirations? It’s a big question, because I know I’m inspired on a daily basis by the people or things around me. Anything, even the most mundane activity, can become rich, fertile fodder for the author’s brain.

But all the same, we all have inspiration in the form of other authors. Those who enchanted and enthralled us at a young age into understanding the power of the written word.

Anne McCaffrey
I, like many authors in the fantasy genre, lost a great influence when Anne McCaffrey died in November. In fact, if I look just to my right there’s a copy of Moreta only arms length away from me. It was amazing to see the writing community come together to remember an amazing woman and a true creative genius. Anne’s Pern series was, for many, a first introduction into fantasy. And more than that, it introduced girls to female heroes who weren’t just bawdy barmaids or peripheral characters. She made it possible for girls to be the heroes in a fantasy novel, and I think without that kind of inspiration the plethora of urban fantasy series with strong, kick-ass, savvy heroines simply wouldn’t exist today.

McCaffrey isn’t the only example that springs to mind. In my mid-grade years, I was obsessed with O.R. Melling’s The Hunter’s Moon. It’s the story of a young lady who is forced on a solitary journey across Ireland to save her cousin, who has been kidnapped by fairies. It showcases a brave, intelligent young woman, and I devoured it, reading the book once or twice a year in my teens.

In my later high school years, I stumbled upon Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures. Of course, at that age, the promise of tawdry sex and hunky vampires was what drew me in. I’m grateful I was introduced to my love of paranormal fiction before the Twilight era. Instead of a fragile, blank personality like Bella Swan, I got the tough as nails Anita Blake. And while my love for Hamilton’s series has dwindled over the years, I will still cite her, and specifically Guilty Pleasures for being the thing that made me love paranormal romance so much.

So when someone asks me where my inspiration comes from next time, I may have to take a bit longer to think. My inspiration comes from smart, clever girls like Hermione Granger. It comes from strong-willed, independent women like Elizabeth Bennett. I will forever find inspiration in women like Eowyn, for felling the Witch King when no man could, or in Princess Leia for risking it all to save the man she loved.

Hermione Granger
Fantasy and science fiction are truly wonderful genres. Sure, they’re meant to be worlds of fantastic creation and mythical monsters. But more than that they offer us real heroes. People we can strive to be like.

I am so grateful as a little girl I found Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, or O.R. Melling’s fantastic worlds. I’m equally grateful that J.K. Rowling will provide the same inspiration for a whole new generation of littler girls. Yes, it’s okay to be smarter than the boys. You’re allowed to be better. And yes, it’s okay for a girl to be the one who saves the day.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the inspiration of these phenomenal women. And all I can hope is that maybe, someday, some girl will pick up one of my books and realize that tough, sassy women are amazing, and maybe that same girl will decide she wants to write about these awesome ladies too.

You can reach Sierra at her website:, Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook. 

You can read my reviews of the series here: 

The Secret Guide to Dating Monsters / Something Secret This Way Comes / Secret Santa


Sierra has generously offered an ebook copy of Secret Santa, the latest instalment in the Secret McQueen series and a perfect holiday novella to a lucky commentator!

All you have to do is:

1) tell us who inspires/inspired you? Was it a family member, a celebrity, a book/movie character?
2) leave a way for me to contact you if you win (e-mail address or Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 12 December 2011.

Good luck! :-)

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