I am so happy to welcome Jodi McIsaac to the blog. Below her post, check out the links to the books, her website, twitter and facebook. There are also two giveaways for you to enter – one on her website and one for my blog.
After reading both books and noting the strong female MC, I asked her to talk about writing fantasy as a woman and the struggles (or not) of working in this traditionally male-dominated genre. Take it away, Jodi:
“Being a relatively new writer, I have to say that while I’m aware of the struggles of women writing in fantasy, I have yet to experience it myself. I work in my basement office by myself, and my male editor has been nothing but marvelous—so there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for discrimination. My sub-genre, urban or contemporary fantasy, is dominated by women writers such as Charlaine Harris, Diana Gabaldon, and Patricia Briggs, so there are many excellent examples to follow. But I’ve heard enough stories from other writers of sexual harassment at cons and unequal treatment of women in the industry as a whole to know to know that it is a problem—and just because I haven’t experienced it personally doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
What bothers me the most in fantasy is the way women are depicted on many book covers. Even though I love reading urban/contemporary fantasy, there are some of my colleague’s books that I refuse to read because I just can’t get past the overly-sexualized, ridiculously-contorted woman on the cover. You know which ones I’m talking about—the heroine with the halter top and tramp stamp, holding a weapon in one hand while twisting her spine so that her butt and her boobs are both showing. I just can’t get past these covers, no matter how good the words are on the inside. And don’t even get me started about cover art for epic fantasy, where the female warriors apparently don’t need any armor covering their vital organs; as long as they have a few flimsy pieces of leather or shiny gold dangling from their bodies, they’ll be juuuuuust fine.
Fortunately, I get a lot of say into the cover design for my books (which is one of the reasons I chose to go with 47North in the first place), and I very specifically told my publisher that there were to be no halter tops (I have nothing against halter tops in general, but my protagonist definitely wouldn’t wear one), no tramp stamps, and no contortionism on my covers. (I think in order to be safe they removed people from the covers altogether!) Other people have said it much better than me, but no one has said it—and shown it—better than fantasy author Jim Hines, who did a series of photos in which he attempted to pose like the women on fantasy and urban fantasy covers, with eye-opening (and muscle spasming) results.
So while I haven’t experienced any direct gender-based discrimination myself, I recognize that there is still a rather, er, twisted perception of women in fantasy, particularly when it comes to cover art. And hopefully as more people talk about it, more and more authors, publishers, and designers will stand up make the changes that need to happen.”
Jodi McIsaac is the author of the Thin Veil contemporary fantasy series, where Celtic mythology and the modern world collide. INTO THE FIRE, the second book in the series, is being released tomorrow, on November 12. You can pre-order or buy it here.
THROUGH THE DOOR (book 1): http://www.amazon.com/Through-Door-The-Thin-Veil-ebook/dp/B00AJXXA4G/
INTO THE FIRE (book 2): http://www.amazon.com/Into-Fire-The-Thin-Veil-ebook/dp/B00C1IPQTY/
Visit the author’s website at http://www.jodimcisaac.com/#!blog-tour/c1nm6 to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of INTO THE FIRE.
My giveaway for e-book copies of both books!