Feisty, bossy, or just plain leadership material?

I’ve been writing an article on female anti-heroes for Chicklish (look out for it soon, folks!) and it includes the wonderful Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts. That girl is crabby and MEAN. I love her so much.

She got me thinking about girls who know what they want, and how they’re described, and suddenly, before I knew it, I was cross. (There’s a great article called ‘I hate Strong Female Characters’ by Sophia McDougall – no relation – in the New Statesman, by the way, that I highly recommend.)

Lucy, of course, is a born leader, but you know what will happen to her? She’ll be told, by other girls and grown-ups alike, that she’s ‘bossy’. (Which, God knows, she is.) Other girls’ mothers will roll their eyes and call her ‘feisty’. Like it’s something she ought to watch.

As she hits her self-conscious teens, she’ll feel embarrassed and excluded, and she’ll tone down her behaviour to something more appropriate for her peer group. After college, she’ll become the the sterling Number Two to the big businessman who runs the show in St Paul, Minnesota.

Because nobody ever told him he was ‘feisty’ or ‘bossy’. They just kind of did what he said.



What I said earlier …

I’ve just written a News update for my website, and as it pretty much covers everything I’m up to at the moment, I thought I’d just cheat and reproduce it here. So here is something that I made earlier … (but not with sticky-backed plastic).

Fall Collection

Recently is has been Fashion Week in London, New York, Milan and Paris. All the new collections have been on show (although they haven’t been the autumn ones, obviously, because fashion works six months ahead, so as the weather gets colder the models have been striding down the catwalk in skimpy little things for spring).

Miranda Kerr modelling a summer dress by Stella - daughter of my favourite bass guitarist ...

Miranda Kerr modelling a summer dress by Stella – daughter of my favourite bass guitarist …

September and October always feel like the time for starting new projects and making things happen. I’m sure it starts at school – new year, new friends, new pencil case – and you never quite lose it. This September and October have certainly been busy in the shed.

First of all, and most excitingly, I have a new agent, Jenny Savill. Hi, Jenny! *waves*. This means I can concentrate on writing books and Jenny can think about who’s going to buy and read them. We both have four children going back to school and off to university at the moment, so we’re busy at home and work, and that’s just how we like it. I’m so looking forward to lots of long coffees with Jenny while we sort out the world.

Second, I’ve just seen the cover for my new book – the one that comes out next summer – which used to be called The Power of Peta Jones in my head, and then became The Power of Zetta Jones and is now, provisionally, called The Castle. It is on this cover, anyway, and the cover is … BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to show it to you. It’s my favourite yet, and my family’s, too. (And yes, it does have a castle on it if you look closely.)

In fact, it’s so good it’s got me working even harder on the editing, to make the story as exciting as it can be, so that’s mostly what’s going on in the shed right now.

When I’m not in the shed, or having coffee with Jenny, or ringing up Rachel at Chicken House to tell her how GREAT the new cover is, my other project is the bass guitar. This is a left-over side effect of You Don’t Know Me. Having written about the fabulousness of playing and singing in a band, I watched my husband’s guitar teacher actually do it with his band, The Mustangs, and decided I had to give it a try.

The bass guitar seemed like the easiest instrument to pick, with the fewest strings and the fewest notes to play, and it’s also funky, which is what I like. I can now play along to Cream, and Queen and The Beatles (Paul McCartney is one of the top bass guitarists ever. Who knew? Actually, loads of people, but not me, although I’ve idolised him since I was six.) Afterwards, Alex and I can play blues together. Honestly, if you don’t play in a band with your friends or family, you should. Try it today! You don’t have to be good, but will change your life, I promise.

Other things … The Look comes out in Germany today (as Der Look), so Happy Birthday, little book! In a couple of weeks, I’ll be off to the Wood Green Literary Festival with Holly Smale and CJ Daugherty – two YA writers I’ve been dying to meet for ages – so if you’re around North London on Sunday 13th October, come along in the afternoon and say hi. We’ll be waving, signing, chatting, answering questions and judging a short story competition. Loads to do! and lots of other great writers will be there.

That seems enough to be going on with. So for now, it’s back to the shed …