The Fairer Sex … who are we kidding?
Throughout history, women have often been referred to as the fairer sex. Perhaps because, more often than not, they were physically smaller and more delicate than their male counterpart. But fairer? At least, as it applies to the fairness of actions between the sexes and particularly women – I think not. If anything, I believe women are far more mysterious than their male counterparts and definitely more duplicitous, which is why I find writing about a female protagonist so much fun.
Growing up I was a tomboy. I loved to ride bikes, climb trees and play whatever games the boys were playing. And when I was a very little girl, no more than three or four, I once got punched in the chin because I tried to take a toy gun from a little boy. I doubt I deserved it, but that’s how arguments between toddlers are often solved. He ended up going home and I ended up going to the emergency room for stitches.
I remember when my father came home, my mother told him what happened and he had one piece of advice for me. If I’d been a boy, I suspect he would have told me to duck. But, being as I was a girl, he said, “Nancy, girls shouldn’t fight with boys. They need to out-smart them.”
Somehow that statement stuck with me all my life, and while I have to admit that I like reading about strong female protagonists, I find those that try to flatten their opponents in hand-to-hand combat a bit disturbing, unbelievable and not the best role model for young women. For the most part, I think physical combat, for women anyway, is a last-ditch effort. And based upon the advice dear old dad gave me, something I try never to do.
So when I sat down to write the Carol Childs Mysteries, I chose to write about a glib female reporter who believed brains beats brawn and that a microphone was more powerful than a forty-five.
Perhaps it is because of my former career in news talk radio that I saw firsthand exactly how valuable those particular traits could be.
Back 1985, serial murderer and rapist, Richard Ramirez, was terrorizing southern California neighborhoods with a spree of attacks, that earned him the name The Night Stalker. For months, the news had been carrying stories about a twenty-year-old college student who would later be convicted of killing eleven people. But when neighbors caught the serial killer, as he tried to steal two cars and assault a woman, it was because they knew who he was and banded together, like an avenging posse, overpowering him until the police could come and arrest him. I remember being in the newsroom at the time when someone called in with news of his apprehension and we carried live.
I’ve tried to use situations like this in my books. In my latest book, Without A Doubt, Carol Childs finds herself in the middle of jewelry store heist while on assignment to cover another totally unrelated story. Her coverage of the robbery attracts the attention of the perpetrator who befriends her on the air, calling in to discuss the crime and praise her for her coverage. It’s a spooky situation that leads to a string of burglaries, murder and an intensive investigation that pits Carol against those she works with and the ties of her trusted companion and boyfriend, FBI agent, Eric Langdon.
Stay Tuned for more.
What situations in your life have influenced your decisions in creating characters for the page?
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until after she retired that she was able to write fiction full-time. Much of what Silverman writes about is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce, and two standard poodles.