Do you know who wrote one of the coolest heroines ever? Edmund Spenser. Britomart, the sole female knight among King Arthur's bunch (The Faerie Queene), made such an impression on me that I remember her until this day. I wouldn't be surprised if George R.R. Martin's Brienne of Tarth (the female knight in Game of Thrones) was also inspired by Britomart.
Bestselling and award-winning fantasy author Devorah Fox shares with us a medieval fantasy with women who can hold their own alongside King Bewilliam. I'm so excited that this story is among nine other amazing tales in the Daughters of Destiny boxed set.
Author Interview: Devorah Fox
Tell us about your book in the Daughters of Destiny box set. Who is the heroine, and what is she like?
In “The Redoubt,” Book Four of The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam, the formerly lost king has reclaimed his throne and restored his kingdom, but he left his heart behind in Seagate Fortress, the domain of the widowed Empress Alexandra. A powerful ruler, though bereft of her beloved husband, Empress Alexandra not only held onto her empire but expanded it. Possessed of a sharp mind and daring spirit, she succeeds at whatever she puts her mind to, be it slaying the dragons that threaten her precious forests, foraging for herbs to heal a wounded animal, crafting a magnificent island fortress from crushed shells, or rekindling a lost king’s self-esteem.
What went into creating her, and how does she interact with the other characters around her?
Admittedly, Empress Alexandra is drawn from my experience as a widow left with a business to run and a house to maintain. Empress Alexandra draws strength from her trusted advisers who are not only loyal supporters but close friends, as did I.
Do you believe it’s easier to write a female main character rather than a male one? Why?
I find it harder to write a female main character, although I did in my thriller, “Naked Came the Sharks.” I find women with brains and gumption to be interesting but our culture doesn’t offer many opportunities for such women to express their strength. The Fantasy genre is more accommodating, thus I was able to introduce King Bewilliam not only to the formidable Empress Alexandra but also Deidre, a feisty young woman. Savvy ruler that he is, he recognized Deidre’s valor and made her a knight, despite the obstacles presented by her gender.
What would you define as a “strong heroine”?
A woman becomes a heroine the same way that a man becomes a hero. Not so much because of super strength or superior fighting skills but by overcoming fear and self-doubt and applying newly discovered strengths to a worthy cause.
Name some of your personal female heroes (real or fictional).
My first heroine was Rebecca of Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe.” Hampered by her gender, her membership in a distrusted and vilified minority, she nevertheless proved herself to be brave and of high moral stands when it would have been easier simply to submit. I would say the same for suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and early leaders of the feminist movement: Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan. They all made personal sacrifices to advance a concept that they felt would benefit all humankind.
Where can readers find out more about you? Give us the details!
Daughter of Destiny Profiles
Empress Alexandra: Having lost her beloved husband and the sovereign of their domain, she soldiers on to sustain and expand the empire that they built, slaying menacing dragons and rebuffing avaricious suitors who covet her assets. “You might say I slay dragons every day.”
Dame Deidre: A self-taught warrior, Deidre vows to avenge her uncle’s wrongful death and squares off against an older, experienced, and accomplished but duplicitous knight. Her loyalty and commitment to justice earns her knighthood. “I am eager to be of service in whatever way my lord sees fit. That is, if I can have my sword back.”
Lady Alice: The wife of a humble woodworker and mother of two daughters, Alice excels at the uncelebrated art of being a mother, to everyone who needs mothering. She distinguishes herself not with fighting ability but her skill in healing animals. She employs that skill to cure King Bewilliam’s beloved cat, Meeyoo, earning Alice her ladyship title.