For years, the zombie genre has been dominated by male writers. But, over recent years, female writers have been creeping in. On Goodreads, there are now 69 female zombie writers listed on the Best Female Writers of Zombie Fiction!
So why have women finally started writing zombie books? Firstly, I think it’s because women enjoy stories which place people in situations outside of their comfort zone and challenge them to be more than they ever thought they could, just as much as any man (and what situation is as challenging as a zombie apocalypse?). And secondly, I think it’s because it felt like there was a gap in the genre.
Don’t get me wrong! I love the rough and tumble of zombie fiction written by men! World War Z by Max Brooks, Day by Day Armageddon by J.L Bourne, Dead Tide by Stephen North – all kept me reading breathlessly till the wee hours of the night! But women have certain needs. You know what I mean?
Yes, folks, I’m talking about desire – the desire women have for knowing what’s going on in characters’ hearts and minds, the desire to understand the connections and feelings between people, the need to explore the meaning behind actions and events.
Men, in general, are action oriented and focused on fixing things. This tendency often shows up in their writing. Male writers of zombie stories tend to focus on the action and on getting things done, much like in life. Female writers can and do write action but, much like in life, they want to delve deeper. They add another layer by exploring in much more depth what is going on in the hearts and minds of characters.
As enjoyable as the writing scenes of action, mayhem and gore in Dead Tropics were, I also needed to write about the bonds between the characters and their inner experiences. I wanted my readers to connect with my characters so they would gasp with fear when they are in danger, weep when one was lost, and rejoice with each victory they enjoyed. It is very satisfying, for me as a writer, to receive emails from readers saying they cried over some scenes or were biting their nails in other scenes. It means I have succeeded as a writer because I want people react to the story at a visceral level.
Another difference I have noted is that male writers are often practical: having dependents would be quite cumbersome so they often kill off family members, friends and sweethearts early on in a novel in order to make sure the protagonist is free to manoeuvre. And, of course, being tough, the protagonist squashes down his pain and moves on to the next action packed chapter. Women writers may also kill off family members but, first, they will give you time to care and then they will damn well make sure you know how much the protagonist is suffering! And you can be sure they will make you suffer as well.
While I thoroughly enjoy the action and drama in male-written books (and I am not going to stop reading them any time soon), I enjoy the extra dimension and depth that I get from female writers of zombie fiction. Authors like Carrie Ryan, Rhiannon Frater Jacqueline Druga Jessica Meigs make me feel. Sometimes I curse them for what they put me through but I never leave their book unbothered. Wrung out. Devastated. Joyous. But never unscathed.
She steals the time to write by ignoring the state of the house and choosing to believe that the kids will not get up to mischief. Or, at least, burn down the house.
In the midst of a catastrophe the world has never seen before, one woman will stop at nothing to protect her family… When miners release an ancient and deadly virus, Lori, a nurse, finds herself at ground zero of a deadly battle for survival. With time running out, can she find the strength to fight an ever-increasing enemy and save her family?
SUE EDGE ONLINE
Sue is giving away ONE (1) paperback and ONE (1) ebook copy of Dead Tropics
For entry into the giveaway please answer the following poll then fill out the form below:
If you found yourself and your family in a zombie apocalypse, what type of heroine would you turn out to be?
- a) Milla Jojovich – Resident Evil
- b) Ripley – Aliens
- c) Sarah Connor – Terminator
- d) Courtney Cox – Cougar Town
- e) Lori – Walking Dead
This giveaway is International and ends 12:00am GMT 30th November 2012