Adam writing Eve … and vice versa

Kevin Brennan was previously featured on Reading Recommendations on March 20, 2014. That was how I first “met” him. We’re now following each other’s blogs and reading each other’s books.

One of his blog posts hit home with me, because it was about whether women could write successfully about a male protagonist. Painting Adam: Gimme some male protagonists written by women, posted on March 31, 2014, was a followup to an earlier post from July 10, 2013, Drawing Eve: Can male authors write female characters? Kevin had been struggling with writing a novel in the first-person voice of a woman. He makes a good point by saying, “My position is that everything revolves around character and that the character’s gender is simply part of a constellation of factors that go into the creation of a three-dimensional figure.” I agree with Kevin.

Kevin goes on to wonder whether women can write convincing male characters, and he asked, “So I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite book written by a woman that features a major male character with point-of-view duties (either first or third)?”

I reblogged Kevin’s post on my blog and offered up my book, Island in the Clouds as an example.

“Interesting blog post … My novel, Island in the Clouds, is written in first person from the perspective of a male character. Would love to hear what my readers think of how successful I was with this. Please comment below as well as on Kevin Brennan’s original blog.”

And Kevin replied, “Thanks for the reblog, Susan, and I’ll have to grab your book and put it to the test! 😱”

So I sent him a copy!

Now just imagine my absolute thrill when Kevin sent me an email yesterday that read:

I just finished reading Island in the Clouds and really enjoyed it. Vis-a-vis our discussion about men writing women and women writing men, I think Geoff came off as utterly believable and I never once came away from the page saying, “Clearly some chick wrote this guy!” If there were any small moments of confusion, it was only because he was Canadian. (Ha ha!)

Your depiction of the setting was really great. I felt like I was getting a truthful glimpse of the fabric of life there, with the exiles among the natural population. Complex. If you’ve ever read Bob Shacochis, he did similar things with his stories and at least one novel I recall, Swimming in the Volcano. (I have read both the book of short stories and the novel by Shachochis and they very much reflect real life in St. Vincent. smt)

I don’t typically read thrillers — tend to rely on movies for that experience, I guess — but I enjoyed reading yours. Am I wrong, or does it feel like the sociopathic Hermut is going to reappear in a sequel? 😉

Thanks for the opportunity to read your novel.

No, thank YOU, Kevin!! There’s nothing better than to receive comments such as yours! I’m floating on air!

And, for the record, I would say that none of my male reviewers has yet quibbled about my portrayal of Geoff in the novel. What they do disagree on, however, is which of them will be the most suitable actor to play the part of Geoff, if a film were ever to be made. Funny!

And here’s a link to my review of Kevin Brennan’s own brilliant novel, Yesterday Road!

Island in the CloudsSmall cover

4 responses

  1. I agree with JP – I would find writing from a male perspective a bit daunting. You did a great job with it!

    1. Well, now, Rachel, you didn’t do such a bad job of editing my novel, so don’t sell your own writing short!

  2. That’s wonderful feedback. I’ve only written female from female perspective, so I can’t contribute to the discussion, but I will say that writing believably from the male perspective is an intimidating prospect, though you’ve certainly got me thinking about it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, JP! For me, writing from the male perspective wasn’t something I considered before writing the book. It turned out to be the best voice in which to tell the story. The next novel is from a female’s perspective.

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