Please take a moment to review Hachette Book Group's updated Privacy Policy: read the updated policy here.

International Women’s Day 2020

IWD

To celebrate International Women’s Day this Sunday, we’ve been asking some of our authors what the day means to them. 

 

 

 

Kate Fenton

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

 

There are many worlds. This day reminds me how lucky I’ve been in mine. I have always worked for and with strong, clever women, never been made to feel that my sex was any disadvantage. This isn’t true for so many others.

 

What does it mean to you to write about strong female characters in your books?

 

I write romantic fiction. But the days of fluffy girls being sneered at, then scooped up by, tall, dark, handsome brutes are surely gone. Even Disney Princesses now have to show some balls rather than just dancing at them. And I’ve a track record of writing about tall, dark, handsome and (importantly) powerful women. Who are attracted to emotionally intelligent men. And if they can’t laugh together – and at each other – they’re sunk.

 

How will you be marking International Women’s Day this year?

 

I’m a storyteller, not a political activist. So I’ll do what I do. Write.

Pre-order The Time of her Life now!

Beth O’Leary

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

 

For me, International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate and appreciate the incredible women in our lives. It’s also a day when I tend to reflect on how bloody lucky I am – and how far we still have to go before we can say all men and women are treated equally.

 

What does it mean to you to write about strong female characters in your books?

 

There are many ways to be strong, and I think we can sometimes forget that when we talk about strong female characters. As my character Leena learns in The Switch, sometimes the hardest, bravest, toughest thing to do is to stop being “the strong one” and let yourself cry. I hope my fiction celebrates all kinds of strength!

How will you be marking International Women’s Day this year?

 

I will lift my glass (/tea mug) to the women who have got me where I am today and say an enormous thank you. And I think I’ll finish off working my way through Layla F Saad’s ME AND WHITE SUPREMACY, which is a brilliant and painful reminder that women of colour are not afforded so many of the privileges I have as a white woman, and that we are all responsible for changing that.

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

The Switch is available to pre-order now!

Linda Green

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

 

It’s a day to remember all the amazing women who have helped us to make so much progress, but also a day to draw attention to all the injustices which still exist. My novel After I’ve Gone dealt with domestic violence and coercive control and in The Last Thing She Told Me, I dealt with rape and sexual abuse. These are huge issues which don’t get anywhere near enough the media and political attention they deserve.

 

What does it mean to you to write about strong female characters in your books?

 

It’s incredibly important to me to create strong female characters, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have flaws and vulnerabilities, like all of us. What matters is that they are real, relatable characters dealing with real problems. In One Moment, Kaz, a 59-year-old café worker, has cared for her younger brother Terry, who has schizophrenia, for most of his life. She is one of those unsung heroes who are all around us and who hold families together, and I like to focus on characters like that.

How will you be marking International Women’s Day this year?

 

I’m hoping to go to an International Women’s Day event in Bradford, celebrating female artists and activists, which a couple of friends are speaking at. I’ve also asked my teenage son to help my put together a digital photo montage of inspirational women. I’m a great believer that to make things better for future generations of girls and young women, we must raise young men who are keen to amplify women’s voices and celebrate their achievements too.

 

One Moment

Buy One Moment now!

 

Jill Mansell

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

 

My absolute favourite thing to do on International Women’s Day is to go on Twitter and enjoy reading all the outraged tweets from men complaining about it and demanding to know why there isn’t an International Men’s Day. To which the answer is: There is, and every year it’s held on November 19th. The comedian Richard Herring has made it his annual duty to reply to these complaining men and now raises money for charity by doing this. Everyone’s a winner!

 

What does it mean to you to write about strong female characters in your books?

 

I do like to base my books around strong women who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and do whatever it might take to improve their lives. Nothing makes me happier than being contacted by readers who tell me that my novels have inspired them to do the same – they have left unhappy marriages, moved to new places and taken new jobs. They’ve achieved happiness as a result and then thank me for giving them, via my fictional characters, the gentle push they needed – even though they did it all themselves. As an author, I can’t tell you how wonderful that feels.

How will you be marking International Women’s Day this year?

 

I wish I could say I was doing something extraordinary this International Women’s Day. In reality I shall be writing writing writing, as well as washing and drying clothes, filling and emptying the dishwasher, cooking a meal and clearing it up again and generally being an international woman. I might even put out the bins without demanding a round of applause. Which is just as well, really.

 

Buy It Started with a Secret now!

 

Sheila O’Flanagan

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

 

One of the reasons I dropped history as a subject in school was because it seemed to be written by men and about men, as though women only existed to be part of their stories. Lip service was paid to women’s lives but the focus was firmly on a world shaped by men and their achievements. Feminist movements were (and often still are) seen as disruptors of a status quo, despite the fact that the status quo has been shaped by only 50% of the population. Even now women scientists, entrepreneurs, philosophers and artists are often marginalised, so it’s important to have a day in which our talents and achievements are put centre stage.

 

What does it mean to you to write about strong female characters in your books?

 

My aim when writing a novel is to put the female character centre stage and to tell her story. Usually at the start of the book she’s at a challenging point in her life and is often emotionally vulnerable. In the face of adversity, I help her to find the inner strength that all women possess and to use that to shape her future in a positive way. One of my great joys is being contacted by readers who have identified with a particular character or plot and who have felt empowered by reading the book. At the same time, it’s important to me to write entertaining stories reflecting life. I’m not trying to preach at anyone!

How will you be marking International Women’s Day this year?

 

By remembering all the strong women in my family and knowing that there is no one way to live your life. My aunts had diverse interests, careers and families. My mum worked outside the home at a time when very few women did. Having them as role models made me feel that women were able to do whatever they chose. It gave me confidence when I began working in a very male dominated financial environment because I never thought there was any role that was closed to me.

 

Buy Her Husband’s Mistake now!