World-building in YA Feminist Fantasy Fiction

Two days ago, Saturday, August 29, was independent bookstore day. On this day, I got the excellent opportunity to attend a webinar in which three authors, Kat Cho (Wicked Fox), Rena Barron (Kingdom of Souls) and Rebecca Kim Wells (Shatter the Sky) spoke about their YA feminist fantasy novels!

I got to hear these authors talk about the strong female characters in their books, how these characters became who they are, why it was so important to have strong female characters who are challenging society’s rules in books.

Now I, unfortunately, have never read any of these three books, though I hope to very soon. Still, this was an amazing chance to see authors talk about their books and all the amazing things that they’ve written. Now, let’s dive deeper into what they were actually talking about.

One of the most interesting things that these authors spoke about, I believe, was their characters’ anger. Kat Cho’s answer especially stood out to me. Her book, Wicked Fox, is about a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who has to eat the energy of men to stay alive. Cho talks about how in Korean myths, where the story of the gumiho exists, all gumihos are women and they are all wicked. They were something to fear, because they literally fed off of men and they were strong women. Cho talked about how men were the ones who wrote these stories – men were, generally, the ones who wrote all of history – so it was men who made the women ‘wicked’ – who needed to be punished for their ‘wickedness’. Therefore, women had a reason to be angry. Another one of the three authors spoke on how women were, throughout history in a typical man’s opinion, supposed to be quiet, timid, out of the way. They aren’t supposed to get angry. Usually, and sometimes because of this, though, the anger is justified.

Near the end of the webinar, the authors spoke on giving advice to aspiring authors. Their advice was quite simple and something that anyone wanting to be an author should take! The first piece of advice is that WRITING IS HARD. No one thinks that it is easy, it is even hard for published authors. But you just have to keep at it. Also, you cannot compare your book to anyone else’s. What you are writing is your own project and it is unique from anyone else.

Have you read any of these three books? What did you think of the characters and the books in general? Talk about these books and this webinar in the comments!