When we invite guests to join us on the Saturday Spotlight, we usually ask them whether they’d like to be interviewed or simply have write what they want. Most opt for an interview and we try to ask different questions but we’re always secretly excited when someone says they’ll go for free-text.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Talli Roland to the blog. Talli was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. By age 13, she’d finished her first novel and received very encouraging rejections from publishers. Talli put writing on hold to focus on athletics, achieving provincial records and becoming a Canadian university champion in the 4 × 400 meter relay. After getting her BA, she turned to writing again, earning a Masters in Journalism. A few years later, she left Canada behind and settled in London, where she now lives with her husband and their young son. Talli writes bittersweet and witty contemporary women’s fiction.
Her debut novel, The Hating Game, was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, and her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite.
Over to Talli…
I enjoy sweetness and light as much as the next gal, but sometimes it can get a tiny bit irritating to watch female characters spin in hopeless circles as they eat their way through cupcakes and trot off to buy high heels. Where are the successful, professional women who stand up for themselves and don’t fall to bits when faced with hunky men? Where are the protagonists who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, who drink whisky not spritzers, and who chow down on crisps not chocolate?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of romance and love. But I want to see a couple come together as equals, after the woman sorts out problems herself – not because the hero has swooped in, snapped his fingers and made everything fine. I want the woman to be a person in her own right; I’ve never understood the attraction of the sentiment ‘you complete me’. In our modern times, women do it all. Why shouldn’t our protagonists represent that? After all, isn’t true romance two people who don’t need each other, but who choose to share their lives because they want to?
I am sometimes surprised when reviewers deem my main characters unlikeable. Yes, my female protagonists are certainly miles from perfection, but they make firm decisions, act on them, and will do whatever it takes to get what they want. In a man, this ambition would be an admirable thing. But in a woman . . . not so much. They’re often judged as cold, unfeeling and selfish.
In the novel I’m writing now, a mother tries to reconcile her family responsibilities with the chance to pursue her dream career. It’s a dilemma I’m sure many women face: how do you juggle your own fulfillment with the needs of others – with children who hold a huge claim on your heart, too? Can women do it all? And does anyone ask that question of the husbands?
It’s been a wonderful challenge to write this character, and I’ve enjoyed watching her determination grow as she struggles to pursue her passion. She doesn’t always make the right choices, but at least she’s doing something – and by the end of the book, she’s learned more about herself along the way. She’s not willing to let her dream go easily, and I admire her for that.
Give me a woman with grit and resolve over a flaky swooning female any day.
You can find out more about Talli and her work through the following links:
Thanks for joining us today, Talli, and for a post that certainly made me smile. And also breathe a sigh of relief that my protagonist is a strong female character as described! Now I think I’ll just go and get myself a whisky, chow down on some crisps and … who am I kidding? Whiskey at this time of day? A cup of tea perhaps. Crisps sound pretty good though 😉