Sunday, March 08, 2015

Women's Day - Make It Happen

Women’s Day post

The theme of International Women's Day this year is "Make It Happen", an appropriate tagline for the Libby Sarjeant mystery series - and in fact for any crime series with a female protagonist - because that is what the eponymous heroine does. Not that she commits the murders, but she makes the crime solving happen.

Another thing women have made happen is the ability of adopted children to find their birth mothers and vice versa. This is one of the themes in my book Murder In The Blood, to be published in June. It frequently comes as something of a shock to young people ( I mean, under fifty!) that babies were almost forcibly removed from young women who had the temerity to “get themselves pregnant” before marriage. I love “get themselves pregnant”, don’t you? A man had nothing to do with it, then? I mean, I know we’re good, us women, but we’re not that good. So that’s another thing women Made Happen. Illegitimate birth.

These days, of course, there is no stigma and children born to unmarried parents frequently bear both surnames. Posh, eh? And, these days, women can make it happen – by going to a sperm bank or finding a willing donor – but (whisper it) the donor has to be male. But now we can live alone, or with a friend and no one cares. Well, not much. The one thing we haven’t made happen, despite all the recent legislation, is general acceptance of the same sex couple, particularly female couples. It’s legal for same sex couples to enter a civil partnership and has been for years, and more recently, they can even get married. (I’m still not sure I know the difference, but there.) But although my married male friends appear to be accepted widely, my partnered up female friends are still viewed with a certain amount of suspicion and disapprobation by the broader community and they tend to socialise among themselves. This is most definitely something women should Make Happen. Complete acceptance by everyone.

I do my tiny little bit by bringing this into my books. From the very first couple of  pages in the very first book, I introduced Peter and Harry, who have become much loved regular characters, Harry, in fact, having his own fan club (all females, incidentally). They had their civil partnership at the end of the third book in the series, with Libby as their Best Woman. Now we also have Patti, an Anglican vicar, and her friend Anne, who are forced to live apart due to Patti’s calling. I’m hoping I shall be able to rectify that situation in coming books, and now we have our very first woman Bishop (another Libby, I’m proud to say) I’m sure women will make those stuffy clerics change their stance on their own colleagues.

So what else could we make happen this year? I’m proud to have been associated with Accent Press since its inception by the indefatigable and dynamic Hazel Cushion, our Managing Director, a prime example of a woman making things happen, and along the way, I hope I’ve helped make things happen too. So I hope all of us at Accent can make things happen this year. For the company, for ourselves and for other people. I thengyew.