Episode 213: Writing Strong Female Protagonists — LIVE from ThrillerFest 2018

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

In today’s episode I bring you again live to ThrillerFest 2018! This time I’ve assembled a panel of bestselling thriller authors who all know how to write powerhouse female protagonists.

I am so excited to be speaking with Lisa Gardner, Jon Land, and Karin Slaughter, and sharing our panel discussion on the show!

As you’ll soon hear, not only do all these awesome authors craft strong female protagonists, but they know how to bring that strength to life on the page. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and I am so glad to be able to share these authors’ amazing insights with you.

So listen in as we chat about how to craft strong female protagonists that will bring readers back to your books again and again.

In this episode Lisa, Jon, Karin and I discuss:

  • The problem with writing strong female characters, and how to deal with it.
  • Crafting the interplay between your character’s internal strength and the external conflict.
  • Why growing with your character makes you a better writer.
  • The different ways of defining strength, and how to show them in your characters.
  • How our writing ripples out beyond the page.

Plus, plus all of these amazing authors’ #1 tip for writers.

About the Authors

Lisa Gardner is the #1 New York Times bestselling novelist of over a dozen thrillers.  A former research analyst with a Boston consulting firm, she now enjoys interviewing very cool investigative and forensic experts to craft even more diabolical novels.  A past winner of International Thriller Writers Best Novel of the Year for The Neighbor, as well as ITW’s Silver Bullet Award for Philanthropy, she is currently at work on her latest thriller in the mountains of New Hampshire. Her latest release Look For Me is now available. To connect with Lisa check out her website at www.LisaGardner.com, and listen to her solo episode on DIY MFA Radio at DIYMFA.com/086.

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of 44 books, including 9 titles in the critically acclaimed, award-winning Caitlin Strong series, the most recent of which, Strong to the Bone, won the 2017 American Book Fest Award for Mystery/Suspense. He recently published A Date With Murder, his first entry in the Murder She Wrote series that he’s taken over.  And last year he also teamed with ThrillerMaster Heather Graham on The Rising, the first in a groundbreaking sci-fi series. To connect with Jon check out his website at www.jonlandbooks.com.

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels Cop Town, The Good Daughter, and newest release Pieces of Her are in development for film and television. To connect with Karin check out her website at www.karinslaughter.com.

About the Books

These are all such wonderful books and we hope you’ll help support these fabulous authors. If you decide to check out one (or all!) of these, we hope you’ll do so via the Amazon affiliate links below. This means that with every purchase DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. It’s a great way to support these debut authors and DIY MFA at the same time. Thank you for being awesome!

Look For Me by Lisa Gardner

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s latest twisty thrill ride, Detective D. D. Warren and Flora Dane of Find Her, return in a race against the clock to either save a young girl’s life…or bring her to justice.

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

Strong to the Bone by Jon Land

Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong takes on a gang of neo-Nazis in Strong to the Bone.

1944: Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigates a triple murder inside a Nazi POW camp in Texas.

The Present: His daughter, fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, finds herself pursuing the killer her father never caught in the most personal case of her career―a conspiracy stretching from that Nazi POW camp to a modern-day neo-Nazi gang.

A sinister movement has emerged from the shadows of history, determined to undermine the American way of life. Its leader, Armand Fisker, has an army at his disposal, a deadly bio-weapon, and a reputation for being unbeatable. But he’s never taken on the likes of Caitlin Strong and her outlaw lover, Cort Wesley Masters.

To prevent an unspeakable cataclysm, Caitlin and Cort Wesley must win a war the world thought was over.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all…?

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them.


Link to Episode 213

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