On November 8th, something wonderful happened.
No, I’m not referring to the election in the USA. I think many of us would prefer to forget about that (and I’m writing this blog BEFORE Election Day so draw your own conclusions as to what I mean…).
What I’m referring to is the publication of my latest book, Cowgirl Cat. I haven’t self-published a book in a LONNNNNNGGGGG time, but I have been working on this book for two years.
Two LONNNNNNNGGGG years.
The book is about a modern-day teenager dealing with low self-esteem in a world that places an emphasis on gadgets, popularity, and cliques. She has a humorous outlook on life as well as a passion for horses. Unfortunately, she’s into Western riding and there aren’t too many cowboys or cowgirls either, for that matter, in New Jersey. When she is given an iPhone for her birthday, it opens the door to a whole new world for her where geographical boundaries do not exist and she can follow real cowboys on social media.
There’s a big leap between writing Regency books, adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels, and a book intended for the Young Adult market (but moms will definitely get something out of Cowgirl Cat).
However, there IS a connection.
Despite all of our advances in technology and social reform, young girls are still growing up with an albatross around their necks. Image is everything and for girls who do not fit that image forced upon them by society, there are serious consequences…lifelong consequences.
Back in the early 1800s, young girls were instructed on how to behave based on the demands of society. Women were not given options for advancement. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we love Elizabeth Bennett so much. Her marriage to Mr. Darcy is improbable at best. She is, after all, not just barely tolerable but quite beneath him from the perspective of society. Yet, like the teenage heroine in my Cowgirl Cat novel, Elizabeth doesn’t always listen to those unwritten rules of society. She refuses Mr. Collins proposal, despite knowing that accepting would save her family from losing their home in the future. She speaks her mind, using verbal wit and analytical banter to establish her superiority to others. And she stands up to Lady Catherine who is the epitome of a modern-day bully on social media.
We root for Elizabeth because, in many ways, she’s fighting an uphill battle and who doesn’t love it when an underdog wins over the big, bad wolf (aka the boundaries set upon people according to social status and gender).
I like these types of stories and enjoyed writing a Young Adult novel where the same types of struggles are addressed in a similar matter. After all, so many young girls are battling the same fight as they try to find their way in the world. And not many of them have the level of self-confidence that Elizabeth Bennett had.
It’s about time that our young readers have a role model that they can relate to…one that isn’t dealing with vampires and werewolves or magicians and wizards. A real young girl who is dealing with real, relatable issues much like the issues Jane Austen wrote about in the early 1800s.