‘SJ’, as you may know, is the author of best-selling thriller Before I Go To Sleep which was made into a film last year (we all wanted to know what Colin Firth was like!!) and his second novel, Second Life zoomed in at number five on the Sunday Times bestseller list within 3 days of being published last month! (jealous? moi?)
What you might not know, is that ‘SJ’ is a man – Steve, to be precise. Because the protagonist of Before I Go To Sleep is a woman (and, indeed, so is the lead character in his second novel), most people think ‘SJ’ must be female. He gets asked all the time about his choice of female protagonist(s). Apparently, one of the many foreign publishers who bought Before I Go To Sleep insisted on seeing a photo of ‘SJ’ – they were so convinced that the book must have been written by a woman.
Which made me think about women who write from the point of view (POV) of men. JK Rowling does a pretty good job with her detective Cormoran Strike and no-one ever questions Kate Atkinson’s ability to get into the head of her male lead character (also, coincidentally, a detective), Jackson Brodie. So, what is it about men writing from the POV of a woman? It seems rather sexist to be surprised that they can do it!
There’s an interesting article here, from The Guardian, asking the question ‘Can Men Write Good Heroines?’
I must admit, I hardly ever write from the POV of a man, just because it doesn’t occur to me to do it. I am more in-tune with women’s issues and potential problems. But perhaps I’m limiting myself! That’s it, I’m having a sex change. The next story I write, will be from the point of view of a man! And..er.. he’s going to be called Hector! Oh no, that’s too Greek-mythology/Hector’s House-ish (remember Hector’s House?).
Do any of you prefer to write as a member of the opposite sex? And, secondly, any ideas for a good hero’s name?