I find that all my main female characters are between 17 and 19 when they first come into my stories. I wonder why that is, because it is an age I have not seen for over forty years. And if you ask me about today’s 17-19 year olds, I am peculiarly uninformed. I don’t know what music they like, or where they stand politically, or what they like to eat. I do know that a surprising number of them cannot walk down the street without their smart phone in front of them, typing continuously and ignoring the people they’re with. No, these are not my models for at least two of my heroines. The third is a child of this age but raised on the stories of a better world by her grandmother, a world where five species live in harmony and violence is unheard of, in theory.
I find myself in these young women, not as I was, but as I wished to be. I wanted so much to be adventurous and strong when I was that age, instead of studious and unexciting. I can live that life now in my stories, and it makes me feel young again.
I took one of these silly Facebook quizzes, that claimed to figure out my mental age, and another that claimed to be able to identify my chronological age. The result of one was 22 and of the other was 26. I don’t know which is which, and I don’t suppose it really matters since the quizzes lack any true scientific value. On the other hand, they do indicate that I got stuck somewhere back in my twenties, and maybe I am in some sense expiating that block by writing these young women I wish I could have been.