Engendered Thoughts

When I was preparing the notes for the cover art of my book there was some thought put in to whether or not I would keep my full name: Corissa Baker. I had debated going with CK Baker, or C. Baker, or c. k. Baker, et cetera. First I will explain why, then it will be clear why I decided to go with my full name.

There could be some assumptions about content given that my book, The Shadow of Dracula; Harker’s Inheritance is a story of vampires and involves a love story (though not between humans and vampires!). The assumptions being that it will be nothing more than trite romance and gushy, over-played emotions. The reason for these assumption? I am a woman.

The is a long history of woman writers not just being perceived as fluff writers but even being writers of over-played romance novels. First things first, that is not a problem in and of itself. There are plenty of male counterparts to this type of writing, which has plenty of reader in its market. But the problem is that is it assumed that any female writer, and especially of supernatural/horror novels, will only be interested in the gushy romance of the story.

A female written novel will have a hard time being respected. This is in part of the actual reality of a saturated market (think Stephaine Meyer, and even Anne Rice). However, when the focus has been on research and quality, a female author like myself has to find a marketing strategy to overcome these negative connotations (of female author of a non-biographical novel).

Think JK Rowling. She chose to avoid this inevitable struggle to stand out and let the work speak for itself, rather than dealing with a slanted perspective regarding her gender. It was a great move and now readers may be more aware that women writers are, shockingly (and I mean that sarcastically) capable of well-developed characters and detailed plots. These stories can be striking and multifaceted in their contributions to entertainment and society at large.

Now, I realize I’m saying all this and risking annoying people. So please understand that I, myself, am not a soap-box shouting femi-nazi (as the slang goes). I am, however, very aware – acutely so – of the limitation my gender has put around me. To go into the details of this would go on much longer than I’m intending with this blog. I also admit that this must be read as an opinion piece given that I am not citing any sources to back up my claims. But. If you will take my word on this, please do believe that I know what I am talking about.

While this world has progressed a lot, it is nowhere near close to equal in this area. Yet I have chosen the tough path. I have chosen to be identified, upfront, as a female writer. And proudly so. Because I know the quality of book. I know the dedication to consistency and character development I have in all my writing. So I am willing to push through all the assumptions that may be made about my book, because I know that it will speak for itself. And I will be forever grateful to those who read it first, disregarding any negative connotations that may come with being a “female author of a vampire novel.”

I am Corissa Baker, author of The Shadow of Dracula; Harker’s Inheritance. And I will let my novel speak for itself. The respect will follow.

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One Comment

  1. I have to let go of all the bad things I think people will say and assume every day even to get one foot in front of the other—so I can totally appreciate it when you say:

    “I am Corissa Baker, author of The Shadow of Dracula; Harker’s Inheritance. And I will let my novel speak for itself. The respect will follow.”

    Good for you, Corissa. I totally am behind that!

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