When I’m not being Nicola Vincent-Abnett, I write some genre fiction. It’s a man’s world, or at least a big chunk of it is, but I’m happy to admit that women writers might bring something else to the table. it might not be any more new and exciting than the stuff the guys bring, but... you know what? It might just be ‘other’.
I heard a woman writer of genre fiction (space opera as it happens), say that her being a woman was irrelevant and that she wouldn’t answer questions on a ‘woman’s perspective’, because there was no such thing as far as she was concerned. She was just another writer.
I think she was wrong.
I wanted to stand up and say, “That’s OK, if you want a woman’s perspective you can ask me.”
You see, some readers will pick up her books for the very reason that she is a woman, and for the very reason that she might have something new and different to say, and that reader has as much right to have his or her question answered as anyone else in the audience.
I’ve heard it said that 85% of all books are bought by women. To be fair, I don’t know what the figures are for genre fiction, but I don’t know why any writer would want to alienate any of his or, in this case, more accurately, HER audience. It’s not good for her and it’s not good for other women writers.
Gender has never been an issue for me. I have never hidden the fact that I am a woman, and, once or twice, I’ve been surprised to find my readers surprised to find that I am one. I call myself Nik Vincent when I’m writing genre fiction because that’s what my husband calls me, and always has, but you only have to Google me to know I’m a girl... there are photos and everything.
The Brontes felt they had to adopt masculine personae, and so did George Eliot, and various other women writers, but surely we’re past that. We’re past it in all forms of fiction, except perhaps for genre. We have a female Poet Laureate for goodness sake!
So, if you ever see me on a panel or you’re invited to ask questions for an interview with me, do feel free to ask about me being a woman, it’s one of the very few subjects that I actually know anything about.