Why I Write About Women by Terry L. White

I had a comment the other day that I tend to write about women. I am not sure if this was a complaint or an accolade. I am a woman, and while some folks say a female should not even attempt to write from the male point of view – when in point of fact Stephen King proved otherwise in Rose Red and Dolores Claiburn – I am drawn to illuminating the woman’s lot.

It seems to me that there is a body of history written by half of the participants in any given era. Men go off to war and have the big adventures in their life, and when they are old, they write about the glory parts and never mention the women who stayed behind. This is right and proper, but that old saying about a good woman standing behind a successful man is true. Women do a lot – and deserve to have their stories told, no matter how humble, as part of a larger story.

I write about women because they have battled to keep their families fed, houses warm and husbands pumped up so they could slay dragons. They have brought in the harvest and rocked croupy babies. They have waited for their men to come home without fanfare and with courage, because it takes courage to make the story whole.

Six of my novels spotlight the role of women in the grand history of the Eastern Shore, a place rife with difficulty and disease, sweltering heat and isolation. I call them my Chesapeake heritage books because the women who built this place were strong and unyielding in the face of adversity and loneliness. They deserve a place in history, and because there is so little told of women in the greater tales of nation building, I have chosen to bring women and their lives into life in my tales.

Women’s histories, for the most part, remain untold in the shadows of the events that shaped the home of the brave and the land of the free, because there are few written records of their contributions. My stories may not be heroic tales in the common sense of the word, but they are stories of women who endured and thrived in the atmosphere their men left behind. And they deserve to be shared.


Terry L. White served on the board of directors for the New York Folklore Society and has published 20 titles in e-books and/or paperbacks. Learn more about Terry from her blog and her Amazon author page.


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3 thoughts on “Why I Write About Women by Terry L. White

  1. Well-said, Terry. Your work is always enjoyable and accessible to women readers. Yes, I do know you have some men fans, too. But I really love that all your readers can identify with the people who live in your books.

    None of your books are "written down". They are not plotted or planned for people who only want superficial entertainment that will distract them for an hour and be forgotten next week.

    Your books are both "literary" and "literate." But likewise they are not the kind of self-conscious "art" that takes itself so seriously the readers find the story, characters, or action obscure, convoluted, or hard to access.

    Your characters are real women. They make mistakes, learn from them, grow wise in experience and sometimes even find true love. But they are not the kind of surfacey stories that people think of when they say they are looking for romance or chicklit. Yet readers who seek those will find a world of delight in your pages, too.

    Yours are stories about strong, capable, admirable women.

    They are romantic books in the same sense that the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen wrote "romances." The women in them are real women. They have needs, hopes, dreams and they work toward them in rich, ripe, delightful prose.

  2. Thank you for the comments. I hope to continue to write, and I am glad my heroines are perceived as staunch souls who take on whatever work stands in their path. Many are modeled on real people I have known and they are the sort of woman I aspire to be. I appreciate your support. Terry

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