Last Friday, March 8th, women and men around the world celebrated gender equality, and the continued fight for inclusion, with International Women’s Day. This week on Romance Writers Weekly, I challenged our authors with this topic:
Tell us about a woman in your life that has inspired you.
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
My list of women who inspire me is a long one. It includes my mom and my daughters, authors who have broken the “stigma” of writing romance, business leaders, and more. There’s Mahala, who survived an assassination attack and who speaks often of the power of books—and women—to change the world.
Both of my grandmothers were strong and fearless women. While neither of them worked outside the home, they raised families under conditions that would break the backs of many of us nowadays.
My maternal grandmother was born in 1910 in Belgium. Her family was quite well off (thought quirky—my great-grandfather once bought a zoo) and she attended finishing school, learning to make lace, paint and other lady-like pursuits. She didn’t marry until she was thirty years old, early in World War 2, when Germany was occupying Belgium. Three of her four children were born during the war (family legend has it that my mom was born in the basement of their home during a bombing raid, with Canadians on one side and the Germans on the other). After the war, my grandparents decided to emigrate to Canada, and ended up in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The deal was they had to farm the land given them, so this well-brought up woman found herself living in a tiny house, tending cows and chickens and four children. Her family had not approved whole-heartedly of their move, so one time she sent them a photo to show that they were doing well. The only thing was, she sent a photo of the nice, big house across the road, not their own!
Born in 1911, my paternal grandmother was a twin, the oldest of thirteen surviving children, and was raised in Saskatchewan. As was natural in those days, the oldest girls were expected to care for their younger siblings, especially with so many coming after. One story I heard was she married to get away from caring for children—only to find herself having babies alongside her mother. In 1951, she traveled from Saskatchewan to Prince George, British Columbia, reuniting the family after my grandfather and the oldest sons had moved their looking for work. My grandfather worked in sawmills and lumberyards around the area, and they made frequent moves. I don't have a copy of it on hand (I need to get one!) but my favourite photo of Gramma shows her riding bareback on a rearing white horse. Her grin shines out!
What women have influenced you? I’d love to hear your stories!
Then be sure to hop over to Jenna Da Sie!
ALLEGRO COURT, Book One in the Bendixon Sisters Series, releases on March 27 - that's only two weeks away! You can pre-order it for only 99 cents (the price will go up after it comes out). All buy links are here!
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