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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Female Warriors and Aching Heads - from the RHA Blog

This post was first published on the Random House Australia web site soon after my novel was published. I thought it might be of interest here and I will paste a couple more of my posts in the next few days.

Years ago, I wrote a series of sword and sorcery tales about a female warrior called Xanthia (the name is coincidence – this was the 1980s, well before a certain TV series). The stories, eventually published in a small fantasy magazine called Eye of Newt,
were set in a world that later became the universe of Wolfborn. When I read them aloud at my writers’ group, Sean McMullen - later a bestselling SF writer - told me firmly that if I was going to write about swordplay, I’d better learn how to do it myself.

Sean was a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, a mediaeval re-enactment club). That Sunday, he buckled me into his spare armour, plonked a heavy helmet on my head and handed me a wooden sword and shield.

Over the months, I learned – from much taller opponents – what you can’t do with a sword, at the cost of my poor head. During that time, I also saw a tiny girl charge across a tournament field and deck a huge man – so it was possible if you had the nerve.
All this made its way into Wolfborn, where Etienne, a short guy who’s no great fighter, learns to deal with much bigger opponents.
My head still aches, remembering. I know how it feels, Etienne, mate!

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