Erin Blakemore

In #litchat discussions about why people read fiction we’ve found a large group of people who claim that fiction is an escape from their real lives. They enjoy living vicariously through the characters, citing how they prefer characters who do things they dream about, but would never dare or have the opportunity to do, be or achieve in real life. Other fiction aficionados read to explore diverse cultures, bygone eras, and scintillating scenarios. No matter the reason for their fiction addition, most readers place compelling characters at the top of what makes a novel succeed. The best literary characters unfold from the pages of novels into the mindstream of public perception like icons of universal understanding, household names in the pantheon of celebrity. We quote them, we emulate them, we revere them, we discuss them as if they were real people. And yet, they are the creations of authors. Characters that sprang to life in the mind of a person with a story to tell. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss how literary characters propel ideas, shape culture and inspire people to become active protagonists in their own lives.

Joining us as guest host on Friday, July 1st is Erin Blakemore, author of The Heroine’s Bookshelf. An exploration of classic heroines and their equally admirable authors, The Heroine’s Bookshelf uses these characters to help people tap into their inner strengths and live life with intelligence and grace. Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara, Scout Finch—the literary canon is brimming with  intelligent,  feisty, never-say-die heroines and celebrated female authors. Like today’s women, they placed a premium on personality, spirituality, career, sisterhood, and family. When they were up against the wall, authors like Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott fought back—sometimes with words, sometimes with gritty actions. In this witty, informative, and  inspiring read, their stories offer much-needed literary intervention to modern readers. While the book may use female characters as examples, there is much for readers of both sexes to appreciate.

Award-winning author Blakemore learned to drool over Darcy and cry over Little Women in suburban San Diego, Calif.These days, her inner heroine loves roller derby, running her own business, and hiking in her adopted hometown of Boulder, Colo..  Erin’s debut book, The Heroine’s Bookshelf, was published by HarperCollins in October.  Learn more about the book at The Heroine’s Bookshelf.

Follow Erin Blakemore on Twitter at @heroinebook.