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Women Talk Online

A forum for women to talk to women

Strong women characters in books inspire us

Actress Joan Hickson as Miss Marple

Have you ever thought why we like smart women detectives in crime novels? 30-year-old Laura Frank has a pretty good idea. Laura works with different publishing houses that print books on crime and romance, which she describes as good “for your heart and your brain.” We spoke to her about why a lot of women like reading crime novels and how to go about publishing your own thriller.

Women Talk Online: What kind of audience do you target?

Laura Frank: The crime sector for books is very broad, it’s a large public. Mostly we have women because women read more than men.

Why do women read more than men?


Agatha Christie

I don’t know why, it probably starts in school. Girls read more. I don’t know if it’s a social thing, perhaps boys think it’s boring to read. My younger brother says, “I can understand if you read lexica or academic books, but I don’t understand if you read for distraction or entertainment.” I don’t really know.

Why do you think women like crime novels?

I’ve been reading crime novels ever since I was 12-13 years old. I always had this feeling that I solved the crime before the detective did it. I had the illusion that I was doing something while reading. Maybe I had the feeling that I was smart. I guess you think your intellect is being challenged and you also have strong female characters in these novels.

 Could you give us an example?

Lisa Marklund is very popular right now. She’s a Swedish journalist. She’s also very strong, she knows what to do and she is assertive. And of course, we have Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.

Do you think these strong characters represent women’s desire to be strong themselves?

Yes, I feel I can rely on my intelligence if I want to do something. I don’t have to have a strong man who does everything for me. I am not a woman who wants to be rescued, instead, I am rescuing people. Women in these novels are active, they are passionate about their jobs. This is very inspiring.

Laura Frank

Laura Frank: “I am not a woman who wants to be rescued, instead, I am rescuing people.”

Basically the plot. We try to read every manuscript that comes to us. We get a sample from the best chapter and then it depends on my reaction. If I feel, yes, I find this exciting, I want to read it. If I find it interesting, I need to see if it fits into the programme of the publishing house. For example, you can’t sell a hard-boiled male thriller to an all-women audience. So it’s two things: first is my emotional reaction and second, whether it would be a good idea for my publishing company to sell this book or whether the book would be suitable for another publishing house.

Any tips for budding women authors out there?

Keep on writing, keep on trying. It is hard because we get at least five new manuscripts sent to us everyday. The best thing you can do as an author is to get someone to read your book first and also try and get to literary agencies. If a publishing house gets a recommendation from such an agent, you get more preference.

Author: Manasi Gopalakrishnan

Editor: Grahame Lucas


24.04.2014 | 12:43