GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Author Samantha Bryant guest post: The female Anti-hero | I Smell Sheep

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Author Samantha Bryant guest post: The female Anti-hero

I was on a panel with Samantha Bryant at ConGregate 2016. She was an interesting lady and author of a unique female superhero series: A Menopausal Superhero. She is going to talk about the female anti-hero.

I've always had a grumpy side. Even when I was a little girl, it was no secret when I didn't like something, especially if my sense of justice and fairness was offended. I may have looked like Melissa Gilbert from Little House on the Prairie on the outside, all freckles, braids, and sunny smiles, but inside, I made this face a lot:

I think that's why a lot of my favorite characters (or as I think of them: imaginary friends) get described with words like irascible, hot-tempered, fiery, edgy, sarcastic, or even surly. Characters like Wolverine, Daria (late 90s cartoon), George Jefferson, lots of people played by Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, or Barbara Stanwyck. I like it especially when the "grump" factor comes from passionate convictions and frustration at the state of the world. That crusty veneer that covers a deep compassion. Good people who take no sh*t.

It's trickier when those characters are female. If you're going to be a female curmudgeon, you have to also be funny (like Dorothy Parker level quip-tastic), or you catch a whole new type of flack that no one even throws at male curmudgeons."Unlikeable" male protagonists are antiheroes, with wounds and scars (real or psychic), but it's harder to sell a female protagonist that behaves the same way. The words used to describe those women are better applied to female dogs.

So, of course, I had to write one.

My entire superhero series comes from a curmudgeonly place in my heart--a part that is offended because superheroes (especially female ones) are all twenty-three years old, somewhere between physically fit and impossible, and single with no families. Where are the adults? The mothers? The women with large enough bodies to support those very impressive breasts?

So, meet Patricia O'Neill, 58 year old corporate executive and sometimes lizard-woman.

(artistic rendering by Charles C. Dowd)
Patricia is a very independent, self-assured woman and doesn't especially care if you like her. She wants results yesterday if not sooner and she's not afraid to take matters into her own hands to make that happen. So, in Going Through the Change, when her powers manifest and turn her carefully orchestrated life upside down, it's not easy for her to reach out for help. It's a real surprise to her when her best support comes in the form of a twenty-two year old girl foisted upon her as an intern.

Here's an excerpt from their trip to the mall to buy Patricia some clothes that can survive a transformation (it's the lead-in to a really fun super-heroic moment). The two are seated on a bench near a beauty pageant being held on the mall's mainstage.

Patricia gestured behind her with her empty smoothie cup. “God, I hate these things.”

Suzie nodded, slurping something pink through her straw. She wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and said, “I don’t know what’s worse: the old men ogling not-yet legal girls or the girls themselves, pinning all their hopes on push-up bras and makeup.”

Patricia stared at her. “I’m surprised to hear you say that.”

Suzie said, “I’m just blonde, Patricia. Not stupid.”

Patricia cringed a little. “I know you’re not stupid. At least, I know that now. But look at you.”

Suzie looked down at her bright blue skirt and pink platform sandals. “I like bright colors.” She turned to face her boss. “Listen, Patricia. This is how I look. I can’t help that any more than you can choose how you look. I was born this way. But how I look is not who I am.”

“I really underestimated you.”

“Of course you did. Everyone does. That’s part of what makes me so awesome. I’m a secret weapon.”
I love all my super-women, but Patricia speaks to that inner curmudgeon like none of the others, and it was fun to make her reveal her marshmallow insides.

How about you? Got a favorite grump? Or do you prefer idealistic heroes? (If so, let me tell you about Linda Alvarez . . . )

by Samantha Bryant
April 23, 2015
250 pages
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Going through “the change” isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for these four seemingly unrelated women, menopause brought changes none of them had ever anticipated—super-heroic changes.

Helen discovers a spark within that reignites her fire. Jessica finds that her mood is lighter, and so is her body. Patricia always had a tough hide, but now even bullets bounce off her. Linda doesn’t have trouble opening the pickle jar anymore… now that she’s a man.

When events throw the women together, they find out that they have more in common than they knew—one person has touched all their lives. The hunt for answers is on.

About the Author:
Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her secret superpower is finding lost things. When she's not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything).


  1. This series sounds AMAZING! You (and your heroines) sound right up my alley! I can't wait to check it out. Congratulations! Keep it up for those of us who aren't quite superheroine material. :D


    1. Thanks so much Heather! I hope you'll enjoy out the series.

      @mirymom1 from
      Balancing Act