Recently, Tori read and adored Damaged Goods by Alexandra Allred. Today Alexandra is visiting Smexy!
My Love of Women
In my writings, I have many male characters I love. I’ve known some wonderful men in my life and find it easy to tap into their qualities. But my female characters drive me to write. I love them and attribute my sports background to much of it.
When I was on the U.S. women’s bobsled team in the early 90s, we were a team of eight. On paper, we were two married mothers, two lesbians, one college student and one just entering the work force, and two established career women. We were average height to tall, slight in build to very muscular, rough-and-tumble to feminine. As a group, we were religious and agnostic. We were black, white and Italian. One of us was a sleepwalker; another was quick to pick a fight. One was the team comedian; the other was the constant voice of reason. And we loved each other. We were every woman.
I remember one time while competing in Germany, a huge platter of meat with a sparse amount of potatoes and carrots was placed in the center of our dinner table. One of us was a vegetarian and without a single word, each woman stabbed a potato with her fork and plopped it on Michelle’s (the vegetarian) plate. The process was then repeated with the carrots. Then, the rest of us divvied up the unknown meat.
I remember a crash in Calgary, Canada and left another teammate with broken ribs and a bruised sternum. She was a tough, tough woman. But when she realized that she wouldn’t be able to pick up her baby when she got home, she burst into tears and we – the entire team – cried with her.
I love women. We are strong but sweet. We are determined but emotional. We are hilarious but to be taken very seriously. In short, we’re awesome. So when I read female characters who are weak and pathetic, who whine and complain, it infuriates me. This is not to say they do not exist. They do. But why highlight this?
A huge pet peeve is when women say, “You know how women are?” or “You know how petty women can be!” While my teammates and I traveled, we lived under the most stressful of circumstances. There were no creature comforts. We were sometimes four to one tiny room. We ate what we were fed. But we were sisters. We didn’t fight over men (or women), we didn’t backstab or demean each other.
While Damaged Goods is based on the real events and real people of my hometown, my fellow bobsledders are never too far from me. A former teammate and bobsled buddy reminded me about some of the games we used to play. After a long day on the track, traveling down the mountain at 80+ MPH and banging on the walls so hard your organs and head ache, you get really, really, really silly. Stupid. Thus, came the games like, “What would you do if …” Exhausted and tired but still full of competitive spirit, we would have breath holding contests, see who could stand the longest outside in the snow with almost no clothes on and torment our teammate and 5x World Powerlifting Champion with candy bars and slabs of steak.
Though my characters can be very silly, they are very real and I’m so proud to say I know them. I’ve lived and traveled, trained and suffered with them all. They are warriors, both in sport and in the community.
It is my personal hope that you will love them as much as I do!