Girls Have To Believe They Can Kick Ass
“The most common way people give up their power is by believing they have none.” (Alice Walker).
To be sure, plenty of outside forces exist that subjugate and oppress girls, but I agree with Alice Walker when she says self-doubt is the worst culprit. When we’re brought up in a world where men continue to hold the highest offices in government, church, and the work force, it’s not hard to understand why girls often think they don’t have what it takes to kick ass.
At the beginning of my Gatekeeper’s Trilogy, The Gatekeeper’s Sons, a young adult contemporary fantasy based in Greek myth, fifteen-year-old Therese Mills believes she’s the least powerful person on the planet. Her parents have just died. Her aunt has come to live with her in her beautiful home in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, but even though this means her friends and school won’t change, Therese is ready to give up on life to join her parents. Death, known as Thanatos, has other plans.
Thanatos briefly meets Therese while she’s in a coma. Avoided by all gods and mortals because of his job, he’s shocked when she throws her arms around him and calls him lovely. He later makes a deal with his father, Hades, to go to the upperworld to win her heart. In return, Therese must agree to avenge her parents’ murder.
Throughout book one, The Gatekeeper’s Sons, Therese struggles with her feelings of ineptitude. Thanatos’s sisters, the fierce and beautiful Furies, help her hunt for the killer, but their strength and efficiency make her feel weak. She feels small and insignificant until she learns her aunt’s life is in danger. The desire to protect her loved one helps her rise above her self-pity to become the warrior she never knew she was.
In book two, The Gatekeeper’s Challenge, Therese is required to complete a set of five challenges designed by Hades, who hopes to see her fail because he’s disappointed with the way things turned out in book one. Once again, her desire to protect a loved one—this time Thanatos—pushes her past her doubts and insecurities into determined action. One by one, she faces each seemingly impossible challenge—including Ladon (the one-hundred-headed serpent), the Minotaur, and the Hydra—because it’s the only way to spare Thanatos from an eternity of torment.
The final book of the trilogy, The Gatekeeper’s Daughter (to be released December 1, 2013), once again forces Therese to look inward. All gods and goddesses serve humanity or the world in some way, and in order to remain at Thanatos’s side, she must discover her unique purpose while protecting her loved ones against forces that want to see her fail. In all three books, power isn’t something Therese derives from her environment, but something she finds within her once she believes it’s there.
To celebrate the completion of this saga, I’m holding a contest from January 1, 2013 to October 1, 2013 for my readers. Details can be found at my website at http://www.evapohler.com/contest.
Eva Pohler teaches writing and literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she lives with her husband, three children, two dogs, two rats, and a very large collection of books. She is the author of The Gatekeeper’s Trilogy and The Mystery Box.
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