Author August: Alwyn Hamilton – 7 Spiritual Ancestors for Amani from Rebel of the Sands

To view all guest author posts so far and for a chance to win a £40 Foyles Giftcard visit the Author August Page.

 a.k.a 7 Literary Heroines who influenced the writing of Amani

alwyn-hamilton-213x3001 – Alanna from The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

I think I talk about Alanna more than I talk about Amani most days. Alanna was the first heroine I ever encountered who looked at the sexist society around her and decided to subvert it by disguising herself as a man to prove her worth. Every cross dressing heroine since, including mine, is compared to her in my mind.


2- Countess Meliara Astiar of Tlanth a.k.a Mel from Crown Duel & Court Duel by Sherwood Smith

Another Fiery Red Head on the list. Is it any wonder I desperately wanted to be a red head as a kid?

At first glance Mel couldn’t be more different than Amani, she’s born into a noble family, she had a loving upbringing, and she’s fighting for others rather than herself right off the bat.

But when you read her, well…

  • Tendency to act without thinking – Check
  • Reckless to the point that it sometimes almost gets her killed – Check
  • An Instinct to make a run for it – Check
  • Clearly Totally Clueless that someone might have a thing for her – Check


3 – Buran from Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen

This is the second cross dressing heroine on this list.  The culture Buran comes from had some influence on the world that Amani is from and so they’re definitely linked that way. But what Buran really stands out for is, like Alanna, being a girl who made a place for herself within a world that wouldn’t acknowledge her worth. She also has a few tricks up her sleeves.


249340654 – Harry Crewe aka Harimad Sol from The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Oh Harry Crewe, how I love you, let me count the ways. Ok, there’s no time to count all of them.

Apart from her desert setting that she and Amani both belong to, there is a line that always sticks with me from The Blue Sword. Where it’s mused upon by another character how proud and unwilling Harry is to show weakness. I remember reading that line and being determined to become more like her. And I think a piece of that is in every female character I have ever created, including Amani.


4 ½ – Lady Aerin from The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley

Ok honestly, when building this list it was a toss up for Robin McKinley Heroines and I couldn’t not give a shout out to Lady Aerin. She and Harry Crewe are inexorably tied in my mind and any girl who takes it upon herself to fight dragons is ok by me.


5 – Kim from Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C Wrede

Our third and final Cross dressing Heroine on this list. Kim however, holds the distinction that she’s not doing it to show her worth, she’s doing it to protect herself. The streets of 19th century London are not a safe place to be for a girl and Kim is looking out for number one. Something Amani can definitely relate to at the beginning of her journey.


5 1/2 – Princess Cimorene from The Enchanted Forrest Chronicles also by Patricia C Wrede

Ok, yes, another toss up for a pick from a certain author. Kim narrowly edged out Cimorene because of the cross dressing. But I couldn’t not give a shout out to this princess who refuses the fate of being married to someone she can’t stand, and goes off to live with dragons instead. As you do. Girls like her, taking destiny into her own hands built Amani.


6 – Mara from Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Mara was a new kind of heroine for me when I first read her. One who didn’t always do the right thing, and who isn’t always sure what the right thing is. But she figures out what and who she believes in along the way and where she belongs. She is flawed and she learns and that is the most Amani-ish thing I can think of.


7 – Katsa from Graceling

The most modern reference on this list! Every other heroine is one I read in my actual YA years but Katsa is more recent. And when I picked YA back up after university she served as an excellent reminder that girls were still kicking butt and smashing the patriarchy in YA when I started writing my own.

My personal thanks to Alwyn for taking part in Author August!

To view all guest author posts so far and for a chance to win a £40 Foyles Giftcard visit the Author August Page.

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