S.R. Johannes: “Tough Girls in YA”

Posted January 19, 2012 by Sara | Novel Novice 3 Comments

Today, we’re delighted to host Untraceable author S.R. Johannes, here to guest blog about one of our favorite subjects … Kick Ass Heroines!

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Tough Girls in Contemporary Fiction

When I started Untraceable, the first thing I set out to do was create a strong girl MC. I feel like all the tough girls are in dystopic books and fantasy books. Then, most of the contemporary books are issue driven (suicide, rape, or chick lit/funny.) While I think there is a place for everything, I began to notice that there are not many girls who don’t revolve around boys and who are tough on their own. In this world. With no special powers.

Tough yet relatable was my first goal.

I really wanted to have a character in my book that could take care of herself, was tough yet real. I think the hardest part of creating Grace was making her tough, making her seem real and not “superhero-ish”, yet still let her be snarky and fun to where you might want to be her friend.

A lot of tough girl MCs are so tough they seem unrelatable. I wanted you to like her enough that you rooted for her even though she might not need many people.

Tough and in the real world

I also really wanted to keep Grace in a contemporary world. It was important to me to show that girls could be tough without living in a fantastical world or having special powers.

Tough on the boys

I wanted to show a girl in todays’ world who cared about more than just boys. I’m not saying boys are not important, but I think we underestimate teens. I think they think about more than that.

It was important to me that Grace has nice guys to choose from. Though one is more mysterious. At the core, they are nice guys. Both Wyn and Mo treat her with respect – neither is the “typical bad guy” we see in a lot of books today.

So to me, Grace embodies independence, loyalty, and toughness that I think we should encourage in all girls. She is a real girl in a real world.

Untraceable is a wilderness thriller available in ebook and paperback at B&N, Amazon, and other major booksellers.

S.R. Johannes lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. 

Her second book is a tween paranormal coming Jan 31st. On The Bright Side is about Gabby, a tween angel, who is forced to protect her school nemesis, now dating her crush. Instead of protecting her, she plays pranks and soon realizes what can happen when you hate someone to death. She is also part of a indie author Anthology, In His Eyes, coming Feb 14th.

Here’s where you can learn more: 


Sara | Novel Novice

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3 responses to “S.R. Johannes: “Tough Girls in YA”

  1. This was so inspiring. It reminded me why I want to write the story I do…the little details that have gotten lost as I’ve gone back and forth on plot and characters and theme and and and…

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