Author Guest Posts

This Dark Days post is brought to us by Elizabeth Norris, author of Unraveling and the newly released sequel, Unbreakable. Meet Liz on our summer Dark Days tour!


Kickass Heroines Who Inspired Janelle

Janelle Tenner is tough. It’s partly because of how stubborn she is—she’s too determined to succeed at all costs. But it’s also because of her father and Struz. She grew up surrounded by role models who have an inner strength that she has too.

When I first started writing Unraveling and Unbreakable, I thought about what kind of character Janelle would be—what her backstory and experiences were and how they would shape her into a person who could have the world on her shoulders and still manage to save the day.

These are the kickass heroines that I love. They came before Janelle and helped inspire me. Be prepared—I love television, so these are all characters from my favorite TV shows.


1.) Veronica Mars

I am a huge Veronica Mars fan. I mean, come on, who isn’t? Kristen Bell is beyond awesome. And the writing on that show is tight and fun. I love the way the episodes each have their own mystery, and then there’s a series mystery too.

I love that Veronica is a regular teenager who has lived through some really tough situations. That and her relationship with her father (and his job) have shaped her into someone who isn’t fazed when things don’t go her way. She just figures out how to fix them.



2.) Buffy Summers

You can’t have a list of kickass heroines without including Buffy. I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer religiously when I was a teenager. The show had such high stakes, but it also had romance and real heart when it came to the character relationships. I sobbed at the end of season five (my favorite season).

I loved that Buffy in the first season was then thrust into a supernatural world that she hadn’t known existed and she had keep it secret while also saving the day. She’s tough, but she has to be smart and train in order to stay that way. Defeating the bad guy doesn’t come easy, but she works hard in order to get it done.



3.) Dana Scully

The X-Files is the first show that I ever fell in love with. My whole family would sit down and watch it (and try to ignore all of the questions that my dad asked about what was happening).

I always really admired Dr. Scully. During most of the show, especially the early seasons, she’s not as outwardly tough. She’s smart. She’s got a medical degree. She works for the FBI. But she’s more unassuming—she’s tougher than she looks. I love how she grows even stronger over the course of the series though as she gets more invested in the cases that she and Moulder are working on.



4.) Kara Thrace aka “Starbuck”

On the complete flipside is Kara Thrace (“Starbuck”) from Battlestar Galactica. There are a lot of tough characters on that show, and she’s surrounded by guys in the military, but she can hold her own with any of them.

She has issues and she needs help sometimes from her friends, but more than once she saves the day. In fact, she’s the one that everyone knows they can count on to take a risk and succeed. I also love how deep she is as a character. She’s kind of a character that shows one part of herself (the tough part) to everyone, but there’s more to her that just that.


All four of these heroines have an emotional strength that I wanted, but didn’t always have, when I was a teenager—and when I set out to write Janelle, I knew that she would have that too.