Tamora Pierce on Writing Strong Women

October 14, 2007

Tamora Pierce tells Anne Strainchamps why she has devoted her career to creating strong female characters who challenge and exceed their societies' expectations of them. Her latest book is "Beka Cooper: Terrier."



Mary Fields "Stagecoach Mary", 1832-1914
A strong woman and true scoundrel.
She was the first African-American woman employed as a mail carrier, but that's not what made her infamous.
She was a notoriously tough character whose bravado, strength, daring and courage is the stuff of legend.
The following was written by her. I found it on a poster at a festival and didn't believe she was for-real. I now have it hanging in my studio for inspiration.
I am Mary Fields.
People call me "Black Mary."
People call me "Stagecoach Mary."
I live in Cascade, Tennessee.
I am six feet tall.
I weigh over two hundred pounds.
A woman of the 19th Century,
I do bold and exciting things.
I wear pants.
I smoke a big black cigar.
I drink whiskey.
I carry a pistol.
I love adventure.
I travel the country,
driving a stagecoach,
delivering the mail to distant towns.
Strong, I fight through rainstorms.
Tough, I fight through snowstorms.
I risk hurricanes and tornadoes.
I am independent.
No body tells me what to do.
No body tells me where to go.
When I'm not delivering mail,
I like to build buildings.
I like to smoke and drink in bars with the men.
I like to be rough.
I like to be rowdy.
I also like to be loving.
I like to be caring.
I like to baby sit.
I like to plant flowers and tend my garden.
I like to give away corsages and bouquets.
I like being me, Mary Fields.


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