I conceive my tales of corporate crime featuring women in dynamic careers by identifying some aspect that differentiates them from men placed in similar situations. This isn’t a sexist point-of-view, rather a celebration of those characteristics women bring to their business lives.
As I do with all my novels, while developing my novel, ASAP –as soon as possible-, the second in my series on business women today, I immerse myself in the daily life of my protagonist. In this case it is a woman who is the co-founder of a technology company, the mother of a preteen son and daughter and wife of a Wall Street attorney. Then I wondered what would happen if I thrust her organized fast-paced schedule into warp speed with the threat of having her company’s proprietary technology stolen.
This analysis enabled me to incorporate the following characteristics as threads around which the story unfolds. While these are generalities, fortunately changing as more women continue their careers after marriage, they are still prevalent in the business world.
Work and Family Life - Men go home to their families. Women integrate work and families into their business life.
Schedules – Men tend to set them. Women tend to be ruled by them.
Problem Solving - Where men take a problem and look for a fast resolution, women will often take added time to research and revise their solution…differing approaches to problem solving.
Team Work - Usually there is an easy camaraderie among men who tend to work together as a team. Women tend to consult others but work in a bit more independent fashion.
Priorities - Women always have their family members in the back of their minds. When a child gets sick at school, it is the mother who gets the call from the nurse. Or, a husband calls and says he is going to be late and can’t be home for dinner with the children. It is the wife who picks up the slack. Or, a parent who calls needing attention. It is usually the woman who takes the call.
Personal Goals – Along with women being dedicated to their careers, they want to be the perfect wife and mother which leaves them little time to look after their own personal needs such as weekly hair appointments, manicures, shopping to maintain their corporate wardrobe. Or, to spend a few enjoyable hours with longtime girlfriends. Hence the hairstyle may be more flexible in length, nail polish pale so as not to show chips, and clothes streamlined avoiding the need to spend valuable time shopping for the latest colors or fashions.
As the adage goes, write what you know. These observations have been made during an active career in public relations. While the field is generally kinder to women, it is still a business with its own unique culture. Recognizing that no two people or businesses are alike, I have found enough differences to showcase women in their full complexity of talents and skills in each of my corporate crime novels where women balance dynamic careers with personal responsibilities.