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I pour myself another mug of warm spiced wine, and set out to write a fairy tale for the dark-haired girls with pale skin, with eyes that flash retorts and laughter that is fresh and alive. For the girls who buy their own drinks, open their own doors, drive their own cars. For girls who read, who play in the sun, who won't wait uselessly to be rescued. For women who are never likened to a flower, limp and dainty things, or a summer's day - airy and light without definition when they more substance than gossamer. They define who and what they are, and are described into existence by no one.

My heroines have pens and paper. They have dark libraries and the smell of ancient paper. They have inkstains on their fingers, a clumsy fashion sense modelled loosely on the notion of warmth, and hair that seldom does what it is told. They are kind when no one is watching. They think, they ponder, they reconsider, they evaluate, they agonise. They bake a mean apple pie with healthy irony. They survive without taking and give without announcement. They revel in thunderstorms and warm days on soft grass. They try very hard to pay attention.

There is no shortage of anticlimactic twists and adventures to be had, but because she does not need to be rescued, it is difficult to envisage where she might find a space in her world for someone in shining armour to fit.