In my newest work, Tempered Steel, readers are introduced to a female smith named Charlaine deShandria. Purists might balk at the thought of a woman working in a traditionally male profession, but a little digging into history reveals that such a thing was not only possible but actually happened!
A book called the Holkham Bible clearly shows a woman working a forge. The story that accompanies it indicates that the smith refused to make nails for the crucifixion and so his wife made them instead. In 1435, a guild in London, called the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, noted the membership of 65 brethren and 2 sistren, which is an odd term to use these days, but still illustrates that women held that position. It was not uncommon for women to take on the role when a smith had no sons, or for a woman to take over the business on the death of her husband.
Now it was not, admittedly, all that common, but it was certainly not unknown, and even in the case of the guild, there is no mention that this representation was unusual in any way.
Fantasy is, of course, entirely up to the author, but it always nice to have a little corroboration from history.
Until next time, happy reading!
Paul Bennett, Writer of Epic Fantasy Stories.