The leading lady in literature is nothing new. 

Jonathan Whitelaw returns with his new book, Hellcorp

Jonathan Whitelaw returns with his new book, Hellcorp

But we're living in a new time - where women are, quite rightly, taking centre stage in books, plays, TV shows, movies and so much more. 

From the Star Wars franchise to comic book heroines, generations of little girls, and boys, are now growing up with strong female role models that can swing lightsabers, out-smart bad guys and do the detective work as good as anybody else. 

As a writer, and a human being, I'm glad we're getting there - we're not there yet mind. 

In my new book - HellCorp - The Devil wants to go on holiday but is first challenged by God to solve the murder of a man who took decades to die. 

There's thrills, spills, kills and chills galore as the ever-present cosmic bad guy gets the full human treatment and is eternally p****d off at it. 

Along for the ride is Dr Jill Gideon - our human heroine who is handed the unfortunate task, almost by accident, of keeping The Devil's feet firmly on the ground. 

When I was preparing HellCorp I always knew I wanted her character to be strong, independent, fierce, everything that a 21st century woman is. 

But realistically, in the writing, she became so much more than just a bunch of adjectives. 

In Gideon I found my muse.

Here was a character who was blossoming in front of my eyes, with every page and chapter she appeared. 

Writing creations like that becomes a pleasure, a must, something that as a scribe you look forward to doing and can't wait to spend some actual time with them. 

Gideon ticked all of those boxes for me. 

And in a novel that features God and The Devil, two of the biggest egos and personalities... well, ever, crammed into the same room, I'm proud that she took the bull by the horns and made sure her voice was heard. 

She's less Jiminy Cricket, more Joan of Arc of the NHS. 

As a huge fan of Doctor Who, I've grown up on a diet of strong female leads alongside the omnipotent know-it-all. 

And I didn't want that in HellCorp.

Instead I didn't just want somebody who could match The Devil, the ancient incarnation of all evil with a bad attitude and headache, intellectually, I wanted him pitted against somebody who was his emotional and spiritual better. 

Dr Gideon is doctor working at the coalface of an NHS stretched to its limit, tasked with the impossible on a daily basis and trying her best to do right by her patients. 

She's also just out of a messy relationship, has deeper family issues and a BATHTUB in her living room. 

I like to think that Gideon handles all of this with aplomb, class and dignity. 

When you're faced with a moaning, groaning, ever complaining Devil by your side, even she finds it hard to keep up the positivity. 

And that's why I love her. 

Gideon, for me as HellCorp's writer, was and is my very small contribution to the growing perception in society that it's not all good, all of the time. 

With so much tragedy and turmoil in the world, there's an ever increasing pressure on every one of us to keep going and to conform to old stereotypes and tropes that just don't ring true anymore. 

As the hugely popular and helpful #ItsOkNotToBeOk campaign tries to promote, we are getting better at raising issues with ourselves, tackling injustices head on and trying to leave a better place for future generations than the one that we've found. 

Dr Jill Gideon is my champion, she's my hero.

She's strong, courageous and willing to stand up for everything she believes in.

Even if that means she comes face-to-face with all of The Devil's wrath, fury and penchant for forgetting who he is, where he is and that our human bodies aren't quite as robust as he thinks we are. 

Together they're up to their pitchforks in trouble. 

And I'm glad that if The Devil had anybody to keep him on the straight and narrow it's Gideon. 

After all, she's who I want to be. 

Hellcorp is out now and available to purchase on Amazon.