I got two questions/ponderings.

1. I was talking to my mom the other day about my book, and she half-jokingly suggested I made one of my characters a girl, for two reasons. To me it was fully a joke, because I cannot imagine it working like, ever. Not compatible in my brain. But I wonder - are others the same? Or could you turn your boys into girls or girls into boys and carry on with the story?

2. When you read a novel, do you need a character your own gender to empathize with that's either the main character, or their closest friend/lover/co-worker? Do you lose interest/detach emotionally/stop caring if that's not the case?

I bolded that one part, because in the discussion we had, other characters didn't matter - there are plenty of women that are very important to the story and got their own stuff going on. Think of it more from the MC focus standpoint.

I've read a review for a book of someone I know recently, that stated it was great that both genders had one main character to emphasize with - that women got the girl, and men got the guy to go through the book together with. They were solving a crime there, there was also a not-quite-yet-solved (it's a series) romantic tension between them.

How about you?