One of the things I had to do to write Corpse in Armor was to step over all the corpses of my unfinished novels, which had accumulated behind a lifetime of writer's block. When I was done writing it I thanked God, first thing, for helping me get there.
And the reason I chose to use a woman narrator was to get myself out of the novel and let the characters take it over. That has to happen, but I didn't want to take any chances, so I handed the story to Mara.
It's not a schoolboy (or schoolgirl) first person narrative. Much more complex than that. I didn't want to use an omniscient third person. I wanted the horizon limits of the first person, and I wanted that to play an important role in the story. And it does.