The other night I was pondering why I prefer to write women’s fiction and romance. My early influences came to mind.
From as far back as I can remember, I loved to be read and read fairy tales. Hans Christian Anderson, staples like Cinderella and Snow White … all of those fables of ending in “happily ever after.” As a teen, I absorbed Louisa May Alcott, Barbra Cartland Thomas Hardy and related.
This is probably why I began to pen picture books for fellow elementary school students. They were actually what would now be called graphic novels. I drew my characters and they spoke in dialogue bubbles. This was my foray into writing. Of course, they had a romance and a happily ever after.
Another major influence were my dolls. Yes, creative role-playing was a big part of my writer’s journey. I was Barbie addicted, owning Barbie and all of her friends … Stacey, Casey, Ken, Allen, Francie, Skipper, Trudy and Todd. My dolls used to have play dates with the neighbor boy’s GI Joes. Our imaginations ran wild with our creation of careers, fun and even romance. Barbie had an orange convertible with a turquoise interior. GI Joe had a motorcycle and sidecar. Barbie had houses and furniture, horses, a wardrobe to die for and could do and be whatever she pleased. GI Joe was tough and macho.
This doll fetish continued with Dawn and friends, miniaturized versions of the Barbie clan with similar classic accessories and beautiful wardrobe. Dawn had a big advantage over Barbie, her size. She and her friends could live in my dollhouse with its ornate Petit Princess furnishings and accessories. Oh, the scenes I would create!
I played with my dolls until I reluctantly gave them up around age 14. At that time, I began to write romantic short stories that I shared with friends in junior high. In high school, I took a creative writing class. The final was supposed to be a completed short story. I knew back then that I’d have difficulty penning short prose. Mr. Fred Snook, the instructor grimaced when I handed in a 400 page typed historical novel. He actually read it and told me it reminded him of an American Revolution “Gone with the Wind.” The crazy thing is that I had never seen “Gone with the Wind” at the time. I think I got an A-.
During college, I took a hiatus from fiction writing to concentrate on term papers and my course studies. When I graduated and got a job, I would stay up until Midnight or later writing. My mother chastised me for wasting my time, asking “Do you think anyone will really read what you write?”
Well, here I am … Multi-published novelist of fairy tales for adults.