An avid reader from an early age, my reading preferences, like many young readers, had much to do with short adventures. Such as Donald J. Sobol's Encyclopedia Brown series. That young lad's mysteries led me to longer stories with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I'd read and re-read from my school library a shortened and illustrated version of Walter Farley's Black Stallion, but when I found the full novel I was in love. I read, no...I devoured all of his Black Stallion books, delighted to see how Alec and his magnificent horse dealt with a new problem. The spin-off Island Stallion series was just as good. Then I needed something else, a new fix.
Enter the genre fantasy.
The problem was...the boys got the best adventures. The men bore the brunt of the danger. Sure there were some interesting and strong women in Weis and Hickman's tales, but they weren't the lead.
I didn't see myself represented in these books.
Then I found Jennifer Roberson's Sword Dancer.
As I understand it, at the time, Ms. Roberson was not able to write the story from the female leads POV and expect to get it sold...so she wrote it from the male lead's POV. Del was smart, strong, able, and determined. She was my hero during very formative years.
Though I had always dabbled in writing, this was when I began in earnest, and I wrote for me. To be honest, the Dragonlance art of Larry Elmore and Clyde Caldwell (and others) had as much to do with my imagination spring-boarding into my own stories as the novels I had read.
Then this whole Urban Fantasy thing happened, with female leads in abundance...and I was able to join the ranks of my favorite authors and have mass market paperbacks of my own on the bookshelves of book stores and chain stores alike.