Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Book Round-Up. This week, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. It got me thinking about my favorite female authors. Many of these women inspired me to go after my dream of publishing and on a certain level, I consider them my mentors (even though we’ve never met). So, I wanted to honor these women here today with my very personal (feeling a little exposed here) list. The link is to their Amazon Author Page. Here is my top 10 in alphabetical order:
My 8th grade English teacher introduced me to Jane Austen and I am forever grateful to him. Not only are Jane’s books poignant and beautifully-written, it was virtually unheard of for a woman to publish in those days. It was thanks to her brother that a publisher agreed to publish her. It was well-received and popular among the aristocrats. My favorite two novels are Pride and Prejudice as well as Emma.
Wuthering Heights was my introduction to Emily Bronte as well as her sisters. Each was gifted in their own right and like Jane Austen, they fought against societal prejudice to be published. Dark, brooding characters enduring heart-breaking tragedies is the theme of many of their stories. Romantic? Sure, if you’re not a fan of happily ever after. What makes their stories so memorable for me is that even though the sisters had a hard life, they obviously found joy in writing. It comes across is their descriptive plots and characters. My favorite novel is Wuthering Heights.
I read Sex and the City when it was first published and was instantly in love with Bushnell’s honest approach to love, dating and being single in the big city. Her writing style appealed to me as a single gal trying to figure out what it meant when a guy said he would call and then didn’t. She’s one of my writing mentors because she ditched the cutesy women’s lit for brutally honest lit. I mean, it was refreshing to hear what other women think about oral sex and men who shower right after sex. Reading her books (and she has several now) is like curling up with a bunch of girlfriends and dishing the dirt. No pretense, just great storytelling. My favorite is her Sex and the City anthology.
The Artist’s Way caught my attention when I was working as a manager for a large bookstore. A friend of mine raved about how it helped her with her artwork. “Inspiring,” she said so I picked it up. Talk about changing my life… this book shook me with truths that were hidden deep within me. Yes, I could be the artist I craved to be; all it took was determination and not giving up. Cameron continues to inspire me on a daily basis. It’s thanks to her that I could work full-time, be a housewife and complete my first novel without losing my mind.
Dame Agatha… what an inspiration! I fell in love with her mysteries at a young age, thanks to my mother. She’s an incredible woman who lived several lives in her lifetime. Independent, witty, honorable, she took ordinary people she met and incorporated them into her mysteries. A hero in my eyes because she wrote intricate mysteries with complex characters which kept the reader captivated until the last page. Both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are my two favorite detectives in literature and no, I can’t pick a favorite novel.
When I was thirteen, I read my very first Jude Deveraux romance. I can close my eyes and remember the feeling of romance surging in my heart as I read The Black Lyon all those years ago. Being a sucker for history, her historical romances taught me what life might have been like back in the day. Sweeping romance, strong men and even stronger women filled the pages of Jude’s books. I swooned and imagined falling in love with a knight who would sweep me away from my dull and boring life. She’s the gold standard for all historical romances (in my opinion) and she taught me so much more about writing characters, tension and plot than all my teachers in school. I still idolize her and re-read The Knight in Shining Armor (my all-time favorite book) at least twice a year.
I first read Dracula, My Love and was instantly a fan of Syrie James’ writing style and ability to take a classic tale and put a new spin on it. Being a huge reader of historical fiction and historical romance, I love the way Syrie spins what’s familiar and brings new light to it. Her imagination is as big as my own and her ability to make a monster into a misunderstood lonely tragic character is uncanny. I’ve read every one of her books and while I wish I had the time to do all the research she does when writing, I’m in awe of how she makes historical figures come alive. She’s a writing mentor to me for her descriptive narration alone and I keep going back to her books to gain new insight. My favorite novel is Dracula, My Love.
Okay, here’s where this list gets personal. I’m a curvy woman and as a reader, I’ve spent most of my life reading about stick-thin heroines dealing with life. But then I read Good in Bed when it first came out. Mind Blown! Here’s a New York Bestselling Author describing in great detail the ups and down of a curvy woman’s search for love. Her writing isn’t cliché and tells it like it is. Hooray for curvy women everywhere! Jennifer taught me it’s okay to expose a part of myself in my writing. I’ve read every single book and my favorite is her latest release, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing.
I was ten years old when I got the box set of Little House books from my grandparents. I inhaled each book and as the years went by, continued to re-read them. It tells the story of her pioneer life from little girl to married and a mother. I love these books because it’s Laura sharing a part of her growing up. There’s an authenticity to these stories that makes them irresistible. I learned so much about what life was like in those days from these books. Life was hard and you found happiness and joy in the small things. As a mentor, Laura is inspiring and honest. Her stories transport the reader because she’s sharing from the heart. I strive to bring that heart quality to every book I write.
I have Oprah to thank for introducing me to Marianne Williamson. I remember this clearly: I was home sick with the flu and was watching Oprah. Her guest was a beautiful woman by the name of Marianne Williamson. She spoke of inner light, spirituality, love and being at peace. It was exactly the words I needed to hear. See, I didn’t really have the flu. I was filled with anxiety due to high school female bullies and faked being sick to avoid them. They tormented me and made my life miserable. All I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and become invisible. Peace and love were the furthest from my mind at that time. Marianne spoke of taking control of your life and not allowing outside forces to steal your joy. That was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. I’ve read all her books since then but the one book that continues to speak to me is Return to Love. Love, it states, is the centre of everything and everyone. I’ve embodied that in my writing and share that message through my blog every single day. Her lyrical prose aligns with my writing style and I’m so grateful to her message of peace. It saved my life.
Have a favorite female author to recommend? Share in the comments below. Happy Reading!
MRS N, Book Addict