This month our theme is writer crushes. The truth is that I don’t have a bonafide writer crush. Not in the sense of there being a single writer whose work I inhale, faster than she can write the words.
Instead, I take the “it takes a village” approach to writer crushes. There are a wide variety of female writers who have influenced me and whose work I greatly admire. What these authors have in common is their ability to portray the ordinary woman in extraordinary ways that left a lasting impression on me.
Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott’s romantic family dramedies had a great impact on me as a young reader and continue to impact the stories I write today. And it was Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that cemented my determination to become a storyteller.
Jane Green’s stories of imperfect women finding themselves, and then finding love, renewed my interest in reading and writing fiction after nearly a decade spent focused only on non-fiction reading.
Benilde Little’s novels, Good Hair and Who Does She Think She Is? weave compelling characters and engaging storylines while tackling heavy issues like class, race and sexual abuse.
The late Bebe Moore Campbell’s 72 Hour Hold is the heart wrenching tale of a mother’s love for her daughter, suffering from bipolar disorder, and the lengths she must go to in order to save her.
Pearl Cleage’s novels What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, I Wish I Had a Red Dress and Babylon Sisters tell the stories of bold, passionate mature women who face harsh realities with an admirable bravery and still manage to find love.
And that only scratches the surface of the writes I HEART, like Courtney Milan, Farah Rochon and Beverly Jenkins. All of these women write deeply compelling heroines. They’re not rich and they certainly aren’t perfect. But the journey they take to find themselves, and love, is worth venturing.
But then again, when it comes to writer crushes, who says you can only choose one?