Today marks International Women’s Day, a day to recognize how far the world has come in gender equality, inspire positive changes for the future and encourage advocacy for women’s rights across the globe.
On top of that, International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the women in our lives who inspire us – from our mothers and sisters, to our friends, to our role models who motivate us to change our world.
Of course, we, the authors of Ladies On The Shelf, have many incredible women (Hi, moms!) who have shaped us into the wonderful ladies we are, but as this is a literature-centric blog, we thought we’d share our favorite lady authors.
Erin: I try not to get too fan-girly about an author’s personal life, but I have always admired romance novelist Julia Quinn’s background – she had her first two novels published when she was 25, then dropped out of medical school to write full time. Good for you, Julia! Living the dream!
My first historical romance novel was a JQ (Mr. Cavendish I Presume), and after that it didn’t take me long to read through her entire backlist. I haven’t kept up with her latest few releases, but JQ got me hooked on historical romance and I’ll be forever grateful. And the black mallet of death, fat welsh corgis and bee-phobia made The Viscount Who Loves Me one of my absolute favorites of the genre.
I think defending romance novelists and novels is finally becoming unnecessary and a bit old hat (and thank god for that!), but I will always cite Julia Quinn as my favorite example of a smart, young, business savvy writer who makes a living doing what she loves – writing delicious romance novels with hilarious titles.
Caitlin: If you were to come to my house and look at my bookshelves, it would be clear who my three favorite authors are: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynn Jones.
Before I loved Terry or Neil, it was Diana who brought me deeper into the world of fantasy, graduating from fairy tales into novels. Her characters were all multifaceted – funny, angry, depressed, and otherwise complex creatures – and gender was never really a thing. Women weren’t simply damsels in distress or objects of affection; men weren’t always knights in shining armor. They were people (or griffins, or djinns, or fire demons).
Her books immersed me in a fantastical world of magic and intrigue, but also taught me that more than anything, even if you have magic at your disposal, you should always use your brain and your heart.
Jessi: During many summer afternoons as a kid, you could find me with my grandma at the local bookstore. She’s the one who helped me pick out the first book of a series that would forever influence my love of literature, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Many are familiar with the story of how JK Rowling first came up with the idea for Harry Potter while waiting for her train, which had been delayed, and how she drew much of what she wrote from her own dark, somewhat desperate personal life experience. Now Jo’s making bank. But more importantly, her stories about a boy and his very famous scar are continuing to make magic in the hearts of countless readers.
She has written three novels since, but I’ll admit that I haven’t even picked one up. Quite simply, I haven’t had the heart to let go of the magic that is Harry Potter. It would seem that I, like many readers, might forevermore be imagining myself in the world Jo created, sitting in the Great Hall with my closest friends, toasting our butterbeers to knowledge, loyal friends, and love conquering evil. (You know, unless you’re Slytherin.)