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Under the Influence

By On Jul 17 2012, 2:00 am

While being interviewed recently about the strong, unconventional women in my books, the inerviewer asked who were my role models?  I was stumped, and didn’t know quite how to answer.  While there are many women I’ve admired, I wouldn’t say they were role models.

As I drove home, I thought about the question and realized I did have role models, but they were all fictional characters.  Did they count?

The first was Annie Oakley–not the wild west show sharpshooter, but the star of a 1950′s TV show.  Annie could out ride and out shoot anyone, man or woman, and was admired for her keen marksmanship, not her cute pigtails.  I liked that.  Beauty may fade, but accomplishments last.

The second was Katy Keene, the fashion model star of a series of popular comic books.  Unlike my stay-at-home mom and those of my friends, Katy had a glamorous career.  Readers could be included in that world by sending in their own dress designs, and the artist would choose some and incorporate them, with credit given to the designer.  My designs were never chosen; I guess my offbeat fashion sense didn’t jibe with Katy’s.  But a circus horse I drew was accepted and became my first published anything.  What a rush!  While I didn’t like the frustration and bitter disappointment of constant rejection, I loved being published and wanted to have that experience again and again…

My third role model was Nancy Drew, girl sleuth.  I loved Nancy.  She solved mysteries and nobody told her she couldn’t.  If such thrilling adventures weren’t in the cards for me, at least I could write fictional adventures.

Later, real women replaced those fictional characters as my inspiration, writers like Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis A. Whitney.  I worked hard at becoming a published novelist just like them, enduring rejection and perservering as those Katy Keene years had taught me.

So thanks Annie, Katy, Nancy, Mary, Victoria, Phyllis, and all the women who came after.  Now when an interviewer asks about my role models, I’ll have my list ready.

Who are your role models, fictional or real, and how do they inspire you?

Lindsay Chase is the author of The Oath, The Vow  and Honor,  all Retro Romances

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