"Tyger Tyger! burning bright." I was in love with that poem when I was little. The ferocity and sensuality of its fevered imagery quickened my imagination deliciously and made me think of dark forests, and wandering, and coming unexpectedly upon that which, all unknowingly, I had been seeking--some great cat, incandescently kindled, its fearful symmetry immortally framed. I am in love with it still.
To write a novel is to be in love. It is to wander dark forests, encountering tigers. I've been referred to as "a writer of fantasy stories that have strong female protagonists." Upon reflection, I suppose this is true. I've written four novels, all of them high fantasy, and in three of the four, the main character is female. Yet when people ask me about my heroines, where they come from, on whom they are modeled, and I respond, "'The Tyger' by William Blake," I'm looked at as though I haven't answered the question. . . .