I started reading fantasy fiction in 1990, with the first Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, which I borrowed from my buddy, Evan. I was surprised to enjoy the book and quickly borrowed the second book, Dragons of Winter Night. I loved the characterization in the books but found myself fascinated by the dynamic of Laurana and Kitiara. Laurana was a noble elf-maiden, in love with Tanis Half-Elven. Kitiara was a warrior woman, dark-hearted and sensual.
Later, when I became fascinated with the “Street Fighter” video game series, Chun Li quickly became my favorite character from that game.
What can I say? I like tough women. When I was in college, I was given an assignment to write an essay about three dates that I’d been on in my life. I was nineteen at that time and had never been on a date before. So, being the creative writer that I am, I wrote an essay about my experiences with Kitiara, Chun Li and my favorite female super hero, the Black Cat. I got an “A” on it.
In high school, I wrote the short story that would eventually grow into Invasion of the Ninja. Yoshi didn’t appear in it. It wasn’t until I began fleshing it out into a longer work, after I’d become interested in a tough warrior woman, that I created Yoshi. At first, she was merely a female clone of Jamie. When I did the first rewrite back in 2000-2002, I decided to try to make her something more. I created the backstory of the clan war and of Yoshi’s rebellious childhood. I created her reason for focusing so strongly on the sword and for being better with it than Jamie or any member of either clan. I created a better character than any I’d tried to write before.
For those of you who were upset by the ending of Book Three, just be sure to check out the next one, coming later this year.