When I started out I was most definitely writing the type of story I liked to read - only with my embellishments. As a teen I was in love with anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs - especially his John Carter series. I envisioned myself right there with him, battling the enemy, jumping gravity free, hundreds of feet into the air - and landing safely of course - then punching out or flailing around with a giant sword at anyone who dared come near John or me.
Burroughs wrote another book based on a prehistory culture, darned if I can find it anywhere, but it was one I actually used as a basis for my first story bashed out on an old Remington I paid five pounds sterling for. There were only two races on the planet I imagined - the Eagles , a golden haired people of immense physical stamina and beauty and the Ravens, people of a darker hue with bronzed skin and 'black as night' hair.Of course when my Eagle hero and Raven heroine meet, there is a fight for dominance which the Eagle (barely) wins. I was a little too young to give a complete, graphic description of their coupling, but one of my sisters who read my first attempt at literary success said, "So that's the kind of woman you want?"
Uh, no... but never mind that, at least I had injected a female into the story.
Later in life I fiddled with stories set in London about the theatre, usually with a detective solving a backstage murder with the aid of a singer, actor or dancer. None of these got anywhere near a publisher. The fear of rejection was alive and well, so it was amazing that I finally got the nerve to submit my first real attempt at a contemporary novel - A Portrait of Phillip. Naturally, it was rejected and rejected and...well that's the way it goes, so I self published, and amazingly it was a success. Who needs a publisher? I thought smug and self satisfied. My first six books were self published but the cost of going that route outweighed the return, so greedily I looked around for someone else to bear the cost, and found not one but three companies ready to do just that. Amazing what being placed in Amazon's top 100 will do for a fella.
Yay! Now I could go on writing the sort of stuff I liked to write - as long as I gave the characters a happy ending. Vampires, cowboys, detectives, soldiers both ancient and modern, all the heroes I dreamed of running about with, facing endless adversity, nine headed monsters, vast armies, but always coming out on top, were now mine to do with what I wished. What a great life. I honestly don't care if the reviewers like 'em or not. I learned long ago to take all of that snark with the middle finger upraised. And if the royalties go up and down , I'll grin and bear it - hopefully the publishers will too. Let's face it - in this economy of less disposable income and with the veritable thousands of authors all vying for the same readership, I count myself lucky that there is a check at the end of the month/quarter.
I love what I do, I love what I write, for the most part, and I'll probably keep on doing it as long as I can punch a keyboard.