You don't have to be masculine to be a strong woman—Mary Elizabeth Winstead
I was lucky to have a strong mother growing up. She had to be, raising nine children, and teaching them to stand on their own. Even in grade school, I liked my heroines to be strong. I remember writing an essay about Molly Pitcher in sixth grade when other girls were writing about male heroes like Paul Revere.
My mother also showed me, by example, that you can be strong and still be a lady, that a lady is defined by her actions towards others, and certainly not by money or social standing.
Naturally, now that I am writing books, that love for strong women has found its way into my stories. My heroines, while struggling with the challenges that are thrown at them by life, work hard to maintain their independence but balance that with being willing to accept help from their friends when it is offered.