Most of the time I find myself reading books written by women.

It's not that I don't love male authors, or make a conscious decision to ignore them (I'm quite a huge fan of Jostein Gaarder, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Nicholls and Stephen King, to mention but a few), it's just that I gravitate towards women writers.

I think one of the reasons for this, is that I tend to enjoy books that places a heavier emphasis on character development as opposed to a novel that focuses purely on action-based events.

Of course, the two do sometimes go hand in hand, but I usually find that many female authors have an instinctive knack to  get into the heart of the protagonists and allow readers to experience the ups and downs that make up the journey of the various heroes and heroines of every story.

With this in mind, we decided to ask our readers who theirs are. Here are some responses:

Tshepo: Terry McMillan's books are classics and easy to read; and Maya Angelou is great to listen to.

Lesley: Louise Bagshawe is amazing! Busy reading The Devil you Know. Brillant!

Lynette:  I don't have any specific favourites - if I enjoy a book, I will buy one written by the same author. And of course I like anyone who can write a good historical novel.

Tamlyn: Laurell K Hamilton - adore the Anita Blake series!

Amanda: J.Nozipho Maraire, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vanzant and Tsitsi Dangaremba.

Sue-Ellen: Jodi Picoult, but I will read any other good book too.

Jenni: Jodi Picoult & Martina Cole. Lesley Pearce is great too.

Our Twitter followers weigh in as well:

@ysabelkid:  Nora Roberts/JD Robb. Her characterisation is outstanding and makes one really care about protagonists (and sidekicks).

@CathZ84: Richelle Mead. She writes the best characters, which IMO can make or break or novel.

@TamarinduToit:  Nicole Krauss. I wish I could live in her stories, or think them up first. Just beautiful, every time.

@MsLea29: Nora Roberts, I've never been disappointed.

@Violin_in_a_Void:  James Tiptree jr. Amazing, unforgettable short stories, impeccable writing, incredible life story.

(Side note: It should be said here that James Tiptree is the pen name for Alice Sheldon)

@Pisceandragon:  If I had to pick, I'd say Margaret Mitchell and J.K. Rowling, I was sucked into the worlds they created.

@Floorlibrarian: Melanie Rawn: outstanding world building and high drama make for some awesome reading.

@SAPartridge: Susanna Clarke. What an incredible mind!

@AntheaBooysen: Jill Mansell - I love romance and happy endings.

Follow Women24 and Tammy on Twitter.

Who are your favourite female authors? And what is it that you love most about them?