Readers, what are you looking for when you read a story? Is it escape, love, exotic adventures, or something else? Writers, what wishes are you trying to fulfill with your fiction?
There are two themes I see over and over in my work: freedom and fellowship. What can be more precious than the freedom to choose your own work, your love, your destiny? I think this theme is most developed in my Lyon's Line stories ("Lyon's Legacy," originally titled "Move Over Ms. L.," and Twinned Universes, which I've also referred to here as Across Two Universes.). The protagonists of those stories are burdened by being descendants of a legendary musician. Everyone else expects them to pursue music too, even though they have their own interests. The theme shows up in other works too. In my Season Lords trilogy, a young woman must free herself from her father's repressive culture. One of the reasons shapeshifters interest me is that their abilities give them a special kind of freedom.
Experiences are more fun if they're shared, and stories are more interesting if the protagonists has companions to share his/her trials. Sidekicks can serve many functions in a story: they can help or betray a hero, add comic relief, or even just give the heroine someone to talk to. I've written two different stories, one fantasy and the other science fiction, in which a group of four has to work together to solve a problem. The groups are different; one is a quartet of four young women with magical abilities, while the other is a mixed group in which only one person has a special talent (though he needs the help of the other three to fully use it.) Although there's conflict among the people in each group, each quartet is like a close-knit family. (And yes, if you read my Beatles entry on Saturday, the groups are inspired by the Fab Four themselves.)
Freedom and fellowship are two needs people must fulfill to be happy. While books aren't a substitute for real life, I hope my stories will one day help others feel more complete.