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August 23, 2017

You might be surprised how this ends up being a trick question. I kid you not.

As an author now myself, as opposed to just being a writer, I’m always posing questions to people when we get to talking about books and writing. I like to keep a finger on the pulse of what people think, and ask everyone from kids to seniors and those in-between. The answers are as varied as the ages. My focus is, of course, the target audience for what I write. I also like to see what those that will never be my readers like to read (or not).

One of my common questions is, “Who are your favorite authors?”


Notice I ask that in the plural. Why? I don’t recall many that have ever stated, unequivocally that they have only one favorite. On the other hand, you might be surprised how many people can’t name one.

That’s right. While people can name a type of book they like to read, genre or whatever, many of them, when asked, are stumped to name a specific author.

I asked that particular question the other night and got that exact reaction. While the person loved thrillers, he could not name a specific thriller author. Given, we were talking about a hundred different things, it’s no surprise the flood of information was overwhelming. On the other hand, he’s not alone even when I’ve chatted with people and the subject is the single subject of books.

People will often shop for books, see a cover, a back blurb, and then recognize the name. Aha! That’s the guy or gal!

When I’m writing the review of a book I just read, I sometimes have no trouble with the last name but can mix up the first names. I know generally, especially if it’s an author I don’t read that often. I recognize the last name but the first, well…

I’m usually pretty good with names once I get to know them. On the other hand, I’m terrible when I first meet people and it takes a good while for the names to sink in. That used to suck when I was teaching!

When it comes to my favorite authors, I can list quite a few. When I get asked the question, who’s my favorite author, I have to make that plural and list several. Even then, when I break it down by genre, each genre will have a list. Since I read multiple genres, I have many favorites, depending. No one is the author.

Because of the way I am with new names, I can well relate to people, especially casual readers who may not absorb the name of an author but love their work. The name just does not resonate, yet when they see the next book and then the name…


I read mostly thrillers and cop/detective stories out of necessity. I’d read a lot more icky bug (horror) except there aren’t many out there. The publishing world doesn’t see fit to put many of them out there. Even though I write fantasy, I rarely read it because I prefer to get from point A to B and fantasy rarely does that. The same, it seems for a lot of science fiction. I know, because I browse the fantasy sci-fi shelves at the bookstore, but shy away from there pretty fast, especially when I open books at random and see solid page paragraphs and hardly any empty space on the pages. Big red flags for me!

I’m not interested in any other genres.

This is how a lot of people describe their reading habits, versus authors. They can name what they read, or maybe even a series before ever popping off the specific name of an author.

As an author, does that make you feel insignificant?


Okay, I have many favorite authors. To name a few, they include:

Carol Davis Luce

Elizabeth Forrest (Rhondi Vilott Salsitz)

James Rollins

Clive Cussler

David Baldacci

Lee Child

Doug Preston

Lincoln Child

John Sandford

Bentley Little

Hunter Shea

Michael Connelly

Dean Koontz

Folks, there are so many I’m skipping here. Some, I’ve named in previous articles as far back as 2012. I also don’t want to overload you.

The point is that I have lots of favorite authors. Sometimes, when asked that question, people can’t answer because they have so many, they don’t know where to start. On the other hand, name isn’t always so important to people. Yet when they browse the shelves, or on line, they see the cover, the blurb and then, the name clicks.

Maybe then, the cover is a lot more important than some of us think, but not always for the reasons you may think.

Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bonnie permalink
    August 24, 2017 12:45 am

    JRR Tolkien, Richard Matheson, Michael Crichton, James Herriot, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harper Lee, Richard Preston, Graham Masterton, Fred Rayworth plus many more.

  2. August 28, 2017 1:40 am


    You flatter me, but I’ll take what I can get!

    You rock!


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