Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Things I Love/Hate About Romance in Books.
I love meeting authors, or at least getting a chance to hear them talk about their books. And I’ve been really lucky in that respect. Over the years I’ve met, attended talks by, or gotten books signed by several wonderful authors and author-illustrators, including Anne McCaffrey, Tamora Pierce, Laurie R. King, Susanna Kearsley, Sherryl Woods, Susan Cooper, Deanna Raybourn, Mary Behre, Graeme Base, and V.V. Wedding. (Oh, yes, and William Golding was the commencement speaker when I graduated from college – though I didn’t get to meet him, darn it.)
But there are still loads more authors I’d love to meet! I’m making two lists today: one of authors who are still alive, so I might actually get a chance to meet them someday; and one of authors I wish I could have met and spoken with.
- J. K. Rowling. Because OMG it would be so freakin’ cool to meet the woman who wrote one of the best children’s/YA fantasy series ever! (Fangirling much?) And because she is another amazing storyteller who also uses her fame and fortune to help those who are less fortunate.
- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. AKA the author of the Yarn Harlot blog and several very funny books about knitting and life. Every year she does a several-day bike ride to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, even though she’s not a natural at riding. And she encourages other knitters in lots of ways, from her blog to various workshops she gives. I really admire her as a person.
- Patrick Rothfuss. I am just in awe of this guy’s writing talent. And he’s a pretty stellar guy in real life, too; he founded and runs (with help, because it’s gotten so big) a charity called WorldBuilders, which supports Heiffer International with a yearly fundraiser. Plus he loves gaming, including tabletop RPG; it would be a lot of fun to get to sit in on a game night!
- Robin McKinley. One of my all-time favorite fantasy authors who is both alive and unmet (by me; of course plenty of other people have met her.) I love the way she writes.
- Mercedes Lackey. Another long-term favorite who fits the same criteria. I’ve been reading her for as long as I’ve been reading McKinley: over 30 years!
- Jim C. Hines. Jim is a good writer (have you read Libriomancer yet?) and a man who cares and speaks out about fictional representation and the lack thereof for minorities of all kinds, and about women’s issues, from rape to sexual harassment (particularly within the SFF community) to the ridiculous sexualization of women on book covers. I enjoy his books and admire the heck out of him for taking such a public stance on those things.
- Mary Balogh. One of my four favorite historical romance authors, and from what I can tell from her interactions with her readers in social media, a genuinely nice person through and through. She’s also a stickler for getting the historical details right, which as a lover of history I do appreciate.
- Rick Riordan. Because anyone who can write something as funny and exciting as the Percy Jackson books has got to be interesting in real life. And as a former teacher, my hat’s off to him for repackaging classic mythology in a way that kids not only read it but learn it. There’s a whole generation either in or about to start college who are going to read the Odyssey and say, “Wait a minute – that’s Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters!” and be much more interested as a result.
- Deborah Harkness. Because she’s brilliant, and she teaches and researches the history of science and alchemy, and how cool is that? And on top of that she wrote an amazing fantasy trilogy for adults, including one time-travel book that really makes Elizabethan England come alive. (Though I’m still a little miffed at her for not including Shakespeare.)
- Neil Gaiman. I have only read one of his books so far (Stardust, which was wonderful), but I love to hear Neil Gaiman talk! He’s smart, he’s wry and witty and sometimes profound, and he’s surprisingly down-to-earth. And his voice and accent are ear candy.
Dead Authors Society
- William Shakespeare. Because… because… SHAKESPEARE!
- Emily Dickinson. I have found her fascinating since I first saw the play, The Belle of Amherst. I wish I could drop by her house, be offered some tea and gingerbread, and spend an afternoon getting to know her. Though I’m sure she wouldn’t talk about any of the things I really want to know; she was a very private person.
- J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Together. I’d love to just sit and listen to them bicker amiably about fantasy.
- Elizabeth Goudge. I’m sure she would find it embarrassing – she was very shy – but I’d love the chance to tell her how much her books have meant to me over the years. I’ve been reading her for about 40 years now.
- Madeleine L’Engle. I love L’Engle’s Time Trilogy (well, it was a trilogy when I was young) and some of her other children’s books as well. And her autobiographical trilogy, the Crosswicks books, really spoke to me when I was in my twenties. (Come to think of it, it’s time to reread those.)
- L. M. Montgomery. Because the creator of Anne of Green Gables is bound to be a kindred spirit, don’t you think?
- Dorothy Sayers. I’ve often wondered if she was as erudite and witty as Lord Peter Wimsey – though I suspect that she was a bit more like Harriet Vane: highly intelligent and a bit shy and socially uncomfortable. Still, what fun to meet one of the Grandes Dames of British Golden Age mystery! Even better, I’d love to have tea with Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Ngaio Marsh.
- Elizabeth Marie Pope. I want to ask her how she came to write two such different books as The Perilous Gard and The Sherwood Ring – and why she only wrote two!
- Diana Wynne Jones. I haven’t actually read very many DWJ books yet – three or four, I think – but she had such an amazing imagination and a wonderful sense of humor. I think she would be really interesting to listen to, if she gave a talk about her books and writing process – and probably fun to have tea with, as well.
- Mary Stewart. I want to ask her about what it was like to write in two such different genres (romantic suspense and historical fantasy.) And I want to know what she read and how she researched before writing her Arthurian books, since the Matter of Britain was a major obsession of mine in high school and college.
- James Herriot. Reading his books is probably quite a bit like meeting the man himself – but I’d still like to meet him, because he seems so down-to-earth and likeable.