Top Ten Tuesday (2): Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

May 11, 2015 discussion post, Top Ten Tuesday 48

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet” and we’re happy to be participating.


A favor before we begin! For the purposes of this post, assume that “meet” means something like … “I see them and listen to them talk about things.” Because I was rendered speechless by, for example, meeting Sarah J. Maas last year, I don’t necessarily have a lot of faith in my ability to meet my most favorite authors and not freak out. So let’s try to imagine these as scenarios where I am dignified and never, ever lose my cool. Thank you.

naominovik   jacqueline carey   tamorapierce


1. Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik is at the tippity-top of my list right now because I just finished Uprooted at Kim’s suggestion a few days ago (because Kim is the best) and, you all, I have not loved a book this much in ages. I’d previously read and liked her Temeraire series, too, which I’d rec if you like imagining what Master and Commander would be like with dragons. And/or if you’re interested in the beautiful love shared by a man and a dragon. It’s history … but with dragons. Did I sell it yet? Um, also, I love her involvement with fandom (Vividcon! Archive of Our Own!), and would be pretty stoked to hear her speak about that, too.

2. Jacqueline Carey

Because I loved Santa Olivia (queer teenage girl who is maybe part wolf becomes a badass boxer) and all of the Terre d’Ange books. Carey is one of the few authors whose books I actually want to re-read, which is no small feat, given that the Terre d’Ange books are thousands of pages long. I don’t know. I’d love to meet her – she made me start reading epic fantasy novels again. I’m a sucker for solid fantasy world-building! Finally, I also love how queer-friendly her books are.

3. Tamora Pierce

Did anyone ever read the Alanna books? They were my most favorite thing ever in the mid-90s! And were super formative of my tastes as a reader – they are chock-full of things I still like: ladies who cross-dress for reasons, relationships that are handled skillfully, female badassery to the max, knights, fantasy realms, and magic cats. (The magic cat in particular was a fave.) She’s written lots of other books, too – and I haven’t read them all – but I love her for writing Alanna.


rachelhartman   maggiestiefvater


4. Rachel Hartman

I read both Seraphina and Shadow Scale this year and (perhaps unsurprisingly) they’ve been some of my favorite books of the year so far. I loved Kim’s interview with Rachel Hartman a few weeks ago, and reading Hartman’s thoughtful answers makes me want more of them. I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about how well Hartman fills her world with diverse characters and issues (there’s that wonderful conversation about the importance of respecting people’s pronouns in Shadow Scale, for example, and gah, I am so glad that conversation exists in a book).

5. Maggie Stiefvater

I do love The Raven Boys a whole lot. (And I would have to fight with all my might to not ask questions about the next book, but I COULD DO IT.) But also! Maggie Stiefvater has one of the funniest Twitter accounts. It’s kind of delightful – she has animal photos and art and Slytherin Pride and there’s a song on the ukelele about how to pronounce her last name.


sherry thomas   courtneymilan


6. Sherry Thomas

So, maybe you know this, maybe you don’t, but I am a huge romance reader. I’m usually reading YA, romances, or (you know) stuff for my dissertation. Anyway. Sherry Thomas is on my list because not only does she write YA, she writes romances! (And she does have some really great ones.) Huzzah. And I loved The Burning Sky and The Perilous Sea so much. I’d love to meet her and listen to her speak about working in different genres, and also tell her how much I enjoyed the footnotes in the Elemental Trilogy Series. (More on footnotes later!)

7. Courtney Milan

This is cheating a tiny bit since I did actually get to hear Courtney Milan speak this year as part of Duke University’s Unsuitable lectures – a series of events focused on reading, writing, and publishing romance novels. (The entire series was amazing and was put together by two Duke professors, Laura Florand and Katharine DuBois, and I feel so lucky to have sat in on some of those conversations.) Anyway. Courtney Milan has long been one of my favorite authors – she’s absolutely my favorite romance writer, and she’s just started writing New Adult this year. (Yesssss.) I can’t say enough about how much I love her work: it’s feminist; it’s very, very good at articulating issues of consent; she integrates diverse themes, characters, and relationships into her work; and is overall a total badass. She’s also ferociously intelligent and funny as hell; I love following her on Twitter. She’s on the list because I’d happily listen to her talk about anything she’s interested in.


sarahwaters   nicolagriffith


8. Sarah Waters

I first read Sarah Waters in college when I was coming out, and I was hooked by Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith. I’ve happily read everything she’s written since then. If you haven’t read her books, they’re historical fiction with queer characters and themes. (And her writing is totally gorgeous.) Um. So. I’d also love to hear her talk about how you turn your doctoral work into a career as a successful novelist – totally not for selfish reasons or anything.

9. Nicola Griffith

Ahhhh, I love her books so much. She’s a sci-fi writer – the first book I ever read by her was Ammonite, which is amazing. (It’s about a planet that’s only populated by women, but is a nice dismissal of the trope where a planet of women is basically a non-violent utopia.) In addition to writing science fiction, she’s also written crime / suspense novels (about a lesbian ex-cop, Aud Torvingen) and historical fiction – like her most recent book, Hild, about St. Hild of Whitby, which is one of the best things I’ve ever read. Watching Griffith bring seventh-century Anglo-Saxon England to life was incredible (all of the awesome world-building that her other books have makes Hild lush and detailed). If I could cheat a tiny bit, I’d love to meet her partner, Kelley Eskridge, too – I loved Solitaire!


maryroach   octaviabutler


10. Mary Roach

The only person to write non-fiction on this list. If you haven’t read her books, she writes very, very funny popular science non-fiction. She has a book on the science of death! the science of the afterlife! the science of sex! and my personal favorite, Packing for Mars, which is on “the science of life in the void.” Her books are amazing, all the way down to their footnotes. (Yes, this is maybe a thing for me. But I tend to skip footnotes, so it’s important to note the times I actually read and enjoy them.)

PS: The real top of my list would be Octavia Butler, an amazing sci-fi author, but she passed away in 2006. (One of my friends did actually get to meet her, and she signed her copy of Kindred. I am jealous forever.) But she’d be the author I’d most want to meet were she still living. If you haven’t read anything by Butler, read everything. But start with Bloodchild!


So. Is there anyone on my list you’d like to meet? Is there anyone you think I missed? Tell me all your feels. :)

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48 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday (2): Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet”

  1. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    What a fun list! Maggie Stiefvater is awesome in person. She has so much personality and is so fun. I haven’t read any Sherry Thomas so thanks for the rec. I looove a good romance. I met Courtney once a few years ago and she was super nice. I love her books, too. I hope you get to meet everyone on your list one day. I guess Octavia would have to be in another life. :)
    fishgirl182 @ nite lite recently posted…WonderCon Spotlight: Orphan Black

  2. Diane

    Meeting authors isn’t a big thing for me. If Marie Rutkoski was going to be nearby I’d go though.

    The only author I have ever met is Neil Gaiman. He is lovely. My husband is a huge fan and was quite nervous…he asked him how he was twice even though Neil had already answered him. Poor guy. ☺️ The other fans were really cool and sweet as well. All around good vibe.
    Diane recently posted…The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

  3. Carina Olsen

    Goorgeous post Layla. <3 I shall cross my fingers for you; that you might get to meet all of these amazing authors someday :D I only know of three of them; Sherry, Rachel and Maggie. But omg, I'm dying to meet them too :D They are amazing. <3 Sigh. Love your post sweetie :) Fingers crossed for you. <3 Thank you for sharing about it :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…UK Cover Reveal: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

    • Layla

      Haha, I’ve never met any of them yet, though I could have tried to meet Maggie Stiefvater at BEA, I guess. (I thought about it but just could not do it.) And truth be told, I don’t know if I want to meet them or have someone else interview them and let me be a fly on the wall, or something. :)
      Layla recently posted…Poison is Not Polite: exclusive cover reveal + giveaway

    • Layla

      I want someone to ask them questions (and for that person to maybe not be me, but be wearing a microphone where I can hear the conversation and also direct it, and just totally avoid any of the in-person stuff). Who’ve you met at BEA? I get tongue-tied, too. I can say “thank you” and blush and run away pretty well, tho. :)
      Layla recently posted…Poison is Not Polite: exclusive cover reveal + giveaway

    • Layla

      That is so sweet of you to say! I had nothing to do with it, it’s all Wendy’s doing. :)

      Tamora Pierce is wonderful. You should read her books if you get a chance! I recommend the Alanna books but I have a friend who likes her Protector of the Small books quite a bit. I haven’t read anything other than the Song of the Lioness quartet, though. Whoops!
      Layla recently posted…Poison is Not Polite: exclusive cover reveal + giveaway

  4. Jackie

    It’s funny that this is the top ten topic this week, because until this week #1 on my list would have been Rainbow Rowell. But I actually met her at event in Dallas on Monday night. I don’t remember saying much, besides thanking her for coming close-ish to me (I live in Oklahoma) and saying that I was glad the torrential rains my area has had lately gave us both a reprieve to make the trip. But she seemed genuinely pleased to meet her fans, and that’s all you can ask for, really. I hope she comes back eventually.

    As for other authors I’d love to meet: Maggie Stiefvater, because while I haven’t read any of her books, I agree her online presence is awesome. Victoria Schwab, because A Darker Shade of Magic is the best thing I’ve read this year (so far). Stephanie Perkins, because her books (and her boys) make me happy. Stephanie Kuehn, because I’d love to hear about the research she does to write such deeply troubled characters. And Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, because I’d love to talk sci-fi with them.

    Also, Layla, I entered a Goodreads giveaway for Uprooted based on yours and Kim’s glowing recommendations, and I won! It’s next on my reading list.

    • Layla

      I’ve met Rainbow Rowell before (very very briefly) and liked her. Like you, I don’t think I said much to her beyond “hey, thanks for doing this,” but she seems lovely. If she tours for Carry On I look forward to telling her how freaking excited I am about Draco/Harry fanfiction forever and always!

      Ooh, another one for A Darker Shade of Magic! I know Kim really, really liked that. (And I still haven’t read it though it has been in my TBR pile for awhile, as many other things have.) Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman are also really good ones! I was just at BEA and thought about trying to meet Maggie Stiefvater but I just couldn’t.

      ALSO: UPROOTED. YAY! ::high fives::
      Layla recently posted…Poison is Not Polite: exclusive cover reveal + giveaway

  5. Becca C.

    I met Sarah Waters in October! I went to a talk of hers at a writer’s festival and she signed my copy of The Paying Guests, and I asked her if anyone had optioned it for film or TV yet, and her answer was “not yet, but when I get home to London I have some meetings set up”! I love her; I’ve read all her books. They’re all great.

    • Layla

      SQUEE. Um, that is delightful. To be honest, I haven’t seen all of the adaptations of her books – just Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith aaaaaand I still haven’t read The Paying Guests. Hopefully in the near future. Anyway, so lovely that you’ve met her.
      Layla recently posted…Devoted: Review

  6. Emily

    Mary Roach – yes! She’s so great. She was a speaker at BEA one year at an author breakfast I got tickets for, and she was really interesting and funny. I love her books. I’ve only read one by Sarah Waters, but really enjoyed it, and need to read more of her novels. All of the other authors on your list are new to me!
    Emily recently posted…Ten Authors I Really Want to Meet

    • Layla

      Ooh, color me jealous. I’d definitely have done the same – her books are so entertaining (by far my favorite thing to listen to on roadtrips). Yeah, you should definitely read more by Sarah Waters – she’s wonderful – and if you like Ursula LeGuin’s, you should pick up something by Octavia Butler or Nicola Griffith … :)
      Layla recently posted…Devoted: Review

  7. Alexa

    You should come to DragonCon this year! Naomi Novik will be there, and she’ll be on several panels for the YA Lit Track. Last year she was on the Fanworks panel and she is not only a great speaker but SO NICE.

    • Layla

      You know, I’ve never been to DragonCon, though I have some friends who go regularly. I’d like to; I live around Raleigh, NC, so I’m close-ish! I will definitely keep it in mind and see what my schedule is like for school at that point.

      Thanks for the heads-up, though. Naomi Novik seems like THE COOLEST. I’d love to hear her speak.
      Layla recently posted…Devoted: Review

  8. Nikki

    Wow, I really can’t respond because I’ve never read anything by any of those authors. My top to meet are mostly non-fiction writers (Erik Larson and V.S. Ramachadran). The only fiction writer I would bite my hand off to meet would be Hugh Howey (Silo Saga).

    • Layla

      Ohhh, Devil in the White City has been on my TBR list forever (I tried to listen to it on audiobook but kept on getting lost; think I need an actual physical book). I would like to hear Hugh Howey talk about how he came to write and publish Wool – that’d be cool, though I don’t know that I’d bite off my hand to do it. ;)
      Layla recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (2): Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

    • Layla

      I know. I mean, her Twitter account is one of my favorites. It is an endless source of amusement to me! I imagine she’s even better in person. :) I’d also like to watch her draw or listen to her, but like you, don’t know if I could actually talk to her. I would like to watch from a safe distance. :)
      Layla recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (2): Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

  9. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    Crazy, but I haven’t read Tamora Pierce. When I mention her name, people begin to tell long stories about how she has changed their lives. I met her at ALA a few years back. She was quite gracious.

    Here’s mine: Top Ten Authors I Have Met.

    • Layla

      Thanks! And yes, the Alanna books were such a huge part of my childhood. I think I was 11 or 12 when I first read them (and they were really the perfect thing for me to read at that age). I remember showing up at the (long gone) local independent bookstore and having the woman who worked there pull me aside and tell me she’d found the perfect book for me. And it was Alanna!

      I don’t remember reading much fantasy that included a female protagonist before then (although I did then start reading Robin McKinley after, and her books were also kind of life-changing for that reason, too). So I’m so grateful those books existed then. Anyway. Alanna! Her magic cat! Just the best. I was so sad when that series ended, though I know there’s more that I haven’t read in that world.
      Layla recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (2): Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

  10. JJ

    Maggie Stiefvater was on my list too, I am so glad I decided to follow her on Twitter because her Twitter is damn entertaining!
    JJ recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #4

    • Layla

      Ooh, Fingersmith is wonderful. I remember being blown away by that book in college; I’m still trying to get my queer book club to read it. (Come on, you all! I want to re-read it and talk about it!) I liked Affinity but it’s weirdly the one I remember the least well – some day, when I have world enough and time, I will re-read ALL THE THINGS. And read The Paying Guests, ’cause, uh, I still haven’t done that.
      Layla recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (2): Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

  11. Wendy Darling

    I tell this story all the time, hah. I’m not a huge “I have to meet this author and/or get something signed” person, but there are a handful whose books mean so much to me that I think I’d be literally speechless if I ever met them. I literally ran away from the Maggie Stiefvater line at ALA one year because I just couldn’t handle it, SHIVER just kills me whenever I think of it. And yes, I know full well she’s down to earth and awesome and funny and friendly, and is super gracious to fans who come to meet her. But I just can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

    SARAH WATERS is someone I’d love to hear speak, though! My favorite living adult fiction writer without question, and her books are so well-researched and so thoughtful that I know she would be such an interesting person to listen to. I like all your choices, though–and with this list, you’ve succeeded in convincing me that I need to read the authors whom I haven’t tried already, too!

    • Layla

      Awwwww. I did not know this! (I get it, though; there are some folks I feel that way about. Courtney Milan’s probably the closest I get to that on this list. I could not physically bring myself to go say “hi” to her when she was at Duke! Just sat in that room and listened to her talk.)

      YES. I bet Sarah Waters would be a fascinating speaker. I’d love to hear her talk about her research process, and you know, whatever else she wanted to talk about.
      Layla recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (2): Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

  12. Rachel Patrick

    Maggie Stiefvater is extremely entertaining in person and if you ever get the chance to go to one of her signings I would highly recommend doing so. (And don’t worry about freaking out and losing your cool! It’s perfectly normal!)
    Rachel Patrick recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (131)