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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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. :)