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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

So. What is it?

by Nicole Petrino-Salter


We all have our favorite authors. We look forward to their new books, wait for them - sometimes impatiently - and rush to buy them on the day of their release. Some of us stick to a genre and others of us are all over the vast array of genres.

So. What is it that makes them our favorites? We could simplify our answers with declarations like "I love the way he writes." Or "She has this lovely prose." Or "I can't put his thrillers down." Or "She always makes me laugh." "Or cry." "Or wonder." Or . . .

Can you be specific about your favorite writers? What really makes you look for their books? Can you identify what appeals to you. Do your favorite authors inspire you?

I could list several of my favorites in the genres I prefer, and I could tell you why I love their writing, but . . . I'm not going to do that. I will tell you this: when I read some of my favorite's books, I'm inspired to write deeper, stronger, better. That's why they're my favorites.

Nicole Petrino-Salter writes love stories with a passion. You can find her most days here.


  1. One of my favorite authors is Eva Marie Everson. She writes Southern books that take me to wonderful places I haven't been before. Her stories speak to my heart and make me sigh after I'm done.

    Barbara Davis is another and newer writer, who also writes Southern fiction. Always romantic, but not necessarily containing a romance.

    I think my favorite authors have a setting that appeals to the romantic in me (again this doesn't mean romance). If the story and setting spark a longing in me, I'm hooked. Some others who do that are:
    Deborah Raney
    Gina Holmes
    Sally John
    Sarah Addison Allen
    Cynthia Ruchti

  2. What I'm looking for in a book:

    - Generally historicals or thrillers
    - Books that have wide-reaching, complex storylines. Doesn't have to be a global scale, but far reaching--something that really digs into a culture, a region. A book that teaches me something, gives me something out of the ordinary, and gives me something to think about. I'm looking for stories that give me some ideas on how society could improve--the lessons we've learned (or haven't) and where we go from here.
    - High on the action side
    - Buddy stories--this is an extension of habits formed growing up watching TV. My favorite television shows were stories of buddies (usually men) who banded together to achieve a common goal. You don't find much of this in fiction, unfortunately. At least not much that has come across my radar.

  3. Ane, so it's well done setting as a character that makes an author special to you (and I love some of the authors you listed), and for you, Brenda: those who write provocative depth and complex plots, friendship, and intense action.

  4. My favorite authors are those who take unlikely characters and make them totally believable in the most unlikely settings they are thrust into. Dean Koontz' later works - minus a few absolute misfires - is one. His Odd Thomas series he finally completed is a great example. Odd (yes that's his name) is a humble fry cook who sees hints that terrible things are going to happen to innocent people. From book one to seven, his one simple desire is to be with the love of his young life. Yes, Koontz had evil protagonist, But they never overshadow nor take center stage from Odd's quest.

    On the CBA side, Athol Dickson has left one character seared in my conscience. Riley Keep - The Cure - is with me almost every day. Yes, the story and plot are great, but it is the character who lives with me.

  5. Tim, there is nothing like a great character - as you said: "seared in my conscience". Nothing like them. I don't need them to be particularly unusual, but I do need them to impact me.

  6. My tastes are all over the place genre-wise. I love Steven James' page-turning thrillers, Laura Frantz's musical prose, Charles Martin's deep ponderings, & Becky Wade's authentic characters.

    I think the one thing that's common among those authors is intelligent writing. Their prose isn't simple, their stories are complex, their characters are multi-faceted. When I read their books, I'm forced to think, and I don't--can't--skim. I love a story that challenges me to think outside of my narrow box.

  7. Excellent qualities, Bren. I agree.


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