Who are your 10 favorite authors?
(in no particular order)
1. Terry Pratchett – Terry Pratchett had this amazing quality to his writing. He had a burning anger and a cynical wit that could cut right to the bone, but it was tempered with such utter optimism about human potential, and I love him for it. I also feel like his Discworld series was a masterwork – each book focused on a small handful of qualities or characters, and then they would stick around and keep developing with every subsequent book until you had this extremely rich and intricate tapestry of detail.
2. Marcus Zusac -- The Book Thief always makes me cry. I can’t help it. It just does. Zusac has this incredible creativity with the way he writes, the way he phrases things, the way he structures plots. Some of that creativity is also risky, but I think they’re risks well worth taking.
3. Neil Gaiman – I don’t think you can be a fan of detail and creativity and not credit Neil Gaiman. You can go over his work with a fine-toothed comb a hundred times, and each time pick out a reference or a detail that you missed before. It’s especially fun for me as a fan of folklore. Every once in a while I’ll be reading about some obscure story from history, and suddenly I’ll look up and go “so that’s where that came from!”. It’s great.
4. Sabaa Tahir – An Ember in the Ashes and its sequel are my favorite series right now, and for the first time in ages I’m frustrated that I got in on the series so early on. I want to devour the whole thing right now, and it’s torture waiting for the next book! One of my favorite things is that she always kept you on your toes. You never know what’s going to be a feint or what’s going to be a blow straight to your gut. I’m also a huge fan of how she handled romance. It’s there, definitely, but it doesn’t become the driving force for social interactions, let alone plot, and that made the relationships that do exist feel a lot stronger and more real.
5. KA Applegate – The Animorphs was one of the first ‘serious’ book series I read as a kid, so there’s no beating the nostalgic factor there. But like Sabaa Tahir, Applegate never pulled punches in her writing, and that was especially risky given that she was writing to young audiences (she still does, as evidenced by The One and Only Ivan—holy crap, that book). Her writing is frank and hits hard, but it’s also not over the top. No matter what age group she’s writing for, you never feel talked down to when you read it.
6. Marissa Meyer – The Lunar Chronicles was another recent favorite of mine. Every writer who does fairy tale retellings walks a tightrope of having to stick to the traditional story while also telling one that’s original and unpredictable. Meyer doesn’t just walk the tightrope, she does cartwheels across it while juggling chainsaws. She also holds the honor of writing the single most satisfying series finale that I’ve ever read.
7. Alexandre Dumas – I’ll be upfront here: I like very little classic literature. I like very little literature, period, that was written before 2001 or so. Dumas is my biggest exception. The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite work of classic literature of all time, and is one of my favorite books ever. It’s exciting, it’s complex, it’s lacking a lot of the racism and misogyny inherent in its contemporaries (possibly that has something to do with the fact that it was written by a black man in the 1800s). I will forever be bitter that so few of my favorite characters ever make it into on-screen adaptations.
8. Naomi Novik – Novik wrote the Temeraire series, which is about the Napoleonic wars in an alternate history world where there are dragons. And let’s be real: I think she and I have very similar ideas about the personalities of dragons (I think Arkay and Iskierka would either be BFFS or they’d murder each other). I’m utterly blown away by the amount of research and care that’s packed into every book she writes—and also by the way she writes about colonialism. One of the things I noticed while reading the books is that while Laurence and Temeraire visit almost every continent, they don’t go about solving problems for the indigenous populations. They’re never the White (and Chinese) Saviors—at best, they facilitate small changes that allow the indigenous peoples to take back control of their lives on their own terms, but most of the time they’re running for their lives. I really appreciate that.
9. Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is another magical alternate history set around the Napoleonic wars—which is hilarious, because I’m fairly sure it’s the second ever that I’ve read, after Temeraire. (Maybe I should investigate the genre more thoroughly!) I’m in love with the detailed annotative style, but my favorite thing ever is just how masterfully all the threads are woven together in the end. It’s a work of art.
10. G. Willow Wilson – Wilson was the creator and writer of my favorite comic series, Ms. Marvel. I don’t think I’ve ever identified with a character so strongly, let alone in a single thirty-page comic book. I swear, every page and a half I found myself going “oh my gosh, I used to do that exact thing!” or “my parents gave me that same talk!” I feel like her writing really resonates with the young adult experience, with all its excitement and disappointment and the crushing stress of trying to live up to everything you’re supposed to be.
Mark of the Dragon
by JW Troemner
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Rosario Hernandez doesn't ask for much. She'd like to sleep on a bed instead of a sidewalk, to know where her next meal is coming from, and maybe, if she's really feeling optimistic, to get a girlfriend. More than anything, though, she wants her best friend Arkay to not murder anyone— because Arkay is a dragon, claws and all, and she has a penchant for vigilante justice. When Arkay's latest escapade goes sour, Rosario gets stuck with a stolen van and a cooler full of human organs. Now they're on the run, and it's not just the cops who want answers. The owner of the cooler is still out there, and they want to replace what they've lost— by any means necessary.
At the Precinct:
At least a dozen police officers had gathered in the hallway, their weapons drawn. Another half dozen moved along the walls of the interrogation room like a pack of wolves, watching for an opening in Arkay’s defenses.
My dragon crouched in the corner, snarling like an animal. The interrogation table had been torn into pieces and hurled through the one-way mirror. The ground was strewn with pulverized cinderblock and silvery crumbles of broken glass. Arkay’s handcuffs had been ripped apart, and the broken metal cut into her skin. Blood poured from her wrists, staining the twisted metal bar she brandished like a club.
One of the officers, a six-foot white guy who looked like he could bench press a horse, charged forward. She rushed forward to meet him, bending low to grab him by a thigh that was nearly as thick around as her waist. So fast I could barely follow it, she yanked him up and over her back, using his own momentum to hurl him into a wall. Blood darkened the fabric around his leg. I couldn’t tell if it was hers or his.
She snarled, and I ran past the last line of police into the tiny room. I stumbled between her and the fallen man, my hands outstretched.
“Arkay, it’s me!” I inched closer. She angled her body toward me, but her eyes kept darting to the officers around her. “See? They let me in. Everything’s okay now.”
She grabbed me by the wrist and yanked me into the corner behind her with a snarl.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
JW Troemner was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States, where she lives with her partner in a house full of pets. Most days she can be found gazing longingly at sinkholes and abandoned buildings.
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bRaRF5
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H8GI5HS
JW Troemner will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway