This week is a tough one. Like really crazy tough, because there are so many authors that are favourites. Those who have written incredible series and bring out book after book of wonderfulness, and those who have written a single standalone that stays with you. And there are some who maybe their books aren't in your top favourites, but they are such wonderful kind and fabulous people that they sneak in anyway. They all deserve recognition and that makes it incredibly hard to narrow it down to just ten.
But I'm going to try... So here, in no particular order are my top ten all time favourite authors.
I finished reading a Gail Carriger book and went on Amazon to see if they could recommend me anything similar and 'Silent in the Grave' the first book in the Lady Julia series popped up. I devoured it (and the following two books) in record time and so began a love affair with Deanna Raybourn's books that I have never looked back from. I know that if Raybourn has written it, it is going to be supberb. She has the rare and dangerous gift of being able to create wonderfully real characters and put them into worlds so real you can almost taste them. When I dive into one of her books I know I am going to be immersed in an incredible story with wonderful and evocative writing. She researches so thoroughly that every story feels as though it is real and as though you are truly stepping into the country and time period depicted. No matter the story, Raybourn's books will always be a favourite and her a favourite author.
I came to Maggie late, discovering her only with the publication of 'The Scorpio Races'. Nothing I have read comes close to what Maggie does with her tales. They are full of subtle magics, incredible characters and books that pull you in and make you fall in love until they become a part of you. 'The Scorpio Races' and then 'The Raven Cycle' are utterly stunning books, ones that always take my breath away. I am utterly in awe and cannot even put into words how incredible these books and Maggie's writing is. I adore them, and I couldn't ever do without them.
The first time I read Graceling I disliked it. Then I waited a few years and read it again and fell in love, followed swiftly by Fire and Bitterblue and all three rocketed straight up into all time favourite books. For some reason reading Graceling for the first time I was in completely the wrong frame of mind, and I am so, so glad that I went back and re-read it because I cannot imagine not having these three books in my life. I listen to the audiobooks regularly (currently my go-to audiobook is Fire) and also go and check out Kristin's blog. Her blog is a fascinating mix of writing and editing and random things and pretty pictures and I love hearing each update from her corner of the world. I'm eagerly awaiting her follow up book to The Seven Kingdoms series, but in the mean time I more than love checking out the blog posts and re-reading these favourites.
Sarah Rees BrennanI first found Sarah's work when she was writing Harry Potter fan-fiction. And it was brilliant. It was witty and sarcastic and brilliant and fleshed out characters in whole new ways and introduced me to this idea that writing could be fun. Then she went to do an MA in Creative Writing and I couldn't believe it. The idea of studying writing at uni had never crossed my mind before that point and she introduced me to the idea that maybe I could write. And then she got her books published and she blew me away all over again with how incredibly wonderful her writing was. It was everything I had fallen in love with all those years ago when I read her fan fic, but polished, refined and with her own incredible characters and plots. Her writing is incredible, it remains some of the funniest and most bittersweet and her characters are some of the most complex. But as well as all that she will always be the person who showed me that achieving my dream of writing was actually possible, and I will always remember that.
Tamora PierceI first discovered Pierce's books when I was 11 and desperately seeking any sort of distraction from the books in the school library. None of them were particularly great and then I discovered Alanna in The Song of the Lioness Quartet and I fell in love. Pierce's books always have magic in them and they always feature fantastic characters. Strong women who aren't afraid to fight for what they want and be who they were meant to be, regardless of what society thinks they should do. And strong men who are loyal and kind and aren't afraid to show weakness, frailty, or love. I got lost in these books, I wished I could live in these books, and I still love going back and re-reading them to this day. They are wonderful and full of such brilliant depths of imagination and that is what makes her one of my favourite authors.
Do I really need to say anything? Like pretty much every other Potter fan, I fell in love with Harry and Ron and Hermione and never looked back. Rowling created a world I wanted to live in, Hogwarts is somewhere I can never wait to return to, and I was one of the lucky generation who grew up with Harry. With each new book I was older, so was he, and the world got darker and more dangerous as we explored it. Rowling did the extrordinary, she created a world that bridges language and country. Everyone who has fallen in love with Hogwarts is connected by these books and the love of reading they inspired, and I adore her for that.
If Tamora Pierce introduced me to fantasy as a child, Neil Gaiman introduced
me to a whole new breed of fantasty as an adult. Gaiman's books are incredible with such vivid and terrifying imagination filling each page. I started with Neverwhere and fell in love with London, moved on to Stardust and found a whole new type of fairytale with heroines who swore and hero's who weren't really hero's at all to start with, and moved onto American Gods and wept from the sheer brilliance and scope of the story. Gaiman's stories in turn delight and terrify and he is such a kind and generous author, both with his stories and his time. If you ever get the chance to go to a talk of his, I highly recommend it.
Julia QuinnQuinn introduced me to the idea of romance and true love. I mean I'd discovered it in fairytales and other such things, but this was my first foray into true romance and I loved it. Quinn's stories are always fresh and funny, brilliantly written and featuring wonderful characters. She reminds me again and again that happily ever after's are indeed possible and that true love really does exist, even when the world is a terrible place I know that Quinn will provide a ray of sunshine and I love her and her books for that.
I was a precocious reader as a child, and as a result I found a lot of books and authors that I didn't fully appreciate until revisiting them when I was a bit older. Jasper Fforde is one of those authors, and whilst I loved him when I was younger, his books are utterly fantastic reading them as an adult. They are brilliantly imaginative, twisted and hilarious. His debut novel 'The Eyre Affair' plays with tropes and expectations so brilliantly, and I adore his haphazard and genius thought process that produces such ingenious books.
Gail CarrigerMy first dip into steampunk, Gail's covers grabbed my attention and her witty and sharp writing kept me entertained for hours. She is still my favourite steampunk author and if I want a melodrama of manners with tea, pesto, vampires and werewolves she is my go to author I love - and she has the most awesome blog and twitter presence. There's always something new and exciting to see if you go on her blog or follow her and I love seeing the strange, weird and wonderful things that pop up.
So there you have my top ten favourite authors. Can you manage to pick only ten of your favourites? If so tell me in the comments below! You can also check out interviews with Deanna Raybourn, Sarah Rees Brennan & Gail Carriger in the author interviews tab at the top of the page.