A much better question is “Who do you read?”
There are more than two dozen authors whose books I buy as soon as they come out, knowing they will be a “good read.” They are from many different genres. For the months between March and June of this year, my “want list” includes C. S. Harris, When Maidens Mourn (historical mystery), Rhys Bowen, Hush Now, Don’t You Cry (historical mystery), Amanda Quick, Crystal Gardens (historical romantic suspense), Nora Roberts, The Witness (romantic suspense), Mary Jo Putney, No Longer a Gentleman (historical romance), Nora Roberts, The Last Boyfriend (romance), Charlaine Harris, Deadlocked (paranormal mystery), Sara Poole, The Borgia Mistress (historical mystery), and Charles Todd, Unmarked Grave (historical mystery). I also have another list, of authors’ names to check for regularly to see if they have anything new out. In addition to those just mentioned, they are Kelley Armstrong, Jo Beverley, Jim Butcher, Jayne Castle, Carola Dunn, Kerry Greenwood, Kim Harrison, Joan Hess, Steve Hockensmith, Linda Howard, Jayne Anne Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell, Margaret Maron, Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Peters, Laura Resnick, J. D. Robb, Susan Sizemore, and Lauren Willig.
I also reread old favorites, books that are on my keeper shelves. Sometimes I read straight through an entire series. I’ve done this in the not too distant past with Rhys Bowen’s Evan Evans series and Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire novels. Some of my keepers go back a long way. I’ve posted about girls’ mystery series here already. As a teenager, I moved on to raiding my father’s bookshelves. He had all the Perry Masons. And he had historical novels. I devoured everything he owned by Thomas B. Costain, Margaret Campbell Barnes, and Frank Yerby. I read Desirée and Forever Amber and Gone With the Wind. When I was older, I discovered two more wonderful authors in the historical novel genre, Anya Seton and Dorothy Dunnett. When I found out that Dorothy Dunnett also wrote a caper-style mystery series, I wanted to grow up to be her! That’s why I picked the pseudonym I did.
I used to love the whole gothic/woman-in-jeopardy genre and I still have some of my favorites by Phyllis A. Whitney, Susan Howatch, and Barbara Michaels, but with the exception of a few like Michaels’s Ammie, Come Home, most of these don’t hold up very well. By the late 1980s, when I was first attempting to make a living by writing, the historical mystery genre had come into its own. I was writing romance novels, but I was reading the adventures of Brother Cadfael and discovering books by Elizabeth Peters, Anne Perry Lindsay Davis, and Sharan Newman. As Kathy Lynn Emerson, I was fortunate enough to be able to write two historical mystery series of my own, as well as a how-to book that is my take on the subject of writing historical mysteries, augmented by contributions from about fifty other historical mystery writers. I’m not writing historical mysteries at present, but I’m certainly reading them. A whole new crop of excellent writers has emerged. I just read an ARC of Joanna Campbell Slan’s Death of a Schoolgirl, set in 1820, and loved it. It will be in stores in August. There are also some superb crossover novels, stories published as historical fiction but containing a strong mystery element. Elizabeth Loupas’s The Second Duchess is one I’ve mentioned here before. I could go on and on, but I think I’d better stop with what I’ve written above—my not-so-short answer to the question of who my “favorite” is.
How hard would you find it to pick just one favorite author?