Posts filed under 'Authors'
Some readers enjoy novels by favorite celebrities while others bemoan the fact that celebrity novels, perhaps, are published to the detriment of more talented writers without name recognition. Whether you seek them out or not, it appears that celebrity-written novels are here to stay. Some of them are actually quite good and receive excellent reviews while others must rest on the fame of the author. I have looked at a few lists of celebrity novelists and find them incomplete so I’ve decided to create my own list (which will also be incomplete). Please let me know who I’ve missed!
Allen, Steve. The Murder Game and others.
Barris, Chuck. The Big Question
Buffett, Jimmy. A Salty Piece of Land
Burton, LeVar. Aftermath
Conrad, Lauren. L.A. Candy and Sweet Little Lies
Collins, Joan. Infamous and others
Douglas, Kirk. Dance with the Devil and others
Ferguson, Craig. Between the Bridge and the River
Fisher, Carrie. Postcards from the Edge and others
Flagg, Fannie. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and others
Friedman, Kinky. A Case of Lone Star and others
Idle, Eric. The Road to Mars
Keillor, Garrison. Lake Wobegon Days and others
Laurie, Hugh. The Gun Seller
Martin, Steve. Shopgirl
Reiner, Carl. Continue Laughing and others
Shatner, William. Quest for Tomorrow science fiction series and others
Tilly, Meg. Singing Songs
Underwood, Blair. Casanegra
Wilder, Gene. My French Whore
June 2nd, 2010
Well, it’s officially 2010, amazing as that may seem, and most people are looking ahead to the new year, making their resolutions…and resolving not to break them this time. But before we move forward, let’s take a moment to look back over the last year and remember some of the great novelists and writers who passed away. Though they themselves are gone, here’s to hoping their great works of fiction and nonfiction survive for many years to come!
John Updike, January 27 2009
Philip Jose Farmer, February 25,2009
J.G. Ballard, April 19, 2009
David Eddings, June 2, 2009
John A. Keel, July 3, 2009
Frank McCourt, July 19 2009
E. Lynn Harris, July 23, 2009
William G. Tapply, July 28, 2009
Elmer Kelton, August 22, 2009
Dominick Dunne, August 26, 2009
Stuart Kaminksy, October 9, 2009
January 6th, 2010
The wildly popular Dan Brown finally has a new book coming out this fall. “The Lost Symbol” is the third of the Robert Langdon thrillers after “Angels and Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code.” It promises more of the elements that made those two books so popular—secret societies, religious commentary, complicated codes, world-threatening conspiracies involving artists and writers throughout history, and a fast-paced plot. We already have a waiting list going on the new book, and have ever since publication was annouced…about six months ago! If you just can’t wait to get your hands on this new thriller and need something to keep yourself going until your hold comes in, here is a list of books you might enjoy. They all contain at least one plot element comparable to those in Dan Brown’s thrillers, so there is something here for everyone!
Matilde Asensi. The Last Cato
Steve Berry. The Third Secret
Ian Caldwell. The Rule of Four
Jennifer Carrell. Interred with their Bones
Noah Charney. The Art Thief
Jill Gregory. The Book of Names
Michael Gruber. The Book of Air and Shadows
Raymond Khoury. The Last Templar
Ross King. Ex-Libris
Eric van Lustbader. The Testament
Kathleen McGowan. The Book of Love
Brad Meltzer. The Book of Fate
Katherine Neville. The Eight
Iain Pears. The Last Judgement
Douglas Preston. The Codex
Jose Rodriguez dos Santos. Codex 632
Manda Scott. The Crystal Skull
Javier Sierra. The Secret Supper
Daniel Silva. The Confessor
Rebecca Stott. Ghostwalk
Paul Sussman. The Last Secret of the Temple
Alan Wall. The School of Night
September 6th, 2009
Julia Glass. If you enjoy and admire her works, please share your comments. If you don’t know her three novels, here are a few thoughts that might get you interested in reading this engaging author. If you want more details, ask; these few comments are meant to spark your interest and get you started on some enjoyable and thoughtful books. All her novels feature complex and interesting characters and the themes of love, joy, ties of family and friendship, grief and death. All are also notable for varied settings, beautifully detailed, including New York City as a central location in all three works.
Glass’ first novel, Three Junes, won the National Book Award for fiction in 2002. In this beautifully constructed novel, the lives of a Scottish family intersect with others over three summers spanning ten years. Greece, Scotland, and Greenwich Village are the physical settings for this story rich in characters, ideas, and emotions. Her second novel, The Whole World Over, features some characters from Three Junes and many new individuals, interacting in New York City before and after September 11, 2001. Chance and choice are also featured themes. I See You Everywhere is her most recent work. Featured are two sisters, Louisa and Clem, and their lives and choices over a span of 25 years, from 1980 to 2005. Some episodes in this novel are beautifully written and some are less satisfying, as the life journeys of the sisters, each struggling to find her way, are lovingly detailed.
June 5th, 2009
When Primary Colors came out, everyone speculated wildly about who might be the anonymous author. Names were bandied about including Gary Trudeau and George Stephanopoulos before reporter Joe Klein claimed it. Then there was The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My life at Rose Red, supposedly edited by Joyce Reardon. Many were certain it was actually the work of Stephen King, but it turned out to have been written by Ridley Pearson. There’s also Oakwood Confidential, which is a novel based on the soap opera As the World Turns and is a dishy tell-all by one of the soap’s characters, who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous. This last one is a fake expose about a fictional town by a television character who doesn’t wish to be revealed. This is as unreal as it gets. More recently, Imperial Hubris came out with an anonymous author, later revealed to be Michael Scheuer.
In children’s fiction there’s A Series of Unfortunate Events by “Lemony Snickett”, who is actually Daniel Handler, and the classic Go Ask Alice who was finally unveiled as Beatrice Sparks, a psychologist who first claimed to have edited the book, and later admitted to authoring it based on a diary.
One thing is for sure about anonymous or veiled authors–it generates a buzz and plenty of speculation which is great for marketing and a lot of fun for readers who spend plenty of time guessing!
March 29th, 2009
I attended a mystery writers conference over the weekend in which workshops and classes were conducted by authors including Jeffery Deaver, Steve Berry, and Sharan Newman. It was exciting to meet these authors and to hear what they had to say about their craft and about the business of writing mysteries and thrillers.
A lot of questions had to do with the amount of time one spends writing, the number of times one submits a manuscript, the number of rejections one accepts before giving up on a particular idea and the amount of promotion an author must do on his or her own to assure success. The one answer I heard repeatedly during the conference was that of persistence. Steve Berry explained that The Amber Room was rejected 86 times before it was published. Sharan Newman had one book rejected 23 times before it was picked up. It’s not always the book, sometimes it’s the trends and the times that determines a book’s marketability. Berry explained that his books didn’t begin to sell until The Da Vinci Code became popular and set a trend for international thrillers.
Even with several books on the shelves and a backlist that continues to sell, I didn’t hear any of these authors taking their continued success for granted. It was their perseverance that got them a contract, and it will likely be that same determination that will keep them in the game. Next time I email a favorite author (yes, I do this from time to time), I’ll have to remember to send along my appreciation for submitting that manuscript one more time.
February 10th, 2009
Well, it’s officially 2009, amazing as that may seem, and most people are looking ahead to the new year, making their resolutions…and resolving not to break them this time. But before we move forward, let’s take a moment to look back over the last year and remember some of the great novelists and writers who passed away. Though they themselves are gone, here’s to hoping their great works of fiction and nonfiction survive for many years to come!
Arthur C Clarke (December 16, 1917 – March 19, 2008)
Michael Crichton (October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008)
Tony Hillerman (May 27, 1925 – October 26, 2008)
Nuala O’Faolain (March 1, 1940 – May 9, 2008)
Harold Pinter (October 10, 1930 – December 24, 2008)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (December 11, 1918 – August 3, 2008)
Studs Terkel (May 16, 1912 – October 31 2008)
Donald E Westlake (July 12, 1933 – December 31, 2008)
January 12th, 2009
Literary skill seems to run in the family! Or perhaps like simply calls to like. Many famous authors are married to…you guessed it! Other famous authors! One obvious example is the powerhouse mystery-writing couple of Faye and Jonathan Kellerman—not to mention their son Jesse, who’s now in the family business himself! Aimee and David Thurlo also write popular mysteries together. Stephen and Tabitha King are another literary love story, with their son Joseph Hill King now writing horror as Joe Hill. But not all the couples are quite so obvious, since many don’t choose to publish using the same last name. If you’re interesting in seeing just how much these authorial spouses have rubbed off on one another, here’s a list of famous authors and their famous author other halves.
• Nicole Krauss (The History of Love) and Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
• Paul Auster (Man in the Dark) and Siri Hustvedt (The Sorrows of an American)
• Emma Bull (Territory) and Will Shetterly (The Gospel of the Knife)
• Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides) and Cassandra King (The Sunday Wife)
• Geraldine Brooks (People of the Book) and Tony Horwitz (A Voyage Long and Strange)
• Harold Pinter (The Homecoming) and Antonia Fraser (Marie Antoinette: The Journey)
• Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) and Ayelet Waldman (Love and Other Impossible Pursuits)
• Peter Dickinson (The Yellow Room Conspiracy) and Robin McKinley (Sunshine)
December 29th, 2008
Bill Bryson’s appeal is that he is everyman who is thrust into bizarre locations and situations. Bryson then takes the unusual, polishes it, and holds it up to slightly twisted scrutiny until it becomes absurd and often hilarious. Bill Bryson’s travel essays generally begin with a very rational premise and plan, which begin to unravel as soon as the unforeseen rears its head. Fortunately, rather than panic, Bryson simply finds the nonsensical, has a good laugh, and moves along.
Not all of Bryson’s work is travel-related. His popular memoir “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” takes readers back to 1950’s Iowa, a place where on any given summer night you could round up enough kids for an impromptu baseball game, and where all the neighbors came to admire a new major appliance freshly delivered. Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” is an ambitious piece that provides an overview of world history sans his usual humor, but is wonderfully entertaining and informative nonetheless.
Here is Bryson’s bibliography:
- The Facts on File Dictionary of Troublesome Words
- The Palace under the Alps, and Over Two-Hundred Other Unusual, Unspoiled, and Infrequently Visited Spots in Sixteen European Countries
- The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
- The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way
- Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe
- The Penguin Dictionary for Writers and Editors
- Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States
- Notes from a Small Island: An Affectionate Portrait of Britain
- A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
- I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America after Twenty Years Away
- In a Sunburned Country
- Bill Bryson’s African Diary
- Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words
- A Short History of Nearly Everything
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
December 12th, 2008
I’m looking at the fiction shelves trying to determine just by looking which authors are the most prolific. Of course this is something of a fools errand since many of the books of the most popular authors are checked out.
I think, without a doubt though, that Joyce Carol Oates is high on the list. Certainly there’s room for Nora Roberts, Dick Francis, and James Patterson as well. These are all very popular authors and as soon as they publish a new book, it hits the bestselling list somewhere or other and falls off the list as the next one hits the presses. I don’t go through a day without hearing a request for one of their books. There are others who have created large bodies of work who don’t get a lot of attention anymore. I’m thinking of authors like Louis Auchincloss, Barbara Cartland, Marion Chesney, Agatha Christie, and Jean Plaidy who were all very popular and prolific in their careers. Then there are people like Georges Simenon (Maigret series) who wrote hundreds of novels during his career. It looks like we own over 90 of his books in our current collection. I wonder if we ever owned them all and if we did, where we put them.
So who do you think should be on the list for the most prolific novelist currently publishing?
November 25th, 2008
Those of you who have asked me for a fast-paced thriller are likely to have been handed a book by Joseph Finder. Born in Chicago, Finder spent his early childhood and living in Afghanistan and the Philippines before his family returned to the U.S. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Yale, Finder went on to Harvard where he received his Master’s degree at the Harvard Russian Research Center. (http://www.josephfinder.com).
Finder published his first novel, The Moscow Club, in 1991 and his second, Extraordinary Powers, in 1994. Both of these novels dealt with Soviet intelligence. Finder’s fifth novel, Paranoia, was the first to take place in the corporate world and its quick pacing, sympathetic young protagonist, and action-filled plot made it a favorite among thriller fans. He has since written three more thrillers which all take place in the corporate world.
Here is Joseph Finder’s Bibliography:
The Moscow Club 1991
Extraordinary Powers 1994
The Zero Hour 1996
High Crimes 1998
Company Man 2005
Killer Instinct 2006
Power Play 2007
November 3rd, 2008
Alice Hoffman was born and raised in New York. After receiving her B.A. from Adelphi University and while working on her M.A. from Stanford University Creative Writing Center, she published her first novel. Now a resident of Boston and New York, she’s published numerous novels, children’s fiction, and two short story collections. Her novels feature mostly female characters and deal with family or generational issues. Some of Hoffman’s novels include fantastic or magical elements and these read more like fairy tales placed in modern settings than contemporary novels. In the Probable Future, for example, each of the three women in the Sparrow family has a special talent. One can interpret dreams, another can tell if someone is lying, and the third can tell how and when a person will die. Here is Hoffman’s bibliography:
Property Of, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1977.
The Drowning Season, Dutton (New York, NY), 1979.
Angel Landing, Putnam (New York, NY), 1980.
White Horses, Putnam (New York, NY), 1982.
Fortune’s Daughter, Putnam (New York, NY), 1985.
llumination Night, Putnam (New York, NY), 1987.
At Risk, Putnam (New York, NY), 1988.
Seventh Heaven, Putnam (New York, NY), 1990.
Turtle Moon, Berkley (New York, NY), 1993
Second Nature, Putnam (New York, NY), 1994.
Practical Magic, Putnam (New York, NY), 1995.
Here on Earth, Putnam (New York, NY), 1997.
The River King, Putnam (New York, NY), 2000.
Blue Diary, Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.
The Probable Future, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2003.
Blackbird House, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2004.
The Ice Queen, Little, Brown and Company (New York, NY), 2005.
The Foretelling, Little, Brown and Company (New York, NY), 2005.
Incantation, Little, Brown and Company (New York, NY), 2006.
Skylight Confessions, Little, Brown and Company (New York, NY), 2007.
For readalikes, try: Alice McDermott, Isabel Allende, W.P. Kinsella, Francesca Lia Block, or Margaret Atwood.
October 11th, 2008