An Author’s Thoughts on Two Authors

Asking an author who their favorite author is might get you all sorts of interesting responses. They might say something like:

“Me. Duh!”

For me, it’s a loaded question. It might not be tantamount to climbing Mt. Everest or naming my favorite book, but it would be a pretty close third. (I’ll let YOU decide which of those first two items would be hardest for me.)

When someone reads as widely and voraciously as I do, they come in contact with a TON of authors. It’s easier for me to say, “I’m going through a Lindsay Buroker phase right now” when it comes to singling out an author. My criteria for what makes a good author and what differentiates them from an outstanding author isn’t the average list.

After all, I write books. I know what it takes to get words on a page. I know how tortuous it can be to edit each draft until the sentences sing in three-part harmony.

Good writing is work.

So while I might not be able to name my favorite author, I can easily name authors I admire. In this case, these would be authors I actually “know” rather than ones I’ve only read.

Today, I’m going to talk about two authors who have written scores of novels. These ladies write in similar genres: romance and suspense, albeit one for the general market and the other for the Christian market.

These are authors whose books I’ve recently finished reading and for whom I have reviewed at least ten books each (probably more). Let’s talk about Susan May Warren and Kait Nolan.

Award-Winning

I don’t even know what it takes to win an award. I think you can submit your books for some contests, but the awards these women have won are given by publishing professionals.

Let me speak plainly. Susie and Kait deserve more awards than they’ve won. They create characters I can relate to and make me care about them. Their books draw me in from the first page and often refuse to give me permission to get up for even a bathroom break.

But I don’t pick up books because the author is an award-winning or best-selling author. You know why? Because I’ve read plenty of books with those claims that bored me. And it’s only in the past decade I’ve decided to abandon books that don’t engage me. Before, I would skim and skip and put a book aside for months if it didn’t hold my attention.

Life’s too short to read a book I don’t love. Seriously. There are so many books out there I’ve yet to read, I don’t plan to waste hours reading one that can’t grab and keep my attention.

I did enough of that in college. *Glances toward the shelf where A Visit from the Goon Squad is buried behind other books she’ll never read again.

Let’s Talk Susie

Yes, I call Susan May Warren Susie. All of us who are members of her Novel Academy do it. If you ever met her, you’d immediately see she’s very “Susie.”

I met her at the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference in August 2017. Her class about being a professional author helped me organize my calendar in a way that kept me churning out novellas for a couple years.

Later that year, I stumbled on her Novel Academy blog and learned about the retreats she hosts. I decided that it was time to invest a major chunk of change in my author career. I joined Novel Academy and signed up to attend the Deep Thinker’s Writing Retreat in February 2018.

That’s when I really got to know Susie and the team of authors who work with her at My Book Therapy.

Although the brainstorming we did on my novella at that retreat threw me off my game a bit, I learned how to write better characters. This is one of the things Susie does well, and it was incredible to have her work through the process she uses.

What I like best about Susie’s characters is their humanity is authentic and relatable. She always gives the perfect payoff, too.

Let’s Talk Kait

I’ve never met Kait Nolan in person, but I have worked with her on a boxed set. We corresponded through a Facebook Group and email for this project, and I learned a ton about being an indie author through the process.

While Susie is a hybrid (both traditional and indie published) author, I believe Kait is solely indie. This means she hires a cover designer, editor and proofreader and possibly even a formatter for each of her books. They are as professionally done as anything I’ve seen the major houses turn out.

Kait writes steamy romances and romantic suspense. This isn’t for everyone. Those who know me understand that I don’t read erotica, horror or thrillers. Kait’s stories are not erotica. She generally has one hot, bedroom scene in each of her novels, and the relationship between her characters is always (although I can think of a couple exceptions where it didn’t feel like it) based on more than physical attraction.

What I love about Kait’s books is the small town settings. She draws a believable world of side characters that bring the books to life. Each novel isn’t just a new story, it’s a return visit to Wishful, Mississippi or Eden’s Ridge.

For many years, I devoured small-town series. Then I fell out of the habit of reading them because I had been drawn to other genres. Now, I’m back–for Kait’s novels anyway. I tried to read some other popular authors who write books in a shared setting, and none of them draw me in the same way.

Next week, I’ll compare the two most recent books by these authors. If you don’t usually read book reviews, I want you to know, this isn’t going to be the usual stale book review.

Who is YOUR favorite author? Why do you LOVE them?

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.

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