I have many favorite books, but the first time I got this type of question I was embarrassed when I heard other replies. The real question was what were the first books that influenced you. Influence meaning changed your perception of the world. My friends and fellow writers were all mentioning books they read as children, Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Harriett the Spy, Pippi Longstocking. I never even knew those were books. They were movies. I never heard of Nancy Drew until the television series came on. Laura Engalls was not part of my circle of influence. I read a series of young adult books by Rosamund du Jardin and I read biographies.
The first book that changed my perception of the world was The Stand by Stephen King. It’s a horror tale and you may be gasping in horror as you read this, but from that book I understood that all of us, me included, would have to take a stand on whatever we believe is right in this world. Life presents us with challenges and we were obligated, to ourselves if no one else, to do what we believe and to stand by that decision. So when I think of favorite book, The Stand is on the top of the list.
I cut my teeth on reading romance novels. Emilie Loring, who wrote books set in the 1940’s (contemporary times for her) and had already died by the time I discovered her, was the first author I read and loved. I wished I’d saved her books. They were full of the concerns that people in the northeastern seaboard had about Germans invading the U.S. during World War II. They also had what I came to know years after I began writing as the “feisty” heroine. Her heroines were no wilting flowers. They were strong and spoke their minds, even to the hero, especially to the hero. They were the women of the ‘90’s back in the ‘40’s.
Sandra Brown became a favorite later on and she continues to be on my automatic buy list. I’ve never been disappointed by her. Having her roots in series romance and then single title, she moved to writing thrillers and suspense with romantic elements. The plot twists of these larger books only added to my enjoyment. Charade, Exclusive, and Envy remain all time favorites, although anything she’s written is a favorite.
Dean Koontz, for me, is an author to study. If you read his books in the order he wrote them, you’ll find each one is better than the one before. I want to be like him when I grow up. Favorites are hard to choose because the last one is the best one. I especially like the Christopher Snow novels, Fear Nothing and Seize the Night. At the end of Seize the Night, I was convinced there would be a third book called Torpedo Alley. The ending was set up for a third book in the series, but so far he hasn’t written it and I have not written him requesting it. The Key to Midnight is high on my list of favorites. For Dean Koontz, I’m a collector. I keep all his books, in any pseudonym he’s used, even his children’s book and a book on writing. And, a little known fact to his legends of thriller/horror fans, he wrote romances at one time for Harlequin.
The first African American romance author I read was Sandra Kitt, Adam and Eva. She was the forerunner for an entire list of favorites. Donna Hill’s, Rooms of the Heart. Eboni Snoe’s The Ties That Bind. Francis Ray’s Any Rich Man Will Do. Felicia Mason’s For the Love of You.
I can’t forget Jill Jones, whose first book Emilie’s Secret spawned a genre of its own. Jill hasn’t written that many books, but her back list pumps a wallop in enjoyment of reading.
Like one other author said, the list of favorites can change from day to day. These are some of those I love. I hope you do too.