My Keeper Shelf

Writers I admire, huh? How much time do I have?

I tend to hyperventilate when I think that sometime in my life I will meet Kristan Higgins and laugh (and cry) so hard that my life is changed by it. I will end that meeting happier and more satisfied and—yes, more waterlogged—than when I began it. Because that’s how I feel every time I read one of her books, and believe me when I say that feeling is an absolute gift.

When I think of meeting Kathleen Gilles Seidel, my blood gets thumpy in my veins because I know we’re going to talk about sewing and writing and reading and what makes us tick as women. And I probably won’t say much because she has a way with words that silences me. This could, I guess, be a bad thing, but it isn’t—it just means reading one of her books is a reward I give myself when I’ve finished a good day of writing my own.

When I see Shirley Jump again—which I hope I do this winter. Lunch, right?—I’m going to tell her she’s one of the most generous people I know. She works way harder than I ever want to and she writes a lot and runs more miles than I can walk. She knows a lot and she shares what she knows. Unstintingly.

I’m not by any means an anglophile—I think all my history-and-culture-liking cells are used up by American history—but if I ever meet Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly, I’m going to thank them for giving me the Regency period in Great Britain. (Carla’s taken me to a few other times and places, too, but she won me as a fan with a book placed in the Regency—and kept me.)

There are so many I don’t even begin to scratch the surface when I try to list the writers I admire. There is JoAnn Ross, whose life-and-career experiences have enriched everyone who’s ever read them. Robyn Carr who I swear has made writing a series into an art form. Pamela Morsi who went from writing historical to contemporary with barely a seam. LaVyrle Spencer and Maggie Osborne who retired way too soon but enriched and changed lives before they did. Muriel Jensen, Cheryl Reavis, and the many more who write the category books that are the foundation of my keeper shelf. And, of course, Nora Roberts.

I love the books these women write. I also admire them as people. I’ll probably never meet most of them—which is just as well, because I’d no doubt spill my wine and stammer—so I’ll just take this opportunity to say what I’d like them to hear.

Thanks for everything. It’s been such a pleasure.


My Keeper Shelf — 27 Comments

  1. My keeper shelf has some authors in common with yours, and yes, Kristan Higgins is a pure sweetie. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her, and believe me, you wouldn’t stammer or spill your wine at all. You’d be too engrossed in conversation to notice your nerves.

    Over the last few years I’ve met a number of my keeper shelf authors. They all have one thing in common – they are authentic, just like their writing. And that’s what keeps me buying/reading their books!

  2. Great list, Liz–you’ve included several of my own favorites. Personally, I would add Lani Diane Rich, who writes with such a sense of fun and panache–she always makes me smile. Diana Gabaldon for her amazing world-building and research. Gene Stratton Porter and Lucy Maud Montgomery when I need to escape into a simpler, more innocent time. And always, Liz Flaherty, when I need a comfort read that touches my heart–my friend, no one has as much a gift for eloquence as you! I admit I was worried I’d be tongue-tied and star-struck when I first met you, but no surprise–you’re as friendly and comfortable as your novels. Thanks!

  3. I smiled when I read your comments on meeting favorite authors. A couple of times, I’ve been a total Fan Girl, then hoped I hadn’t made a total idiot of myself. I’m a historical kind of reader and although I can’t list them all, some of my fav’s are Mary Balogh, Jo Beverly, Joanna Bourne, Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sharon Kay Penman–and so many more. Loved the post, Liz.

    • Thanks, Barb. I’m always afraid I’ll come across as a stalker–I’m not one, honest! I actually enjoyed reading more before sold any books of my own, but I’ve definitely learned to appreciate other writers since.

  4. Fabulous list. I have some pretty intense fangirl tendencies, but I swing in the opposite direction. I try to avoid actually meeting people I admire because I don’t want to make a fool of myself in front of them. :)

  5. I’m reading a Kristan Higgins book right now and loving it. I have books by Johanna Lindsey, Jude Deveraux, Lisa Kleypas, Jill Shalvis, Maya Banks and so many more on my keeper shelf that it’s become a keeper bookshelf. :o)

  6. Wonderful list, Liz. Kristan Higgins certainly left me in first in stitches and then in tears when she gave her address at RWA this year. I’m a big fan of the gals who write contemporary romance in my local RWA chapter. Linda Morris, Sandy James, yourself, Nan Reinhardt, just to name a few have written some of my favorites.

  7. Liz–well, besides my blogmates, I’d have to say, Sarah Addison Allen, J.K.Rowling, Sophie Kinsella, and Emily Giffin. The one author I would’ve loved to sit down and chat with would’ve been Michael Crichton–I think he was a genius and the conversation would be totally over my head, but I also think he’d be fascinating.

  8. I’ve heard other people say that about Michael Crichton, Margie. J. K. Rowling is one of my favorites for the Harry Potter series, but I had some trouble with her first adult book. Haven’t read the mystery yet.

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