For this November 2021 edition, I chose Charlaine Harris.
She is a New York Times bestselling author with multiple series, several of which are supernatural in nature.
Why I picked her: Harris has been a big influence on my own writing. I first found her through her Sookie Stackhouse series—it was part of my intro into the paranormal fiction world and what a way to dive in! I love how human and relatable Sookie is, as well as the sense of humor in the series.
While I started with Sookie, I’ve since gobbled up Harris’s other supernatural series too. I really enjoy her writing. I find it really accessible, an easy read if you will, while at the same time being so good it’s hard to put down.
As for Harris’s impact on my writing, I recognized in Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series the kind of writing I wanted to do: readable, unputdownable, fun, and funny—an escape and a magical adventure. When I get asked about my writing voice, I say that on my very best day, I hope my writing has echoes of her Sookie Stackhouse style mixed with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum style.
And, of course, Harris has a career that I really look up to. She has multiple very successful series, two of which have been made into TV series—both goals that I aspire to.
Book I recommend you start with*: Not to be obvious, but I’d start with her Sookie Stackhouse series (book 1 is Dead Until Dark). From there, I’d recommend checking out the Harper Connelly series (book 1 is Grave Sight—like the Sookie series, this series is complete) or her current supernatural/western/Russian-magic mashup the Gunnie Rose series (book 1 is An Easy Death).
* One of my readers asked me to add a trigger warning, so I’m posting this addendum. Harris deals with some dark themes in some of her work and that may be scary or triggering to some readers, so please be sure to check out the descriptions before diving into her work.