Yes, yes. All right. The more astute among you might have realised that today’s blog post is, basically, a Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted as usual by The Broke and the Bookish – and, it being Wednesday, I have a cheek to even consider using it. But I’m throwing the rulebook out the window again, mainly because I can (and also because it’s fun).
So. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
I write a lot on here about authors I love, and so I’m really going to try to talk about people today who are not only new (ish), but also writery people I really want to meet. I’ve also realised that I’ve actually met (or been in rooms with, at the very least) several members of my literary firmament already – Neil Gaiman, Jeanette Winterson and John Connolly spring to mind – so they won’t feature here. This made me feel quite lucky, but also a bit peeved that I had to knock three stellar writers off my list.
In any case, here we go. In no particular order, here are ten authors I’d love to meet, and maybe – who knows? – it’ll happen one day.
I read (and loved) Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus the second it was published, as is evidenced by the fact that I own it in trade paperback. It’s a gorgeous, imaginative romp through a landscape full of well-drawn and beautifully described characters and settings, flavoured with plenty of magical realism and oodles of ethereal romance. It’s a wonderful book, and for months after its publication I had friends from all over the world recommending it to me in gushing, breathy tones; I was always very glad (and perhaps even a little smug) to tell them I’d read it already. So, I’d love to meet Ms Morgenstern, simply to tell her three things: I love her book, I love her surname, and I’m impatiently waiting for her to write another novel.
Mr Butcher writes (among other things) the funny Dresden Files series of novels about Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the Chicago phone book, which I’ve been following for some years now. I don’t have the complete series, but it’s something I keep meaning to rectify, as the stories are compelling, scary when they need to be and hilarious most of the time, and Harry is an excellent character (if, perhaps, a little too invested in the physical attributes of the women around him – but that’s meat for another post). I love the fact that there’s a kick-ass female cop (Karrin Murphy) as well as a scary-as-all-hell Fairy Queen (Mab) who provides more than enough in the line of ‘fierce adversary’, and together they almost make up for Dresden’s occasional lecherous thoughts about other people of the lady persuasion. Plus, I love Mouse, Harry’s otherworldly guard dog, and Bob, the wisecracking skull, and just – everything about this series. It’s fun, sure, but it’s clever fun. I think Jim Butcher would be an excellent person to hang out with for a while, so he’s on the list.
Celine Kiernan is an Irish author of some renown (and not a little talent) who I talk to occasionally on Twitter. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that our paths will cross someday, but until they do, she’ll go on here. I adore her Moorehawke Trilogy, and her wonderful Into the Grey is one of the best children’s novels (in fact, just novel novels) I’ve ever read. So, if I do ever get to meet her, it’ll be basically me babbling about how insanely talented she is before slinking off in a cloud of embarrassment. (But not before getting her to sign all my copies of her books, of course).
O.R. (or Orla) Melling is an Irish-Canadian writer whose work, particularly The Singing Stone, a novel about Celtic mythology, the Tuatha de Danaan, and the mystical power of stone circles made a huge impression on me as a kid. I’m not sure whether Melling is still writing, but simply because her work has stayed with me for over twenty years, I’d love to meet her and thank her for all she’s done for me as a writer and a reader.
Cashore’s Graceling series is one I love, and I follow her blog for its sheer wit, intelligence and broad scope. She seems like an interesting and clever person, as well as an extremely talented author, and I’d love to meet her simply to learn more about how to live a life of elegant simplicity. At least, this is the impression I get from her writing; perhaps the reality is somewhat different! She has created some of the best female characters I’ve ever read, and I’d love to talk to her about how she wrote them, where they came from, and where she’s going next.
So, yeah. A weird one, this. I have a mixed relationship with Stephen King’s work, insofar as I think he’s a genius 85% of the time, but every novel I’ve read by him (with the exception of The Stand, which is a perfect work of art) has lacked something – usually, a coherent conclusion. I’m working through his Dark Tower series at the minute (or trying to, at least), and I think there’s nobody to match him in terms of characterisation, dialogue and description – he writes so well, you live the story he’s telling. But I will never, ever forgive him for the ending to Under the Dome. Just, no. I’d love to meet him to ask him what the heck that was about.
So, I know I bang on about Frances Hardinge a lot here. But she has to be on this list. I want to know how one person can be so imaginative, and yet so cool and individual and, more than anything else, where on earth she gets her hats from. I also really want to read her newest book, The Lie Tree, and this is basically a plug for it, so yes. I’m going now.
Catherine Webb (or, whichever pen-name this author is going by at the current time)
No matter what she’s calling herself, I would love to meet a woman who was first published as a teenager, who writes books of astonishing accomplishment, and whose brain, frankly, appears to be staggeringly impressive, simply to ask ‘how is it all done? Mirrors? String? Alchemy?‘ There must be a secret, somewhere.
Just to thank him for Lyra Silvertongue, basically. Probably through veils of grateful tears. I’m sure he gets this a lot.
Because The Princess Bride has defined my life. No joke. For wit, wordplay, linguistic and narrative trickery and sheer storytelling brilliance alone – not to mention an awesome cast of memorable characters, some of the best dialogue ever written and an imaginative scope which has rarely been equalled. And that’s just the novel. The movie’s even better. I’d love to shake William Goldman’s hand (and then never, ever wash again).
So, there’s my weird and eclectic list. (It’s not all that weird or eclectic, really, but humour me). Fancy giving it a go yourself? Do let me know if you do; I’d love to see how my choices stack up against yours!