Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Favorite Authors (part one)

So I was just sitting here, trying to figure out what to blog about today, and it occurred to me that I've never said much about my favorite authors -- meaning, in this case (and in others to come), those whose facility with the written word delighted, fascinated, and ennobled me, in years past.

It may sound strange to say "ennobled." in this context. None of the wonderful authors actually granted me a title or land, or anything else associated with Gentry. In this case, I'm using the alternate meaning and saying, flat out, that it is largely thanks to the fertile minds, imaginations, and written chivalry of authors that I'm less screwed up than I might have been otherwise. (My proof of this is that my sibling, who grew up in the exact same circumstances but didn't -- and still doesn't -- read, is an utter jackhole. But that's a conversation for another time. When you and I are in a bar together and I've had far too much to drink. Don't laugh. It could happen. ;) )

In any case, this post is about my favorite authors, and for this first post, I'm going to talk about Mercedes Lackey, who I had the terrifying pleasure of sitting on a panel with least year at Dragon*Con, with Kiernan Kelly, Kage Alan, and a number of others. (They'll be subjects of future FA posts. Just not this one. *grins*)

I remember the first time I saw the Heralds of Valdemar series in my local bookstore. I didn't buy it, as I was on more of a sci-fi kick at the time (I go through phases. Always have). I remember thinking the cover art was amazing, but still. It was a few years later, after the books in the Last Herald Mage series were available, that I finally decided to take the plunge. As I had been reading Gordon Merrick and several other "gay theme" authors for years and had many, many gay friends, it was the fact that this was a whole series -- a whole fantasy series! -- that convinced me to start reading Mercedes' books.

I think I tore through those three books in four days. I devoured them, gulping at the words as though they were fine wine, and myself too plebeian to savor them. I fell in love with the characters, with the setting, and Gods, did I ever fall in love with the world building! I couldn't get enough.

Two days after I finished the Last Herald Mage series, I went out and got the Heralds of Valdemar books. I tore through them almost as quickly, and in truth, I must say I became obsessed. If I'd known of fan fic back then, I guarantee you I would have been writing it for Valdemar and Herald's Collegium. Even now, when I haven't revisited that world in years, I remember so many scenes; so many lines of dialogue, and so many of the many, many secondary and tertiary characters.

One of my favorite things about the Valdemar books, as well as other of Lackey's works, is that just as there are characters that don't hold to the hetero-normative standard, there is also the frequently and bluntly stated truth that as far as religion goes, "there is no one true way."

That was very important to me at the time, and remains so today as I am, by turns, an atheist and a polytheist. I was a religious philosophy major for a while in college, actually. Mostly because growing up without any specific religious rudder -- but with the idea that I should HAVE a belief system -- I was curious about the options. The Valdemar books -- and later, other of Lackey's works -- were instrumental in helping me to find that curiosity normal. Or at least not abnormal.

Add in the fact that her characters are fully developed, often deeply flawed, and sometimes make poor decisions... and add to that the fact that she seems unable to tell a bad story, and yes. One of my favorite authors.

It doesn't hurt that she's also incredibly nice, completely down to earth, and has a wicked sense of humor.

Honestly, I may just have a bit of a girl-crush on her. *sheepish grin*

So there we have it. My first "Favorite Author" post.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that everybody must love the same things I do. My opinions are entirely my own. Make of it what you will. :) )

1 comment:

  1. That was a fun panel! I still chuckle thinking about how Mercedes (who I feel fortunate to have sat next to) got a kick out of the Butt Pirates title and the short story titles. We sat there between Kiernan's serious questions and talked 'ass' puns. Loved her!