Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What Do You Do When Your Favorite Author Goes Rogue?

In my home library on the shelves for "Light Fiction" I have a few favorite authors, most write (or wrote) books that I can toss in a bag when I'm traveling or laying on the beach. These authors include Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn, Jane Austen, Anne Gracie, Melissa Nathan and Kate Fforde. Then there are the books that I lug home, sometimes a dozen in a week to enjoy when (if) I have free time. I'm not loyal to one genre (I rarely read anything that is on the NY Times bestseller list) and instead enjoy reading cook books (I've blogged before about my obsession with good cook book food photography), home and gardening books, biographies, travel and historical non-fiction.

So what do you do when one of your favorite authors goes "off the rail"? You might be asking what I mean, well I mean when an author whom you are used to writing in a particular style or genre takes a 180 and starts writing something completely different. This has happened to me a few times, most recently with Nora Roberts and Anne Rice. I spent my teens and 20's following Anne Rice's series on vampires and witches. This woman is the original Dark Author. Obviously this was decades before the current trend of all things Twilight and True Blood vampires and Harry Potter witches. After Anne completed the following supernatural series, she decided to "write only for the Lord". The Goth Lady herself is writing about Jesus.

The Vampire Chronicles
1. Interview With A Vampire (1976)
2. The Vampire Lestat (1985)
3. The Queen of the Damned (1988)
4. The Tale of the Body Thief (1992)
5. Memnoch the Devil (1995)
6. The Vampire Armand (1998)
7. Merrick (2000)
8. Blood and Gold (2001)
9. Blackwood Farm (2002)
10. Blood Canticle (2003)

The Mayfair Witches
1. The Witching Hour (1990)
2. Lasher (1993)
3. Taltos (1994)

Needless to say many of her readers were not pleased. I haven't picked up a new Anne Rice book in almost a decade. Sad really. I was so obsessed with her writing in the early 90's I made many pilgrimages to New Orleans to find her home in the Garden District where she based her Mayfair Witches series and the cemeteries and streets were her vampires Lestat and Louis roamed. Same thing happened with Nora Roberts.

Nora Roberts is known for her romance novels and her In Death series. I've enjoyed her trilogies including the Irish Trilogy, Dream Trilogy and the Born In Trilogy. Well then she went hard core supernatural. And I don't mean just tossing in a ghost or faerie like she was known to do but hard core witches and vampires. Now I was reading Rice for vamps and witches and Roberts for romance. And then Roberts goes vamps and witches and Rice goes God.

So what do you do? I found other authors. How? I asked other readers and started looking up author read-a-likes on sites like Goodreads, Novelist and library websites. I subscribed to a few author read-a-likes e-newsletters and before I knew it I had new favorite authors that write similar to other authors or write in a time period or location I enjoy (Regency era, Irish locations, British chick lit etc). Question is, do you give your former favorite authors another chance? I tried recently with Nora Roberts new romance series, The Bride Quartet. I was thrilled to get through 2 chapters without a Dark Lord, a faerie, vampire or other mythical creature but was so bored with her characters I just gave up trying to enjoy the book. Even her romances bore me now. Ah well, I have my new favorites and my old dog eared copies of Rice and Roberts older books. Those will do.

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