Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Top 10 Authors
This year's list of Houston's Top 10 Authors includes a few firsts. For the first time we have a husband and wife who each made the list separately (Robert Boswell and Antonya Nelson). For the first time, we also have multiple authors with four or more releases in the last year (ReShonda Tate Billingsly and Sophie Jordan). We see our first graphic novelist on the list (Mat Johnson). And we have our first debut novelist to earn a spot on this list, former Houston Press writer (Jennifer Mathieu).
Photo by George Hixson Debut author Jennifer Mathieu
10. Jennifer Mathieu
The Truth About Alice
A young adult novel about a girl at the center of a fury of lies and gossip, Jennifer Mathieu's debut The Truth About Alice has been getting rave reviews from both critics and fans. Mathieu is a high school English teacher and says she loves teenagers. While she thinks her books would interest other age groups, she says her target audience is teens. "When I sit down and write, I picture teenagers reading my books," she told us in a recent interview. "I think teenagers are some of the most fascinating people on the planet and I certainly think of them as my audience."
9. Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Courtesy of Pamela Fagan Hutchins
While several of the authors on this list write in various genres -- from romantic comedies to literary fiction -- Hutchins is one of the few who also has non-fiction titles to her credit. Along with three books in the Kate and Annalise series (including this year's Finding Harmony), Hutchins wrote the popular how-to What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes, and How Can I Be One, Too? and parenting self-help title How to Screw Up Your Kids: Blended Families, Blendered Style.
Hutchins is currently touring in support of the Kate and Annalise series and working on several novels ("I've got the next five or six books planned out, I just need to sit my butt in the chair and do them.") Her latest release, Finding Harmony, is an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist. And she's also the president of the Houston Writers Guild and an instructor with a newly launched writing organization.
8. Tom Abrahams
Courtesy of Tom Abrahams
We mentioned Abrahams as an "author to watch" last year when his self-published political thriller Sedition was released. He makes our list this year with another political thriller Allegiance, which is being released in hard back by Post Hill Press. Going from an indie author to a published author with a hard back book and a contract for future titles in one year isn't easy but for Abrahams it wasn't unusually difficult either. He was working with an editor on an updated version of Sedition . She asked if she could pass it along to a publisher she knew and within a few months, Abrahams had a multi-book contract, starting with a hard back release of Allegiance.
If Abrahams looks familiar, it's because he's spent the last 20 years on television as a news reporter covering the White House and politics. It's a job, he says, that's come in handy as he's written his novels.
7. Kerrelyn Sparks
Photo by Jennifer Berry/Studio 16
How to Seduce a Vampire without Really Trying
New York Times bestselling author Sparks made our list last year with two novels, the historical romantic Less than a Gentleman and the paranormal romance The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo. This year she's back with How to Seduce a Vampire without Really Trying. In this release, Sparks follows a super-sexy vampire who hasn't had any luck in the romance department - for the last 800 years. Then he runs into a warrior princess who decides that instead of killing him, she wants to mate with him.
Sparks' fiction is filled with humor (her vampire romances are called the Love at Stake series). Yes, there's some lusty love in each story, but there are lots of giggles and several laugh out loud moments as well.
Sparks has a motto on her website: "Be brave, be bold, be batty!" It's an attitude we wholeheartedly embrace.
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