Since granting myself permission to take a hiatus from writing when I retired from the University of South Florida last May, I have been tweaking the outline of my next novel (a mystery/romance). Admittedly, I’m getting closer to actually writing again, especially with some recent energy boosts; for example, I truly feel honored to have been featured in this month’s Fabulous Florida Writers. Nonetheless, I truly have been enjoying the opportunity to relax, ride my Harley, workout at the gym, play softball, fish and read. In fact, just since getting my Kindle for Christmas I have read 13 mystery novels. And not that I’m a creature of habit (lol), but if you walk through my house and look at my bookshelves and/or look at the list of the books I’ve read on my Kindle, you’ll not only see novels – you’ll see many of the same authors. Obviously my favorites.
What makes a good novel – theme, plot, story structure, setting, style and tone? All of the above. Yet for me it’s also my enjoyment of the main characters, typically in a series featuring the specific recurring character. Some authors have more than one series. And even though I may have favorite authors (usually because I like their writing style, story development, etc.), I also tend to really like a specific character. It’s almost like I know them (which is what a good writer intends). Below are eight of my favorite current-day authors and their main characters who I’ve gotten to know quite well over the past few years:
- Stuart Woods – Stone Barrington (and Gino, his detective buddy)
- Robert Parker – Spenser (and Susan, his long-term main squeeze)
- Michael Connelly – the erasable yet lovable Harry Bosch
- Randy Wayne White – Doc Ford (and his joint-smoking buddy, Tomlinson)
- James Swain – Tony Valentine (and Gerry, his slowly yet ever-maturing son)
- Jonathan Kellerman – Dr. Alex Delaware (and Milo, his gay detective friend)
- Patricia Cornwell – Dr. Kay Scarpetta (and her niece)
- James Lee Burke – Detective Dave Robicheaux
At the end of my first novel, My Sweetpea: Seven Years and Seven Days, I purposefully left the door open for a sequel. (And, interestingly, some reviewers have asked if/when a sequel will be coming out – many have said, “I want to know what happens to Sheila and Troy!”)
Question: Who are some of your favorite authors and their main characters?