Jessie: My favorite, hands down, is John Irving. When I read A Prayer for Owen Meany I couldn’t bring myself to communicate with my family until I had finished it. I sat secreted away in the laundry room or a closet hoping no one would find me and break the spell. I vaguely remember, several days in a row, making dinner with the book open in front of me and then not eating any of it myself because I couldn’t be bothered.
Edith: I’d like to recommend an up-and-coming author from the Granite State: J.E. Seymour. Her first crime novel, Lead Poisoning, is being rereleased by Barking Rain Press, who is also publishing her second novel, Stress Fractures. J.E. and I were in the same writing group for a while, and I love her spare prose and Granite State noir. She writes about fugitive mob troubleshooter Kevin Markinson who thinks New Hampshire is the perfect place to retire with his family … but his family doesn’t want to see him. It turns out that it’s not that easy to retire from his profession. Check her out!
Liz: I’ve always been a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, one of today’s biggest New Hampshire authors. My favorite books of hers are Second Glance, a mix of historical, paranormal and family drama, and Nineteen Minutes, a chilling tale of a school shooting and the teenaged angst surrounding it. She has such a knack for taking top-of-mind issues straight from the headlines and humanizing them, shedding them in a whole new light.
Barb: In terms of straight out influence on my life, I have to go with Robert Frost. His was the first book of poetry ever given to me as a child. (I mean after A.A. Milne and Dr. Suess.) His work was so beautiful, spare and accessible. I could still probably recite all the verses of Stopping by the Wood on a Snowy Evening, if pressed.
Julie: I am a HUGE John Irving fan, and also love Robert Frost. But since they’ve been mentioned, let me sing the praises of William Tapply. His Brady Coyne mysteries are a wonderful series. And his The Elements of Mystery Fiction is a good read for the aspiring mystery writer. He was also a wonderful member of the mystery community here in New England.
Readers: What’s your recommendation for a New Hampshire author?