It is my pleasure to host a guest post by author Isabel Cooper, who answers the following question:
Who are your top 3 “auto-buy” authors?
IC: Thinking about this, there’s actually no author for whom I’m an automatic in: I am a cautious, picky, fear-of-commitment-riddled woman, and I generally read summaries, reviews, and indeed spoilers before getting particularly invested in any work. I’ve found that even authors I love can go way too grimdark for my taste, can partner with people I dislike, or can just tackle a subject or genre that doesn’t interest me at all.
That said, there are a lot of authors whose works are about a ninety percent sure thing for me, and which I will buy unless I hear something that really indicates that a particular book will be dramatically not my thing.
Robin McKinley probably comes first here, and is actually the only author where I can’t think of an exception under the terms I’ve described above. (I was dubious about Pegasus—I may write shapeshifter books, but I need all people in a relationship to at least look like attractive human beings when it counts—but man, the book won me over so hard.) I love her prose style, I love that she writes original-world fantasy without falling into unrestrained bleakness and everyone being awful, and I love the variety and agency of her heroines. Also, her later works make me want to take up things like gardening or baking, despite my general ineptitude at anything domestic.
Second is Stephen King. I started with It when I was eleven and have been a fan ever since. Generally speaking, he does a great job at portraying people’s everyday lives or surroundings in a way that actually makes them interesting (and I speak as someone who cannot grasp talking to fellow commuters or hanging out with co-workers), makes worlds very immersive whether they’re a completely different universe or just the eighties, and balances horror with hope very effectively. (The books I don’t buy or read are those which hit the horror/bleakness angle too hard: Cell is too close to where I live, and I heard enough about the ending of Revival to nope on out of there, as the saying goes.)
Finally, Terry Pratchett. Sigh. I can’t think of another author who can do both comedy and seriousness so well and so close together, who created such a coherent world—starting from comedy, even—or whose fiction came so damn close to philosophy in so many ways. There were a couple books of his that I didn’t read, mostly because they were hard SF and I don’t have any interest in that, but everything else was amazing. And I still get choked up when I remember his last Twitter posts.
Title: Night of the Highland Dragon
Author: Isabel Cooper
Series: Highland Dragons, #3
Pubdate: June 2nd, 2015
“They say,” said the girl, “that people disappear up there. And I heard that the lady doesna’ ever grow any older.”
“The lady?” William asked.
“Lady MacAlasdair. She lives in the castle, and she’s been there years, but she stays young and beautiful forever.”
In the Scottish Highlands, legend is as powerful as the sword—and nowhere is that more true than in the remote village of Loch Aranoch. Its mysterious ruler, Judith MacAlasdair, is fiercely protective of her land—and her secrets. If anyone were to find out what she really was, she and her entire clan would be hunted down as monsters.
William Arundell is on the trail of a killer. Special agent for an arcane branch of the English government, his latest assignment has led him to a remote Highland castle and the undeniably magnetic lady who rules there. Yet as lies begin to unravel and a dark threat gathers, William finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of the Highlands…and the woman he can neither trust nor deny.
He prays she isn’t the murderer; he never dreamed she was a dragon.
From the soot-stained sides of the alley, shadows emerged and became men. Judith counted five: big fellows, all of them, and at least two openly carried long knives. She let out all her breath, hissing it through her teeth, and took a step back.
“It’s all right,” William said, putting a hand on her arm. Oh, good: he was going to try and be protective. This day was going wonderfully. He turned to the men. “Very sorry to disturb you. We’ll just be on our way.”
Protective and diplomatic. Even better.
“Don’t move,” growled one of the larger men. “Don’t run. Don’t scream. You’d better not scream. Nobody’d hear you. Nobody’d come anyway.”
Even from a distance, he reeked of drink. His eyes were glassy, and he grinned when he spoke in a way that Judith didn’t like at all. Neither did she like the way the others were looking at him, taking their cues. On their own, sober, any of them might have been reasonable. Right now she could feel the avalanche building.
Judith took more quick inventory. The men would probably catch up quickly if they tried to run. The alley was dark, and the leader was probably right: she’d never known most people in cities to intervene, and the local constabulary didn’t take much interest in a neighborhood like this one. She wasn’t armed. She didn’t know if William had brought whatever weapon he’d been reaching for out at Finlay’s, or how skilled he was with it if he had. And she was wearing skirts.
She sighed, held still, and decided to try a little diplomacy of her own. “I’m sure we can settle this peaceably. Just leave us enough money for tickets home, aye? We’ll hand over the rest.”
The leader shook his head. “Won’t need money when we’re done with you. Won’t need to go home, either,” he said. Judith didn’t recognize what cue he gave, and he didn’t speak, but she heard footsteps behind her.
Fine, then. Fine.
During the day, Isabel Cooper maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager in legal publishing. In her spare time, she enjoys video games, ballroom dancing, various geeky hobbies, and figuring out what wine goes best with leftover egg rolls. Cooper lives with two thriving houseplants in Boston, Massachusetts.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Previous titles in the series:
My review of The Highland Dragon's Lady is at this link
I am reading and enjoying Night of the Highland Dragon but unfortunately will not have my review done for a few days!