I remember the first paranormal book I read. My mom recommended it. It was The Haunting of Suzanna Blackwell by Richard Setlow. It was mostly a love story, which has never really appealed to me — I like mysteries and historicals better — but I loved the idea of the ghost falling in love with Suzanna. I loved the idea that a ghost could interact with a living person.
This wasn't the first "ghost story" I'd read. I think I had some Scholastic anthology type books. I know I'd read the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Yes, all seven of them. But those were more fantasy then paranormal. I mean, how could a big closet transport anyone to another land? Even if there was an evil witch and a talking lion involved.
And don't forget Poe. He could tell a spooky story! The Tell-Tale Heart is still one of my favorites to read at Halloween. (Ok, it's one of my favorites to read just about anytime.)
Then there were the Witch Mountain movies. I watched them all. Many times. I wanted to be Tia. I wanted to have those really cool powers. I'm pretty sure my parents still have the entire collection of those movies on ancient VHS tapes somewhere.
I eventually graduated to Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I read a whole bunch of those. And let's not forget J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series! What a wonderful world of magic she created!
Now there are more paranormal-type books then I could ever fit in my library. That doesn't stop me from trying. My TBR (To-Be-Read) pile seems to grow with every trip to the bookstore and every refresh of Amazon's "Recommended for you." That being said, I do have a few favorites.
Here's my list, in no particular order: (No, this isn't an all-inclusive list, and I do read a lot of non-paranormal stuff, too! I'm just trying to limit it to paranormal authors.)
- Susan Wittig Albert: I really like the "China Bayles" series. China runs an herb shop and manages to get into some trouble that way.
- Madelyn Alt: Her "Bewitching" series features a woman who is trying to find her place amidst the magic she's seeing. Maggie is an empath (something I'm not), so I find her descriptions of other people's feelings fascinating.
- Kelly Armstrong: I really like her "Women of the Otherworld" series. Gotta love witches and sorcerers and werewolves banning together to fight evil, don't ya?
- Jim Butcher: The "Dresden Files" are great. The idea that Harry can combine the two worlds — that of magic and of "reality" — helped me create a major character in my work.
- Shirley Damsgaard: She writes the "Ophelia and Abby" mysteries. I have to thank Heather for introducing me to her. My main character, Cerri, is a lot like Ophelia and I enjoy how Ms. Damsgaard has tackled some of the problems I've started to encounter with my characters.
- Honora Finkelstein and Susan Smiley: These ladies write the "Ariel Quigley Mystery" series. And they're just great ladies! Ariel uses Tarot cards — a lot!
- Charlaine Harris: I especially enjoy the Harper Collins series, although the Sookie series is pretty good... so is the Lilly Bard one... and the Aurora Teagarden one.... Dang it, I like her writing! Both Harper Collins and Sookie are paranormal, where the Lilly Bard and Aurora Teagarden one are more traditional.
- Stephenie Meyer: Ok, I'll admit it. I finally read Twilight. I haven't read the rest of the series because the books are being passed around between my daughters. But I plan to. With this first book, Ms. Meyer has created a vampire world within our own that is completely plausible.
As you can imagine, I still have at least one book near me at all times. I read like a crazy woman. I'm always on the lookout for new authors, new stories, new books. I'm convinced our local bookstore has hired at least one employee strictly based on my purchases alone.
Who do you like? Who should be added to my TBR list? I'd love to hear from you.