Read Harder

Read Harder 2023 Task #13: Read an Author Local to You

When I was younger, I always envisioned authors having a super glamorous life. I blame the movie She-Devil for this and Meryl Streep’s amazing portrayal of Mary Fisher.

Now that I’m older, I’m very well aware that they’re just like every body else. Some have day jobs in addition to writing which means that their days are filled with those tasks and they manage to sneak in writing when they can. Which is something I completely understand. Still, I admit that I get a giddy thrill whenever I find out about a local author. I can’t help it; it’s interesting to think that someone whose book I just finished also shops at the same local grocery store as me. 

That said, and as you likely already anticipated, this list may not be applicable to you unless you happen to also live in the Austin,TX area. So, a bit of research will need to be done to find options for you that fit this prompt. There are a few ways that this can be done, such as checking an author’s webpage or even looking to author blurb on the back of a book. Libraries are also a good source of this information, both from themed displays and the always help staff. And let’s not forget indie bookstores, especially the ones that will let authors sign their books when they come in and then proudly display them.

In doing that research you may be surprised to find how close one of your favorite authors may be to you. Which isn’t to say to go look for their actual physical addresses, because that would be very Annie Wilkes, something I do not recommend.

For this list, I included authors that live in a city close enough that I could drive there and back in one day. Enjoy!

cover image: woman in victorian red dress running away towards a doorway

A Studying Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Genres: Adult Romance, YA, Romance, Fantasy, Mystery

Best Known for: Lady Sherlock series, which A Study in Scarlet Women is the first of. In this book, we’re introduced to Charlotte Holmes who takes up sleuthing to clear her father’s and sister’s names after they’re accused or murder. The series follows her and the other mysteries she solves.

Tall, Dark, Deadly cover

Tall, Dark, & Deadly by Kharma Kelley

Genre: Paranormal Romance.
Fun Fact: Community Founder of the Inclusive Romance Project

When Chloe’s former vampiric gang draws her unwillingly into a plot to open up a mysterious box, she is caught between her old life and her new one. Further complicating this is her handsome boss Ethan and the mutual attraction they are unable to ignore.

cover image for More Than You'll Ever Know

More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez

Genre: General Fiction

This gripping novel is told in alternating time lines. In 2017, true-crime writer Cassie finds herself drawn into the story of Lore, a woman who, in 1985, had two different lives, husbands, and families. She managed to keep these lives separate until her secret is discovered and one husband is arrested for murdering the other.

cover image for The Devil Takes You Home

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias

Genre: Barrio Noir
Fun Fact: Accredited with the creation of the aforementioned genre

After a tragedy changes the trajectory of his life, reluctant hitman Mario agrees to one final job to hijack a cartel’s cash shipment. This job could leave him dead or with $200,000 dollars, but he isn’t in a position to turn it down. As he and his two other partners go on their journey, their motives and hidden secrets become apparent, ensuring that none of them will return the same.

The Spite House cover

The Spite House by Johnny Compton (February 2023)

Genre: Horror

Eric and his two daughters are on the run from their former life. Not being able to give references makes it hard to find a job, so when Eric hears about a caretaking position for the allegedly haunted, he sees it as the perfect opportunity to make some money; that is if the paranormal activity doesn’t drive him and his family mad.

stargazers cover

Star Gazers by L.P. Hernandez

Genre: Horror

Fun Fact: This book was the first novella released in Cemetery Gate’s My Dark Library series.

When a forum post about someone’s neighbor staring at stars all night is made, it’s quickly dismissed as bad fanfiction. Then the nocturnal activity begins to spread worldwide leaving the “stargazers” changed the next day. When it affects Henry’s city, the war veteran must use all his skills to save his family from this new and unknown danger.

Cover of The Ghost Tracks by Celso Hurtado

The Ghost Tracks by Celso Hurtado

Genre: Horror

Fun fact: Takes place near San Antonio’s famed haunted train tracks.

Erasmo lives with his beloved grandmother who he just found out has cancer. In a desperate attempt to help pay for her medical expenses, he sets up a paranormal investigation business and quickly finds out there is more to his home town than meets the eye.

Hell Hath No Sorrow like a Woman Haunted cover

Hell Hath No Sorrow like a Woman Haunted by R.J. Joseph

Genres: Romance, Horror

Fun Fact: Co-host of the Genre Blackademia podcast

This collection of short stories all feature Black women and their brushes with the supernatural. Sometimes they’re the victims. Sometimes they’re the monsters. And oftentimes, they’re both.

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As with all my other lists, this is by no means comprehensive because there are a lot more local authors, both indie and traditionally published, in my area. But that just goes to prove that once you start trying to find out which authors live in your area, you will be overwhelmed with what you find. And, even if you can’t use this list for this specific task, I hope that it helps to fulfill others. Good luck on knocking this year’s Read Harder Challenge out and, as always, happy reading and stay hydrated!

Click here for the full Read Harder 2023 task list, and for previous recommendations, click here.