Posted by: Kathleen Mix | May 30, 2014

My Favorite Book

When I attend a book fair or signing, one of the questions readers frequently ask is which of my books is my favorite.
The stock answer to the question is that none of an author’s books are their favorite because our books are like our children and mothers love all of their children equally.
Hogwash. I have favorites, and other multi-published authors have favorites. From a marketing standpoint, we don’t want to discourage sales of any one of our books. But deep in our hearts, some books are more special to us than others.
An author’s first published book will always hold special memories. It may not be our favorite, because we believe our writing has improved and our first product would be better if we were allowed a do-over, but the thrill of holding that first copy in our hand will never fade.
Sometimes a particular story means more to us than others. Perhaps it deals with an issue close to our heart, such as forgiveness or redemption. Perhaps, as in the case of one of my own books, River of Fear, the story was sparked by real events in the life of a friend and we’ve written a fictionalized version to share something wonderful with the world.
Often authors are most attached to the most recent book they’d completed. The characters are still fresh in their minds, and the emotions still resonate.
Parents try not to show favoritism, but they rarely love all their children equally. A love child may be resented or given special attention. A well-behaved or accomplished child may receive more smiles than frowns. Even in the Bible, Joseph is Jacob’s favorite.
An author spends months or years giving a book life. I’ve never run across a writer who hates any book he or she has written. But we are human, and we do have favorites. We’re just not anxious to reveal our negative feeling about a book that hasn’t sold well or a character we never loved quite as deeply as others.
Why single out one book as better than another when our bias may be unfair to our readers? The book we praise most may not speak to a reader with the same force. Maybe they’d enjoy our least-favorite more.
I’ve found that the best way to answer the question of which book is my favorite is to be honest. I answer that River of Fear is my personal favorite, but that each of my books is special in its own way. Then I take a minute to explain the special feelings I have toward all the other books I’ve cared enough to create.

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