Several chapters in, I was on a mission to hunt and capture every Ruth Wind title I could find. I discovered that she'd also written several historicals as Barbara Samuel and promptly fell in love with her tortured Lucien (Lucien's Fall) and her proud Irishman Tynan Spencer in The Black Angel. Then there's Blue Reynard and that long cool drink named Malachi and Alejandro (are they not the most perfect names?) and those Forrest brothers.
You may have gathered that Samuel/Wind writes quite the hero. She knows men; not just the romance novel model but the true heart of the species. When she changed direction from romance to women's fiction, I wailed Noooo! and brooded for a while. Then I read No Place Like Home and was entranced all over again by the truth of the relationships she explores and the vibrancy of her settings and the rich eloquence of her prose.
When I heard she was speaking at this year's Romance Writers of Australia conference I signed up immediately. Only weeks after the American conference, I knew I'd be travel-lagged, knew I should be staying home, writing, working to replenish the bank balance bruised by that trip. But there are some things one cannot miss and this was one of mine. A full day workshop by Barbara Samuel on voice and "layering in lusciousness". A keynote challenging us to explore what we believe in. A Girls in the Basement roundtable. A chance meeting at morning tea where I gushed about my adoration of her books...
Okay, so that last I could have done without. I'm sure Barbara could have done without as well, but she was gracious and ever so nice in turning the conversation around.
Is there one author, above all others, whose every word you adore? Who you would either gush over or turn speechless in awe of if you were to meet? Let me know that I'm not alone in my fangirl exuberance. Please.