(1 of ) J. Sterling: A few years ago, Petaluma author Jenn Sterling was fired from her job. It ended up being the best thing that could have happened to her. Sterling bought a laptop and began writing, a few novels later, Sterling released “The Perfect Game,” a novel that put her on the map of New Adult fiction, a genre aimed at those aged 18-30, and full of action and romance. Sterling is now a USA Best Selling author, and has penned more than a dozen novels under the name J. Sterling.
(2 of ) Francine Rivers: After reading a few romance novels her mother-in-law sent her, Sonoma County author Francine Rivers was inspired to pen her first novel. In 1976, she sold her first manuscript as a historical romance novelist. But her faith led her to become a popular Christian writer, known for her inspirational romance novels, all bestsellers. Her most popular work is “Redeeming Love,” an unexpectedly gritty story in the Christian genre. Rivers’ next book, “The Masterpiece,” publishes Feb. 7, 2018.
(3 of ) Jean Hegland: The Healdsburg-based author’s novel, “Into the Forest”, set in a post-apocalyptic future of Northern California, was adapted to the big screen in 2015. When Hegland isn’t teaching creative writing and literature, she can be found working on another book exploring the delicate intricacies of humanity.
(4 of ) Sharon Hamilton: A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener and former real estate agent, Hamilton’s series, “SEAL Brotherhood” has earned her the #1 ranking on Amazon in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. The Sonoma County-based author has also penned the “Golden Vampires of Tuscany” and “Guardian Angels” series.
(5 of ) Ellen Sussman: Bay Area author of four national best-selling novels, including “French Lessons” and her most recent novel, “A Wedding in Provence,” Ellen Sussman is the co-host of the Sonoma County Writers’ Camp. In addition to writing, she teaches in Stanford continuing studies and private classes.
(6 of ) Seré Prince Halverson: In 2012, Sebastopol author Seré Prince Halverson’s debut novel, “The Underside of Joy,” was released. A tender story of a stepmother whose dealt some devastating blows after her husband dies in a freak accident. The story tugged at heartstrings, including Oprah Winfrey who named it as one of her picks for books to devour on a long flight. Her latest book is “All the Winters After.”
(7 of ) Iris Jamahl Dunkle: For poetry fans, Iris Jamahl Dunkle is a household name. As our 2016-17 Sonoma County Poet Laureate, Dunkle inspires poets and writers by teaching history and holding writing workshops. The poet’s most recent book is “Interrupted Geographies,” a collection of poems that share the history of people and places in fluid prose.
(8 of ) Dana Gioia: Poet Dana Gioia (pronounced JOY-uh) calls Santa Rosa his home, but has been all over our state as the State Poet Laureate of California. His poetry is capable of evoking deep emotion, as he writes about things unsaid, things lost, and things in Santa Rosa. Often his poems have more than one meaning - what’s said, and what’s said underneath. His latest book is “99 Poems,” a collection of his works over the years.
(9 of ) Darryl Ponicsan: If “Last Flag Flying” is on your list of must-see movies, then Darryl Ponicsan is a name to know. The Sonoma author wrote the book behind the movie starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne. He also wrote “The Last Detail,” the predecessor to this most recent film and book, and was also his first novel. The mystery writer has several more recent books under his name, plus a few more he writes under the pen name Anne Argula.
(10 of ) Rebecca Solnit: In 2008, Northern California writer Rebecca Solnit wrote the essay, “Men Explain Things to Me,” which was born from a party she attended when a man, upon learning she was an author, insisted on summarizing the plot of a book he’d read, even as a friend tried to tell him it was Solnit’s book he was summarizing. This essay became a book of 7 essays in the same spirit, which, to date, has sold more than 90,000 copies and is still her most popular book. Solnit is the author of around 20 books on feminism, Western and Indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, just to name a few.
(11 of ) C.D. Payne: Sebastoppol comic novelist C.D. Payne remembers when one studio exec told him “R-rated teen comedies will never make money because the intended audience can’t get in to see it.” This was right before “American Pie” shot straight to the top of the box office. Payne’s novel, “Youth in Revolt,” is now a cult classic movie, telling the story of Nick Twisp as he sets his sights on his dream girl, and hopes she’ll be the one to take his virginity. This is hardly your G-rated story.
(12 of ) Janis Couvreux: “No, we didn’t make it around the world, but we were able to wrap the world around us,” Petaluma author Janis Lasky Couvreux writes in her recently released memoir, “Sail Cowabunga! A Family’s Ten Years at Sea.” The story follows Couvreux’s ten-year journey at sea with her husband, Michel, and their two young sons, telling of triumphs and mishaps as they crossed four continents by water.
(13 of ) Felix Blackwell: Santa Rosa horror writer Felix Blackwell used his fiancée’s night terrors as the inspiration for his novel, “Stolen Tongues.” It started out as posts on a popular forum. But when news stations started reporting his stories as real, he knew he’d come upon something big. The book has just released, and Blackwell is busy working on his next terrifying story. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
(14 of ) Ransom Stephens: In 2009, Sonoma County author Ransom Stephens released his debut novel, “The God Patent” - a story that blends the struggle between science and creationism that continues to be widely read. “I thought of the premise for my first novel, The God Patent, when I was a physics post-doc—that time in my life when I understood stuff like relativity and quantum mechanics better than I ever had or ever would again, even when I was teaching it.” Stephens is also the author of “The Sensory Deception,” and the recently released, “The Left Brain Speaks, the Right Brain Laughs.”
(15 of ) M.A. Adler: Sonoma County author Mary Adler is behind the historical fiction mystery novel, “In the Shadow of Lies,” a page-turner set in Richmond during WWII. Publishers Weekly called it “a haunting portrayal of prejudice, deception, and murder.”
(16 of ) Sheri Graves: In 2015, Sheri Graves, former Press Democrat journalist, won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award for Crime Fiction with her debut novel, “Deep Doo-Doo.” Part comedy, part mystery, this fast-paced novel is set in Santa Rosa and is hard to put down.
(17 of ) Robert Digitale: By day, Robert Digitale reports on business and theater news as a journalist for the Press Democrat. But in his spare time, Robert is a fantasy author and deeply connected writer in Sonoma County. Digitale’s book series, “The Root of Glory,” starts with his debut novel, “Horse Stalker,” an epic fantasy filled with magic, action, and mystery. He continues the story in his most recently released book, “Blaze & Skyfire.” Digitale is also the editor and author behind several collaborations, including the “Sonoma Squares Murder Mystery,” starring Press Democrat writers, and Redwood Writers anthology, “Sonoma: Stories of a Region and its People.”
(18 of ) Tony Vigorito: Most know him as popular a Sonoma State University sociology professor. But Vigorito’s other world consists of a few hit novels, including his most recent release, “Love and Other Pranks.” His third book, the story is filled with wit and satire, pirates and San Franciscans, and even a false prophet. Tom Robbins said it may be the wildest novel he’s ever read.
(19 of ) Sandy Baker: An avid gardener, crafter, reader and writer, Santa Rosa author Sandy Baker has written thriller novels, children’s books and even a coloring book. Her most recent books is “Adventures of the Hotel Sisters,” a children’s historical fiction mystery set in the 1920s.
(20 of ) Gilbert Mansergh: You may know him as the features writer for Sonoma West’s “Cinema Toast,” seen his byline in Petaluma’s Argus-Courier, or heard his voice on KRCB’s “Word by Word,” but Gil Mansergh wear another hat as a witty Sonoma County novelist, most notably for his book, “The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingill.” The book is split up into bite-sized stories that make up the entire first-person tale of a precocious child with the gift of prophecy. Set in the early 1900s, the story will mostly make you laugh, sometimes make you tear up, and definitely keep you turning the page.
(21 of ) Ramsey Hootman: The beginning of love is awkward enough. But add two social misfits and the results can be disastrous. This is the premise behind Healdsburg native Ramsay Hootman’s first novel, “Courting Greta.” If you’re looking for perfect characters, this is not your book. Hootman’s latest release is “Surviving Cyril,” the story of a war widow trying to raise her young son alone, and faces unsettling clues about her husband’s death.
(22 of ) Patricia V. Davis: A former English teacher, Sonoma County author Patricia V. Davis now spends her time penning adventurous novels, including her current magical realism thriller series, the Secret Spice Café trilogy. Davis just released the second novel in this series, Spells & Oregano, a story filled with history, magic and mystery.
(23 of ) Rebecca Rosenberg: Anyone familiar with Sonoma Lavender knows Rebecca Rosenberg’s name. The lavender farm sadly suffered damage from the fires, but preparing for the release of her debut novel, "The Secret Life of Mrs. London," Rosenberg is plenty busy. In this historic novel, Rosenberg shares about Charmain London, the woman loved by both Houdini and Jack London. This compelling read will offer insight into a side of a woman known by all of Sonoma County.