Houston is known as a city with a great theater culture, but many people do not realize that it has a wonderful literary scene as well. Many great authors with interesting histories live in Houston, writing everything from crime and murder-mystery novels to biographies to self-help books based on their years of experience. No matter what kind of book you enjoy reading, there is something for everyone on this list of the best local authors in Houston. Make sure to add one or all to your summer reading list this year.
Dixie Swanson, a former Washington lobbyist, has made her home in Houston as a pediatrician for the last decade. Her book series, “The Accidental President Trilogy: A Political Fable for Our Time,” is so titled because in fables, many impossible things can happen; from talking animals to people undergoing radical transformations, all in the name of learning a valuable lesson. The author says, “to visualize my books, think: ‘Alice in Wonderland’ meets ‘The West Wing.’ Imagine what a smart, non-political woman would do if dropped into the job of Senator, then President of the United States.” Dixie Swanson’s trilogy is a fast read that will keep you turning pages. “No matter what your political leanings, from Tea Party to no party, an Occupier, a Democrat, a Libertarian, – even a librarian – Independent or a Republican, there are powerful truths in these books.”
David Hilmers and Rick Houston
In “Man on a Mission,” co-written by Rick Houston, David Hilmers, 61, recounts his extraordinary life story — how a young boy from Iowa became an astronaut and physician and was able to travel to places far beyond those anyone ever imagined. Chronicling a bumpy, yet steady road to success, Hilmers shares never-before-seen pictures of his childhood, family, travels and his memorable space shuttle flight aboard the STS-26 Discovery in 1988. This book is perfect for anyone with an interest in NASA and will inspire young space enthusiasts interested in the life of an astronaut. Together with Houston, Hilmers captures the finest details of his exceptional life, bringing the American hero to the people.
Houstonian Shannon Deitz is no stranger to heartache and pain, and tells her amazing story of transformation after sexual assault in her book “Exposed.” After experiencing two tragic sexual assaults as a teenager, Shannon went through a time of intense self-hatred and self-abuse before finding solace in her faith. Now, a dozen years later, having shared her remarkable story of transformation in her critically acclaimed and award-winning book, Deitz is taking her message to audiences across the country and abroad. “My main goal,” Deitz explains, “is to help others. In whatever I am doing, I most desire to help others see their worth and become the best they can be. We are worth so much more than what we have been led to believe.”
Related: 5 Must-Read Books By Houston Authors
Stephanie Jaye Evans
Murder mysteries and large happy families don’t always seem to mix, but Sugar Land resident Stephanie Jaye Evans splits her time between writing thrilling whodunits and caring for her seven children. In “Faithful Unto Death,” her debut crime novel, minister and former college football player Walker “Bear” Wells finds himself caught up in the middle of a murder investigation when a man is found dead on the local golf course. With no interest in getting involved, of course Bear would find that the detective work keeps creeping into his pastoral life; especially when the victim’s son – and chief murder suspect – turns out to be dating his daughter.
Favorably compared to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Mary Fagan’s five part “Ammanon” series has a huge international fan base that started out from a small story she self-published. Since then, this fantasy world has grown into the hearts of many and even caused a ruckus on the set of “The Lord of the Rings” movie set when a group of fans surrounded Peter Jackson and demanded that he look into making a movie on the story of the empire of “Ammanon” and a prophecy that can save – or doom – them all.
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.