I brought up Mary DeMuth and Lisa Samson. Mary is expert at showing the inner motivations of her characters. Her dialogue is true to each one. Nine-year-old Maranatha sounds like a nine-year-old child. A villain is chilling without being a caricature.
Lisa bares the soul of her characters as they journey from hopelessness to joy. There are no pat or unrealistic answers. The struggles are authentic and often heart-wrenching.
As other books and authors were discussed and dissected (doesn't that sound like a biology experiment - ewww), I realized the richness of reading many authors and genres. Each one has a distinct storytelling style, voice, and talent.
While I'll always have my favorite authors, I'm determined to examine and enjoy the writing of as many writers as possible. Why be satisfied with one brilliant flash when other facets hold a variety of colors, experiences, and nuances that make up human beings?