After 324 e-mails and 166 submitted authors, Mormon Times readers have chosen Orson Scott Card as their favorite LDS fiction writer, followed by "Work and the Glory" author Elder Gerald Lund and vampire aficionado Stephenie Meyer.
What does that say about readers who contributed to our online poll?
Mormon Times columnist Jerry Johnston thinks LDS novelists excel at "genre" fiction such as romance, Western, mystery and science fiction.
"Genres put big emphasis on story line and plot and often stress the forces of good taking on the forces of evil, two things the LDS writers do naturally," Johnston said. "When they get into complicated character studies, Mormon novelists are less effective."
Johnston also selected Card as one of his favorite LDS fiction writers.
"He doesn't overreach and he doesn't try to write grand literary wonders, but uses his skills to tell good stories about conflicts between forces of light and darkness," Johnston said.
Science fiction, mystery and romance novels are a common theme throughout the results.
Deseret Morning News features writer Carma Wadley enjoys reading Meyer, Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull and Obert Skye.
"None of these come close to 'Harry Potter,' of course, but they all deal with the age-old battle of good vs. evil in interesting and fun-to-read ways," Wadley said.
Deseret Morning News book critic Dennis Lythgoe listed Levi Peterson and Douglas Thayer as two of his favorite LDS fiction authors. Some voters agreed, as both authors received several votes.
Deseret Book provided Mormon Times with a list of 16 top-selling LDS fiction authors from 1998 to 2008.
"It was difficult to look at both those who write for a national audience and those who write specifically for the LDS market; very different numbers," said Gail Halladay, Deseret Book director of marketing and communication.
How does our list measure up against Deseret Book's best-selling list?
We asked our readers who their favorite LDS fiction writers are. The following list is compiled from their responses:Reader favorites
1. Orson Scott Card
2. Gerald Lund
3. Stephenie Meyer
4. Brandon Mull
5. Dean Hughes
6. Traci Hunter Abramson
7. Betsy Brannon Green
8. Chris Stewart (tie)
8. Brandon Sanderson (tie)10. Chris Heimerdinger
Six of the 16 authors listed by Deseret Book, in alphabetical order, are included on our top 10 list. Other authors listed by Deseret Book are: Ron Carter, Richard Paul Evans, Shannon Hale, Kay Lynn Mangum, Rachel Ann Nunes, Anne Perry, Obert Skye, Anita Stansfield, Jack Weyland and Jason F. Wright.
"Admittedly, there are other excellent LDS fiction authors not represented on this list, but this list does represent those authors who sell best in Deseret Book stores," Halladay said.
Not all the authors on Deseret Book's best-selling list are published by Deseret Book.
Card is best known for his science fiction thrillers "Ender's Game" and its sequel "Speaker for the Dead," both of which were awarded the Hugo Award and Nebula Award, making Card the only author as of 2007 to win both of science fiction's top prizes in consecutive years. Most recently, Card was honored for lifetime contribution to young adult readers with the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for "Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow."
Card writes a weekly column for Mormon Times, and writes for his own online magazine at www.intergalacticmedicineshow.com. In August 2008, Card will release the first anthology of short stories from his online magazine, with four online-only stories. Also in the works is an "Ender's Game" movie.
A completely different kind of author, Elder Lund writes all-LDS content books and is mostly known for his "The Work and the Glory" series. Elder Lund has written more than 15 books. His latest, "Hearing the Voice of the Lord," explains how to learn, recognize and understand the literal voice of the Lord. Elder Lund has been a general authority since 2002.
"The Work and the Glory" was made into a series of three movies covering the first three volumes.
Meyer is an LDS author who writes for the mainstream young adult audience; her books do not include specific LDS content or references. "Twilight," Meyer's first book, has blossomed into a series of three: "Twilight," "New Moon" and "Eclipse." The fourth, "Breaking Dawn," is slated to be released Aug. 2, 2008.
A New York Times best-selling author, Meyer became somewhat of a phenomenon over the past three years with a whirlwind of popularity thrown her way with recognitions such as: New York Times "Editor's Choice," Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year," Amazon.com "Best Book of the Decade ... So Far," Teen People "Hot List" pick, American Library Association "Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults," and "Top Ten Books for Reluctant Readers." Meyer's books have also been translated into 20 languages. More information can be found at www.stepheniemeyer.com.
New York Times best-selling fantasy writer Brandon Mull is another new favorite and continues to enthrall audiences with his recent release of "The Candy Shop War." Book three in the Fablehaven series will be released April 21, 2008.
Dean Hughes writes mostly children's and young adult books, but his most successful project to date "Children of the Promise" has been a series of novels, written for an adult audience, that deals with the harsh realities and painful emotions of war, Hughes wrote on his Web site.
Hughes' latest work of fiction is "Before the Dawn," the story of a farm widow who doesn't get along with the town women at all. More information can be found at www.deanhughes.net.
Traci Hunter Abramson calls her work "suspense fiction with the occasional touch of romance." Abramson's "The Deep End" was a finalist in the mystery and suspense category at the Whitney Awards (see story at right). Her latest work, "Freefall," was released in February. More information can be found at www.tracihunterabramson.com.
Also a mystery suspense writer, Betsy Brannan Green says her "goal is to engage the reader in my books. I want to make them laugh and cry and worry and dread the end." Green has started a new series called "Duty" that differs from her last series, "Haggerty." More information about Green can be found at www.betsybrannongreen.net.
Some would think being a world-record-setting Air Force pilot would be enough, but now Chris Stewart can add "favorite author" to his resume. Stewart, whose previous military techno-thrillers have been selected by the Book of the Month Club and published in 12 different countries, has also been a guest editorialist for the Detroit News, commenting on matters of military readiness and national security. So it is not hard to guess the subject matter of Stewart's books. Stewart's latest work is "The Great and Terrible, Vol. 1: The Brothers."
Fantasy author and active blogger Brandon Sanderson morphed onto the scene with the release of "Elantris," Sanderson's first published book. Since then, "Elantris" won the Romantic Times award for best epic fantasy of 2005, and was chosen by BarnesandNoble.com editors as the best fantasy or sci-fi book of the year. Sanderson's new series "Mistborn," a trilogy, has a final installment slated to be released in October 2008. More information can be found at www.brandonsanderson.com.Not new to the scene, author Chris Heimerdinger has written some 16 books, which include 10 volumes in the "Tennis Shoes Adventure Series," with the 11th volume due out sometime this year. Heimerdinger is also author of "Passage to Zarahemla." Heimerdinger has also written and directed several movies, including "The Wolves," "Lehi's Land of First Inheritance" and "Passage to Zarahemla." More information can be found at passagetozarahemla.com.