So many to choose from! This topic came to mind when I saw that one of the authors I favored while growing up died recently.
I discovered Barbara Metz, aka Barbara Michaels, aka Elizabeth Peters via a made for TV movie (The House that Would Not Die). Campy, Aaron Spelling, I believe, but it was a haunted house movie and I loved those! The book was titled Ammie Come Home. Barbara Michaels is a bit of an acquired taste - I like the supernatural infusion into the story, although her romances are a bit bland. Almost nonexistent. Upon her death, I've begun reading some of the Elizabeth Peters novels, which are more centered around Egyptology. Another subject I enjoy. Am I going to stand on my soapbox and proclaim her the best author ever? No. But I do enjoy her books. They'd probably appeal more to a YA audience than a romance audience, and they are dated. Her "romance" subplots are grossly understated (to the point of almost nonexistent).
Another of my favorites is Victoria Holt. Gothic romances that I keep on my shelves to read and reread. But those are the "oldy moldies" among my collection.
In more "modern" times, I've acquired a taste for Teresa Medeiros and Mary Balogh in the romance venue. I also enjoy Dan Brown and John Grisham. Stephen King continues to horrify and delight me.
And then one must take into consideration categories. Classics? Current bestsellers? Old standbys? What makes an author a "favorite?" There are so many choices these days, and my short list doesn't begin to encompass all the books that have touched me in one way or another. The authors I've listed are the "brands" that I know and love and trust. There are countless books that I've enjoyed, but that wouldn't necessarily put the author on my "favorites" list. To achieve that status, I look for consistency.
The Harry Potter books are consistent. But would I put J.K. Rowling on my favorite author list? I'm not sure. I haven't read her other stories. Likewise, I'm not going to beat a dead horse and discuss another author whose first two books literally changed my life. Made me want to live inside the pages of a book. Sent me off on an adventure to find something that didn't exist. And yet, that author does not rank among my favorites (because of the lack of consistency). I suppose that translates to Favorite Books and Favorite Authors not always in harmony with each other.
When you think of your favorite author, do you think of something you've read more recently, or something that you have on your shelf that you will go to again and again (that might be more "dated")? An author who is still productive today, or who is pushing up daisies? An "old friend" or a recent discovery?