The first novel I read by someone I knew was J.J.Lair’s Dream Dancing. Jim was (and still is) a friend from the Monmouth Creative Writing Group.
To be honest, if I hadn’t known him, I doubt I'd have ever heard of his book, much less bought it, but he’s my friend, and after all, that's what are friends are for, right? No doubt you’ve done the same.
The weird thing was, reading it turned to be much harder than I thought. Not because of the writing, which was fine, but because I was so worried I might not like it. What if I hated the story, or the characters? How could I look him in the eye the next time we saw each other? I’d read enough bad books by authors I’d never met to know that, just because a novel’s in print doesn’t mean it’s any good.
Unless you’ve been in this situation yourself, it’s hard to describe. The nearest equivalent I can think of, is when someone you know is in a band, and insists on standing right next to you while they play their demo tape (which has happened to me on more than one occasion).
Of course, I needn’t have worried. I liked Dream Dancing, and gladly recommend it. Since then I’ve read a other books by people I know, usually written by friends in the GSHW, or guest speakers at their events. The funny thing is, no matter how many times I do this, I still get that nagging doubt as I turn to that first page. What if it’s no good? What do I say if they ask me how I liked it?
How about you? What was the first novel you read, when the face inside the cover belonged to someone you knew?
Did you feel like I did? Is it a different book when you know the author? or is it just me?