I admit it. I crave hearing that someone has read my books, even more so when they really enjoyed them. I love seeing reviews posted, however critical, because someone cared enough to take the trouble to write something. The first (and only) time I saw someone reading the book on the train, I suspect my feet actually left the ground.
Nothing, of course, compares to when my sons held their first copies, or when I hear them talking to people with pride about their contribution to the story. A few weeks ago, we sat with dear friends around a campfire, and everyone was invited to share an achievement from the past year. My 10-year-old spoke at length about his pride on our teamwork writing the fantasy series.
At The Walls Of Galbrieth reached the Quarter Finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2012, and I remember a powerful feeling of simple validation. Experts in the genre had deemed my books to be credible members of the epic fantasy world. A big confidence booster.
But this week topped it all. The Eric Hoffer Book Awards committee announced their Grand Prize Awards Finalists, and At The Walls Of Galbrieth is right up there. I am very proud of the achievement.
I know that, ultimately, I write for my sons and myself. I acknowledge that this is a family project that will be treasured, I hope, long after they leave home, and I dream that one day they may tell their own children of their part in the story as they show them the books.
We are three days away from the Eric Hoffer Awards being declared and two months from our family vacation. They both feel a lifetime away. I guess I still need that recognition and validation.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Is there?
Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter. For more about the author, check out his website.