There’s something wonderful about getting in on the ground floor of an author’s career–about being one of the first people to read and admire them, before they became famous best-sellers....Which authors have you been lucky enough to discover at the very beginning of their careers....And, if you’ve never had that chance, which author do you WISH you’d been able to discover at the very beginning?
Well, I'm not sure how "wonderful" I think it is to be there at the beginning of an author's career. Generally I've found that first writings are usually not an author's best work, which is why I usually shy away from debut novels. I suppose if he/she were a personal friend, I'd feel differently, of course.
Even so, I have read many first-time authors over the years; but only a few I've actually stuck with and continued reading after that initial effort. One who immediately springs to mind is Larry Woiwode - I read his first novel, What I'm Going to Do, I Think, back in 1970 right after it first came out. Loved it so much I went on to read his second novel, Beyond the Bedroom Wall and many of his short stories over the years. He writes gorgeous stuff, and should be better known. Another writer from the '60s that I discovered early and kept up with is Tom Wolfe. I read his first two collections, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test soon after they were published in the late '60s, and I've read more of his work since then. I was a huge fan of the "new journalism." And I love his white suits.
A more recent discovery is English author Hazel Holt. I read the first of her Mrs. Malory mysteries, Mrs. Malory Investigates, as soon as it was available in the U.S. and since then I've read almost the entire series of nineteen novels. Still have a few to read, though - they're right there on my TBR list, along with the fifteen million other titles.