Rick Reed: So it’s probably a cliché, but my first LGBT book was Patricia Nell Warren’s iconic The Front Runner. I remember discovering it in the Waldenbooks at the Beaver Valley Mall in western Pennsylvania when I was about sixteen. I hid it from the friend I had come with and hid it when I got home again between the mattress and box spring of my bed.

But I reread that book many times through my teen years, amazed that for me, a small town boy, there were not only actually people who had the same feelings out there, but that they could be marines and athletes.

Rick Reed

An award-winning author referred to as the “Stephen King of gay horror” by Unzipped Magazine, Rick Reed has 16 books in print including his most recent titles, A Demon Inside (MLR), Tales from the Sexual Underground (MLR), and Orientation (Amber Quill Press), which won the EPPIE Award for best LGBT novel of 2008. His short fiction has appeared in more than 20 anthologies. He also reviews books for Dark Scribe magazine, and lives in the Pacific Northwest with his partner, and their dog, Lily. http://www.rickrreed.com/

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2 Responses to “My First Queer Book? ‘The Front Runner’”

  1. William Neale 1 October 2010 at 9:05 AM #

    Rick, we have yet something else in common. I found “The Front Runner” in, I think, 1975, at the student bookstore at the University of Tennessee. Amazingly, for that time, they had a GLBT section. This book changed everything. Strong, masculine athletic men could be gay, which was an epiphany for this small-town Southern boy at a time when I thought I was the only one. Great choice, Rick, and thanks for bringing back the memory of a wonderful book that probably still influences my own writing now.

  2. Rick R. Reed 1 October 2010 at 9:30 AM #

    Bill, I think many gay men of our age have the same “front runner” rite of passage. Other than “The Lord Won’t Mind” there weren’t many mainstream stories out there about our people back in the 1970s, at least not that we could pick up in a bookstore like Waldens.

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