Twice I have sat at the feet (once literally, once on a chair) of Megan Whalen Turner (author of the Queen's Thief series), and it was great fun, but that was not because of blogging....But through blogging there have been a number of authors I've gotten to know as friends in real life, and as friends on-line.
Finding Wonderland for many years, and we'd become friendly on line. So much so that when her travel plans grew complicated with regard to the ALA meeting where she was receiving the Coretta Scott King Author Honor for her lovely Mare's War, I invited her to come stay with me at my mother's house for a few days.
The first time we met face to face was during her ALA signing at her publisher's booth. And it was so lovely to actually meet her that (this is where I blush) that I became so chatty that one of the booth staffers asked if I wanted a chair next to her, and I realized (better late than never) that monopolizing an author's attention with personal chat during a signing was not exactly what I should be doing. (Sorry, Alfred A. Knopf). But the visit afterwards was a lovely thing, which just goes to show that inviting strangers from the internet to your mother's house can be a good idea.
Sarah Stevenson (Tanita's blogging partner at Finding Wonderland, who has a new book coming next month--The Truth Against the World), who was my room-mate last year in Austin. (This year's Kidlitcon will take place in Sacramento in October--come!)
And like so many bloggers, I have authors with whom I'm twitter friendly, who I'd love to meet in real life some day. But not many, because I don't actually want to Try to be friends with authors--it's nicer to be friends with people (who may be authors!). That being said, my eleven-year-old was very chuffed when Sage Blackwood (@urwalader) sent him birthday greetings on twitter (thanks, Sage!).
The uncomfortable side of being friends, or friendly, with authors is that sometimes one might read their books and might not be able to write glowing reviews.
Possible solutions (that are utterly obvious):
--be friends only with authors whose every work is a thing of joy and a beauty for ever (or you could be friends with authors who are so wildly successful that it doesn't matter if you review their book or not, and you can just send a congratulatory email/card).
--be friends with authors who are able to recognize that not every book is for every reader. If you are going to write a review saying (with tact and grace) that the book didn't work for you, say who you think it will work for.
--write a congratulatory blog post when a friend's book comes out, rather than a review.
And of course, if you are friends with an author, a disclaimer at the end is a good thing.
(ps: Kristin Cashore was once my blogger Secret Santa and sent me cookies she made herself! I still have the tins --plural! They were very good cookies).