When I was a debut author I joined a group of thirty or forty other debut authors of young adult and middle grade fiction. We are a dissimilar lot but went through a lot together. One of our rising stars — the one who won a “best debut author” from the ALA — passed away in February. She was a warm and thoughtful person and a lovely writer. She said smart things about the process, which I never seem to be able to do. She had a lot of fans and was responsive to them. She had wonderful back stories about her books. She’d saved her childhood stories to share, and was able to inspire other aspiring writers of all ages to press on. She emerged all at once, knowing how to be an author, which I still feel I haven’t done after three books. Now we lost her, and the wake of her passing was felt throughout the industry. Sometimes this is a bunny eat bunny world, but that day we were nothing but a community grieving together. I didn’t know her well, but losing a member of the group was bewildering. We’re all just starting out, and she started off with such magnificence. It makes no sense.
“Some days you may be in love or in mourning. Those days belong in the writing life, too. Live them without guilt.” – L.K. Madigan