Sunday, June 8, 2014

In loving memory of my extraordinary editor, Frances Foster

Last night, the world lost an extraordinary editor and human being, the loving and beautiful Frances Foster.

I was only lucky enough to work with Frances on one book, THE PULL OF GRAVITY (though as Frances and I discussed, I am equally and incredibly lucky to be in the hands of my new editor, Elise Howard). But, Frances was the first person, after years of rejection, to take one of my manuscripts on and champion it, and believe in me. We had a few lunches, many phone calls, and, I like to think, an immediate and extraordinary connection. I will never forget getting out of the elevator in the flatiron building on my first visit to discuss my new book deal, to find her greeting me in the hall.

Frances teased that I won the award for her authors who most clearly labeled
their manuscript versions submitted, this one "The Last Best Version."

To me, Frances was the epitome of warmth, wisdom, humility and grace. I can hear her voice on my answering machine, the way she said my name, and from that, whether she was calling with good news, or to comfort me about some silly snag with the book.

This note came after she asked if I might take a stab at writing jacket copy

I will always strive to write stories that might make Frances proud of me. I'm sad, in our many in-person moments to not have taken a single "selfie" with Frances - she always seemed too regal and important to bother with such a trifle. Lord, I miss having that trifle now.

The tribute I wrote for Frances when she was honored by the Eric Carle Museum shortly before her stroke.

Frances has suffered greatly in the past 18 months. I hope she is at well-earned peace. A bunch of her authors lit candles for her Saturday night, all around the country, and she went peacefully, I think, guided surely by that light. 

Seems fitting since she guided us by such sure light.

With love to, and kinship with, her friends, family, and extraordinary authors. In that regard, I still marvel at the company I keep.