Kate Duffy, longtime Kensington editor, has died.
I didn't know Kate, but met her a couple of times. She always struck me as a blunt, down-to-earth, funny as hell woman, and I'd heard her skills as an editor were terrific. She never hesitated to say what she thought, and to me, that was so damn refreshing.
I first met her at the Florida Romance Writers convention in 2007. Kate was on a panel with other editors and agents, doing a Floridian Idol. Writers would give, anonymously, a few pages and the panel would critique them.
I remember one particular entry that was extremely racist and offensive. The others on the panel were delicate in their comments, but Kate laid it out on the line. She clearly said how offensive it was.
I met her again at Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans in 2007, the very first year Heather organized the conference. Kate did an impromptu session with the audience, sitting down with us instead of speaking at the podium, and telling us what she liked, what was up and coming at Kensington, and what she looked for in books.
It was fun, it was open and honest, and I thought, "Damn, as an editor she might be tough, but you'd know where you stood." Even though I had nothing to send to her, as I was already under contract with another house, I wanted to submit to her just to see what she'd say.
I never did, and I regret that now.
I heard she was getting treatments for cancer. If they can find a cure for this horrible and heart-breaking disease in my lifetime, it won't be soon enough. Just last week, I found out a couple of co-workers have cancer, and a friend's father was diagnosed with lung cancer and another friend just had surgery for cancer.
Kate Duffy. A helluva editor, smart, witty woman, and a good person.
She'll be sorely missed in the publishing world.
My condolences to her family, her authors, her coworkers, and her friends.