Friday, October 9, 2009

Legacy - in memory of Kate Duffy

During my historical research, I came across the term legacy.

Apparently, the popes of history were concerned about leaving something behind after they die so people would remember them, so they commissioned great works of art.

There are two ways to leave a legacy -- have kids, create art, or both. Unless everything on earth disappears, the words we write will be around long after we will in one form or another. Michelangelo is gone, but the Sistine Chapel is still here, inspiring everyone who sees it.

I was sad to learn of Kate Duffy’s recent death. She was Sr. Editor of Kensington Publishing for several years, and I attended many of the same writing workshops she did. She could often be found on editor/agent panels, giving straight, commonsense advice--laced with her great sense of humor--to aspiring authors like me.

During one convention, I pitched a book to her. If you didn’t know Kate, she could seem a little formidable at first, so I was nervous. When the girl who pitched her book before me walked out looking like she might cry, throw up, or both-- apparently there was a sizable problem with her story--I thought “hoo boy, what am I in for?”

To my surprise, it was one of my best pitches ever. It was soon apparent she liked me and my story. And when I described a funny scene where the historical heroine ogles the modern-day hero sunbathing in the buff on the castle roof, she laughed so hard her face turned red. She even told me I was doing a great job pitching.

She read the whole manuscript promptly and although she rejected it, she gave me some valuable feedback I learned from and still use today. Basically, lack of detail in characters and setting and not enough sex. Since then, I’ve been told my settings are rich, my characters are well developed, and sex? I just sold my third erotic romance manuscript. Need I say more? And I’m not an aspiring author anymore. I’m published.

Kate may no longer be with us, but her influence is still around, making all the authors and books she impacted better. What’s your legacy?

Afton Locke

Ellora’s Cave titles:
Cicada - paranormal
Sexual Energy - futuristic m/m/f ménage - coming soon!


Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Kate was a pioneer in this industry, discovering and nurturing talent in so many finite ways that we may never be able to measure the ripples. What's more, she remembered you. Was interested in what you wrote. Traded business cards and said, "Email me. Let me know what you are doing!" It was professional courtesy but it was also a pro keeping up with authors in a most personal way.
She was always ready to laugh with you, too.
And she had a wicked wit.
Kisses to you, Kate.
You were a gracious lady and a romantic at heart.

Fran Lee said...

She must have been a real dynamo, Afton. I have heard nothing but good about her.