One of my favorite authors, Ann (AC) Crispin, has announced she’s been fighting cancer. The chemo appears to be working, which is fantastic, but the chemo has been going on for months already and is expected to continue through the summer. This means her Starbridge book sales are basically her only income this year.
I’ve mentioned STARBRIDGE before on this blog. I vividly remember reading the first book, mostly because I’d seen it several times in the bookstore and never bought it, because I didn’t like the cover very much (it was a Boris Vallejo, so it’s probably some kind of sin for me to say I didn’t like it, but meh, never really got behind the Vallejo work). Anyway, but Dad checked it out from the library for me and since I now *had* it, of course I read it.
And I loved it. I adored it. It’s about a young woman who is part of humanity’s first contact with new alien species, and who eventually helps to establish the Starbridge Academy, where young people of all species can go to school and learn to work together and be ambassadors to new cultures and worlds. For a 15 year old SF/F reader it was complete wish fulfillment stuff. I *loved* it. Love love love love loved it.
I don’t remember if other books were out by then or if they came out and I snatched them up with gleeful abandon every time they did, but she wrote more and more books in the series, all with collaborators. I liked them all. I loved some of them, loved them as much as the original StarBridge novel: most particularly SILENT DANCES and SILENT SONGS, with Kathleen O’Malley. The SILENT Starbridge books are about a deaf Native American girl whose ambassadorship is to a world where the natives are avians, and honestly, those two books are on my Desert Island list.
I already had great plans to be a writer by that age, of course, and I sent Ann a letter asking for advice. She wrote back a 4 page yellow pad letter with red pen and big fat loopy handwriting, full of stories and enthusiasm and advice and encouragement. I’ve still got it somewhere, but even if I didn’t I would never, ever forget that she took the time to do that for a teenage kid. Fifteen or seventeen years or so later I had URBAN SHAMAN published, and although I knew there was no chance at all she would remember having written to me way back when, I sent her a copy, and a letter explaining how she’d been so kind and generous to me so many years earlier, and thanking her for it all.
The incredibly bizarre and wonderful thing is that we’ve been in communication on and off ever since. Last year, when she announced that the Starbridge books were going to be e-released, I warned her that if they did well enough I was going to pitch a Starbridge idea to her myself, which prospect she met with enthusiasm (she also mentioned there was a third SILENT book planned, and wisted a moment over some of the unexplored potential of the Starbridge universe, so I don’t think she was *just* being polite :)).
So on a completely selfish note, of course, I’d like the books to do well enough to justify getting to write one with her someday, but on a much more important note, Ann is a terrific woman, a wonderful writer, and this is basically the best possible time for you to buy the books. The first 5 have been released and Ann is working on the last two between her chemo and PT and everything, so…yeah.
*goes to buy some books*
(x-posted from the essential kit)