The Kindness of Writers by Barbara Ross

My Mom

So my mom died.

I’ll write about that someday, probably soon, but I’m not ready.

What I want to write about is the incredible kindness of writers.

One of the things I loved about my corporate life was working with a team of people who always had my back. (In fact I wrote about that, back in the day, here.)

The writing life is very different. To a large extent, we’re all individual entrepreneurs, running tiny businesses. (Or big businesses if we’re James Patterson, J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.) But the point is, even those of us who are traditionally published are pretty much solo small business people.

So when I embarked on this chapter of my life, I thought I would miss terribly working with a network of people who supported me and shared my goals.

Was I ever completely wrong.

My mother had a long chronic illness which turned into an acute illness which led to a series of crises which ultimately led to her death. I was left with a lot of wonderful memories, and a book due and a condo to be emptied, both by September 1.

During my mother’s final illness, and in the period since, my writer friends have stepped in to help me and support me.

Kate Flora and Lea Wait from this blog covered me for blog posts and Kate represented Level Best Books at Books in Boothbay because I couldn’t be there. They sent notes of support and checked in with my almost daily.

Over on the Wicked Cozy Authors blog, Julie Hennrikus whipped out a post for me despite her own busy life, Jessie Crockett got rid of one of my obligations and Sherry Harris fulfilled another. And everyone, including Edith Maxwell and Liz Mugavero sent me notes of support and encouragement.

My fellow Level Best editors, Mark Ammons, Kat Fast and Leslie Wheeler lifted me right out of all the editing and proofing cycles, normally one of my most time-consuming summer tasks. Over at the New England Crime Bake a whole group of people stepped in to drive the remaining marketing tasks.

I got e-mails and notes and Facebook messages of condolence and support from so many writing friends. Kaitlyn Dunnett wrote not only to express her sympathy, but also to say that she was sure I would finish the book “with time to spare.” When someone on the cusp of publishing her 50th book says something like that to you, it gives you such a boost.

This is not to take away from my non-writing friends who’ve also been wonderful and my family, who have all been nothing short of amazing, especially my incredible brother Rip.

Harlen Coben often quotes Lawrence Block as saying that in the mystery community, “No one has to fail so I can succeed.”

I’ve experienced that supportive network many times before, in the ongoing process of learning my craft, during my quest to be published, and now in my process of building a career. But even in that context, the last few months have been extraordinary, and I want to thank everyone. You’ve helped me more than you can know.

About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
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10 Responses to The Kindness of Writers by Barbara Ross

  1. Brenda Buchanan says:

    My sympathy on the death of your Mother, Barb. It is an enormous loss, and I will look forward to reading more when you are ready to write about her and your relationship with her. In the meantime, take good care of yourself and keep letting your friends and loved ones support you. That support honors her, and honors you, too.

    Brenda B.

  2. Hugs are ongoing, Barb. And what a spectacular picture of your mother. Flying! I love it.

  3. Pamela Oberg says:

    So sorry for your loss, Barb, but glad to hear that you’re surrounded by such an extensive community of supportive and encouraging friends, family, and acquaintances. This was such a lovely post–and a great photo. It is kind of you to share with all of us. Thinking of you.

  4. Gram says:

    So sorry for the loss of your Mother. Nice to find that you have a wonderful back-up support system.

  5. Barb,
    so sorry…I can’t imagine. my thoughts are with you.


  6. …I have long admired your mother’s spunk and zest for living…perfectly captured in this photo…many thoughts coming your way from your old “business” colleagues…


  7. Barb Ross says:

    Thank you so much, everyone,

    I really appreciate the kind words and support.

  8. Liz Mugavero says:

    Barb, we love you!! What a sweet post 🙂 xoxo

  9. Patrick Gomes says:

    So sorry to hear. My thoughts are with you and your family.
    And what a lovely tribute to your fellow writers.

  10. My sympathy, Barbara. And thank you! I will keep and treasure that wonderful line: “No one else has to fail so I can succeed.”

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