Last month I attended my fifth New England Crime Bake Mystery Conference in Woburn, Massachusetts. One of this year’s highlights was watching Kate Flora receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the Crime Bake and the mystery community. An even bigger thrill was being asked to speak on her behalf before the award presentation.
For those of you who don’t know, Kate, who I lovingly refer to as doc, was my writing mentor. I believe most published authors can point to that one person who helped them achieve their dream and Kate was mine. Were it not for Kate, I truly wonder whether anything that has transpired would have ever happened. You see Kate believed in me and my writing even when I began to doubt myself. She was steadfast in her belief that I would one day be traditionally published and would frequently caution me to be careful what I wished for. She was my editor, my copyeditor, my psychotherapist, and my cheerleader. Never once did her support for my writing waiver. She constantly pushed me to work harder and dig deeper.
I have been a part of this writing journey long enough now to have met numerous other authors who have benefited from Kate’s support and guidance. Some of these authors even hail from my prior law enforcement profession. Instrumental in the creation of the New England Crime Bake, Level Best Books, and numerous other mystery writing endeavors, it is no coincidence then that Kate was duly recognized by her peers.
As for what I’ve learned from Kate? Well, getting published was my original goal, and now four short story anthologies and three novels later I’m still chugging along. But beyond individual achievement is her lesson of paying it forward. Kate taught me the value of offering a hand up to the next dreamer in line. Hopefully, I‘ll even have something of value to offer. And don’t worry Doc, I’ll be sure and warn them to be careful what they wish for.