One of the great privileges of my life was a two-year correspondence with Tom Clancy. I shared a few thoughts about that time here.
After I wrote that, I had a sudden wave of nostalgia for that era of my life. Who was that girl who capriciously dashed off a letter to America’s best selling author, certain he would write her back? It amuses me to imagine. Today, celebrities of every flavor are much more accessible on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (this week Conan O’Brien accepted my friend request on LinkedIn.)
But back then – in the magical era known as “the Nineties” when people had jobs and money and free time – celebrities were a bit more cloistered. The fact that he wrote back with such openness, exuberance and kindness spoke to his character. He let me bounce ideas off him. He criticized some of them.
My book, God’s Country, was directly born from my conversations with Tom. It changed over time from the “Tom Clancy for girls” book I’d envisioned to romantic suspense, but the bones are still there, gleaming with his polish. I was learning to write. When I look back, I am agog that he was so generous with his time.
He was a terrific author and a man of uncommon kindness. He had an extraordinary capacity for kindness.
He will be missed.