The book world lost an icon this month when Rachel Caine passed after a long battle with cancer.

I first “met” Rachel about a million years ago after I read the first book in her Weather Warden series, Ill Wind ( and adored it.

I was a very young writer at the time with only one book under my belt and a tiny newsletter following. But I’ve never been accused of being shy, so I reached out to Rachel for writing advice and to ask her for an interview for my 50 whole followers. I was so pleasantly surprised when she not only replied, but actually began a conversation with me about writing and reading and how her writing process worked. She graciously granted an interview, and we chatted off an on for about a year before I plunged into the business side of the publishing world as an editorial director for a small e-house.

But even when I wasn’t writing, I was reading, and I was reading her books. And as I did, I realized how much of a gift Rachel had given me in those early days…her most precious resource…time.

Her Stillhouse Lake books will always be one of my favorite suspense series, and I have a shelf full of Weather Warden books that I’ll always cherish.

I began writing again after a break, and that early advice from Rachel has been my constant companion since. To put your butt in the chair and write. To read, not only to see what’s trending in the market, but for the joy of it. And to understand the business of writing. What she didn’t tell me, but has impacted every book I’ve written, was how to write a kick-ass, sympathetic heroine, who stands her ground for what she knows is right. She gave us all Joanne Baldwin, and for that I’ll always be eternally grateful.

Rachel, you impacted a generation of writers and readers, and you’ll be missed so very much.