The following is a purely selfish, cathartic post to pay homage to an amazing woman, author and friend.

Her name was Lisa Madigan and she died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. She was 48, and left behind a husband and young son. She also left behind thousands of friends and fans who hung on every word of her two novels, Flash Burnout and The Mermaid’s Mirror.

I got to work with her through Novel Novice and met her in October when I traveled to Portland for Wordstock 2010. It was such an amazing thing to meet an author who had become almost a friend. That feeling must have been mutual because she gave both Sara and I necklaces featuring the cover of The Mermaid’s Mirror. The back said, “In gratitude, Lisa.”

During a panel that day, which I was recording for a Novel Novice feature, she looked at me and addressed me, saying she was planning on writing a sequel. (We had discussed this a bit previously.)

That evening, a group of us met for dinner at a Portland brewery. Aside from me and Sara, there were five YA authors, including Lisa, who looked and acted full of life and vibrancy. She was quick to laugh and very perceptive. Near the end of dinner, she traded seats with another author so she could talk more intimately with us. She asked, “How did you two get together to form Novel Novice? I want to know your story.” And she did. She leaned forward on the table so she could catch every word. To me, that spoke volumes about the kind of person she was.

The next and final day of Wordstock was the day she had her presentation on The Mermaid’s Mirror. I traded assignments with other volunteers so I could escort her and Becca Fitzpatrick to their stage. Then Becca went MIA and we had a good laugh. After the presentation, they both inscribed my books, and as I was leaving, Lisa reached out her hand to grab mine and tell me again how much she appreciated the support and enjoyed meeting me.

I will kick myself for the rest of time for not squeezing her hand, or giving her another hug, or taking our picture together. Instead, I’ll have to remember her laugh, her unique voice, and re-read her words that have an honored place on my bookshelf.

Rest in peace, friend.