Damn, damn, and double damn. I just found out that author K. D. Wentworth passed away from pneumonia yesterday after a battle with cervical cancer. She was a longtime friend, and she will be missed.
Kathy got her start in writing by winning the Writers of the Future contest in 1988. She later became one of the judges for the contest. More details of her professional life are available at Locus Online.
I first met K. D. Wentworth in Tulsa at the second Conestoga in 1998, where she was on the Con Committee.. We saw each other each summer until the convention moved to April in 2009 (I wasn’t able to attend) as well as at other conventions, most notably Armadillocon and ConDFW. The last time I saw her was at Armadillocon in summer 2009. She joined a group of us for dinner on Friday night.
Kathy was a friendly, outgoing person and one of the most generous and kind people in the field. The greatest kindness she did me was on the way home from the World Fantasy Convention in 2000. The convention was in Corpus Christi that year, which meant it was close enough for me to attend. I flew down from Dallas. Since it was the first large convention I’d been able to attend, I took three suitcases, one tucked inside another, with just enough clothing and personal items to make it through the weekend.
On the way back, all three suitcases were packed with books. I was flying Southwest airlines, which at that time had a limit of two carry-on items per person. All the flights out of Corpus were with Southwest, and all of them went through Houston. Kathy and I were on the same flight. I was trying to decide which suitcase to check when Kathy offered to carry one of the suitcases on for me since she only had one carry-on bag. I accepted.
Kathy and the rest of her party from Tulsa changed planes in Houston while I continued on to Dallas. Both legs of the flight were packed. You can imagine the dirty looks I received when I deboarded the plane with three bulging suitcases. That’s the sort of generous person Kathy was. I also have a signed manuscript of an unpublished short story set in her Black/on/Black universe she gave me at a convention.
She was a great writer, being a three time finalist for the Nebula. I’ve not read all of her novels, but I’ve read most of them, and I’ve enjoyed all of them immensely. In my opinion she was one of the more under appreciated writers of the last two decades. She wrote across multiple subgenres of science fiction and fantasy. In addition to novels, she wrote numerous short stories, the most recent short work being “Alien Land” in the January/February issue of F&SF. If you’ve not read her work, do. She was good and she had her own unique voice.