sic itur ad astra

With my virtual book tour done and my little novel out in the world, I can take a moment to breathe.

It’s been a bit hard going about the book launch thing with my smile stapled on, because the same week Definitely went out, Interlude Press lost our technical guru and typesetter, Lex Huffman. It was sudden and shocking and those at IP that were close to him are still reeling.

I did not know Lex well. We communicated while we were all working on the book – on conference calls and through emails. He is the one responsible for what Definitely looks like on the inside, for picking the font and the little sketches at the top of each chapter. I have my copy of it at close hand, I have since I received it, but now I look at it as a memorial of a kind, fiercely intelligent man I wish I had known better.

The lock screen of my phone is a photo he took. He told us authors once that when he got his hands on copy zero of our books – which was his privilege as the book designer – he would go out to his back yard and hunt down a four leaf clover, which he would then slip in between the pages of the book before putting it up on his shelf. That’s the photo he sent me, the photo of him holding my book and a four leaf clover, and it meant so much when I got it – sent at a time I badly needed a morale boost – and it means even more now.

He liked fantasy and science fiction, and we exchanged emails about the dearth of queer SF&F we’d experienced growing up. He loved astronomy, and created a website that let you track what stars were overhead right now. He was always funny – on the day my book launched he picked on me on Twitter for being so overly excited, I used too many exclamation points.

And two days later he was gone.

I will always wish I hadn’t been too shy and wary of being a nuisance to talk to him more, because the little experience I had knowing him was just splendid, and my heart hurts for his friends who are very much aching and feeling his loss right now.

Goodbye, Lex. Now you have gone to the stars you loved so well.


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