Thursday, November 07, 2013

RIP Michael Palmer

Medical Thriller author Michael Palmer passed away last week. So sad.

I've only met the man twice, but he was so kind both times, I've always had a special place in my author fandom for him. 

The first time I met him was when I was attending the Maui Writers' Conference in 2004. I had been enrolled to take a week-long workshop with the great Paula Danzinger, but she passed away shortly before the conference, so I was re-assigned to Bob Mayer's group. Bob was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the group, but I was going into the week feeling rather displaced. As such, I was mindful of others I thought might be feeling the same way. One afternoon at a larger pep-talk session (a break from the intensive workshops), I noticed this quiet, teddy bear-ish man sitting over in the corner by himself. I had no idea who he was, so I thought maybe he was a shy attendee or something, and I went over to talk to him. He didn't act put out that I didn't recognize him or realize what a big deal he was in the publishing world, but kindly whisper-visited with me throughout the presentation. Imagine my surprise (and embarrassment) when I saw him sitting at his table at the faculty signing the next day. I quickly bought Extreme Measures for him to sign, and nervously approached his table. He graciously took the time to talk with me again, and said he enjoyed our chat the day before. Class act.

I met him again in July at the Thrillerfest Conference in New York. I was in the bar area with my friend Carla Buckley, who knows Mr. Palmer through ITW, so she invited him to join us when she saw him across the room. He was there to meet someone else, but he gamely stopped to talk before moving on. I said hello and reminded him of our meeting in Maui years before. Though he clearly didn't remember me, he was again so kind and just went with it. ("Oh, yes. Nice to see you again." Such a kind heart.)

We lost a good one.