I met Dru Campbell when I was just a kid, in the early 1980s. She was the first "real" author I ever knew. Holding her books in my hands, I had the realization actual people wrote books. Flesh and blood, living, breathing, walk-down-the-street-like-the-rest-of-us, people.
When I first launched my blog, she was one of the first writers I wanted to interview. And when I finally landed my book deal, she was one of the first people I wanted to tell. The last conversation we had in person, at a party at my parents' house two summers ago, I told her my fantasy was to have her blurb my first novel. She said, she'd be honored. She had faith I would succeed.
"Tenacity," she said. "That's what will make you successful. You are going to stick with it until you make it. I know you will."
Drusilla Campbell died on October 24, 2014. One week after I signed my contract. I like to think she knows about it anyway. I like to think, she's smiling that 1000 watt smile. I like to think she's proud of me. Mostly, I like to think she knew just how much she meant to me. A marvelous author and teacher, Dru fostered countless writers over the years. Her passion for her work, her love of words and stories and characters, will stay with us in her books, always.
But the most important thing I learned from Dru, was commitment and trust. Because of her, I learned tenacity is the most important element I bring to the table. No matter what happens, remain unshakeable. She worked on her writing for decades. Sometimes up, sometimes down, she re-imagined herself and her writing over the years, finding her greatest success not long before she died. She persevered. For the example she set, I am forever grateful.