Saturday, January 29, 2011

book dedication to a beloved editor, Ann Reit

Ann Reit at Scholastic, early years
Seventeen years ago, Ann Reit and I met via a long distance phone call. She was to be my editor at Scholastic for a new historical series called Dear America. Talk about opposites! I was a California beach girl and she a native New Yorker. Ann was so direct with her opinions—in her strong New York accent—frankly, she terrified me.

But we quickly became friends. We had a blast brainstorming The Winter of Red Snow, and fifteen subsequent novels. She was not sentimental about killing off one of my precious characters.
         “Get rid of him,” Ann said.
         “How?” I asked.
         “Have him fall off his horse.”
         “But he doesn’t have a horse.”
         “Kristi! Just give him a horse, make him go riding somewhere and have him fall off.”

June 1999 with Ann & my sons, Twin Towers in background
Of writer's block Ann said, "Forget about it. Just tell the story!" Our talks would veer from manuscripts, to politics and world events, to family. She loved remembering her mother and grandmother and their New York neighborhood of the 1920s. She always asked about my sons Greg and Cody, recalling details that showed how much she cared. Ann was Jewish and deeply spiritual. Often she started our conversations by saying, “Let’s talk about God.” And we would.

The last time I saw her was a few weeks before she passed away of cancer. We met at our favorite diner, CafĂ© 82 on New York's Upper West Side. The place was packed, but she forged through the crowd with her cane, to wait for the booth she wanted. Ann stood for thirty minutes, leaning on that cane until a gentleman finally finished his sandwich. As the table was being cleared, she said “Sit down Kristi, this one’s for us.”

I love this memory of Ann. She was feisty and protective. She took Flintstone vitamins and drank hot water without a teabag. I miss her terribly.

Meanwhile the sequel to Red Snow, Cannons at Dawn, will be published this May with her name on my dedication page. I had the good fortune of working with another wonderful editor on this project, Lisa Sandell.



pOstsCript said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful memories! You are fortunate to have had Ann as an editor and a friend!

Heather Spiva said...

This is such beautiful memory of her. Wonderful. I feel like I knew her too, now. Thank you.

Kristiana Gregory said...

Thanks for reading about Ann. She truly was special.