In August of 2008, a few months before Nanowrimo would begin, I had dinner with my friend Kip. We sat under the stars at Jayne's Gastropub, and over gourmet burgers we each shared the various ideas we were thinking of tackling for our november novels. I pitched three projects, one of which was The Darwin Elevator. Personally I was hotter on a different idea, but Kip looked me square in the eye and said, "If I were you I'd drop everything else and work on nothing but that." He went on at length about the merits of the idea, and that encouragement and confidence served as a constant motivator to me during my path to where I am now.
Kip was one of the first writers I met when I started writing in 2007. He became the heart and soul of our informal writing group, the Cosmonicans, and served as a constant source of stories, jokes, and advice. The man had more talent in his little pinky than the rest of our group combined, in my opinion, and it saddens me that he spent so much of his time and energy battling cancer over the last few years, time I'm sure he would have loved to devote to writing.
Last year I told Kip I'd named a character after him in the book.
"Not the hero, I hope," he said.
"Oh, no. This Kip's a total weasel."
"Perfect," he said, with his signature grin.
He passed away on November 23rd, losing a fight with leukemia, and he'll be sorely missed.
You can read some of his short fiction on his blog.