Rookhouse author Lee Allred asked us if he could write this week’s Wednesday News.
Kathy Diane (“K.D.”) Wentworth, 1951–2012
Last week, science fiction lost one of its leading lights, and I lost one of my best friends. SF Author K.D. Wentworth passed away last Wednesday (18 Apr 2012).
Kathy was not only a very talented writer in her own right (three Nebula nominations) and dozens of published stories and novels), but she put as much energy, devotion, and talent into helping other writers as she did building her own career.
She was the human dynamo behind much of the Tulsa Oklahoma writers’ scene, organizing and transforming the small local Tulsa sf con, Conestoga, into a very well respected convention that top names in the business went out of their way to attend. For around a decade now, she served as a judge, coordinating judge, and lecturer for the international Writers of the Future contest for new writers. She also served twice as secretary for the Science Fiction Writers of America, the professional sf writers’ organization.
She was a tireless advocate of writing and science fiction who lectured at libraries, public schools, and Oklahoma writing workshops.
Above all, Kathy was fun. She performed with (and I suspect wrote the scripts for) a local amateur theatrical troupe, the Penguin Playhouse, and also participated in a number of dinner theatre mysteries. She was an avid fan of Firefly and Sherlock Holmes.
I first met Kathy back in 1995 when she attended the Salt Lake City sf convention CONduit to promote her then newest book, House of Moons. Almost on sight, Kathy took me in and made me part of her circle of friends.
We spent many long distance hours on the phone gabbing away about nothing, palling around various science fiction conventions together. We were both morning people (extremely rare at science fiction conventions) and had many an early morning Hotel breakfast buffet together waiting for the rest of the con to wake up.
We had an epic Disneyland adventure on Labor Day during LA Con III, the 1996 Worldcon in Anaheim, where the heavens aligned just right and during that busy Labor Day holiday, the two of us (and fellow author Steven J. York, another of Kathy’s friends) managed to hit every ride just right with no waiting lines. We just walked up, ride after ride, and hopped on.
I attended the Tulsa Conestoga convention whenever my schedule permitted, and stayed overnight at Kathy’s house once or twice on those visits, visiting with her and her longsuffering husband, Richard, always so bemused by the wackiness of us science fiction types, even us sedate ones. When I deployed to Iraq, Kathy sent treats and boxes of DVDs that proved a godsend both for me and the rest of my team. We called the cardboard box her DVDs shipped over in our Blockbuster rental store.
The sweetest thing she ever did for me came in 2000 when she phoned around Christmas to tell me of her Christmas gift to me that year: she had dedicated her upcoming book Stars Over Stars to me.
I am deeply, deeply saddened for the loss of her leaving us so earlier. Sad for myself, but not for her, for I’m sure at this very moment she’s romping with her beloved Akita dogs, Sammi and Bear, who preceded her in leaving us.
25 Apr 2012