I did not know author Bridget Zinn personally, although we have many author and bookseller friends in common. Publishing is in many ways a small world and Bridget Zinn had written a kick ass debut YA titled Poison and it was supposed to release in summer of 2012 in the middle of the pack with the rest of her Apocalypsies debut ‘class.’ Here is what I knew: That Bridget was a fine and wonderful writer with great promise ahead of her. That she grew up in Wisconsin. That she married the love of her life and most recently lived in Portland, where I visited on tour this past January and had the privilege of meeting and hanging out with many of her author friends and the fine booksellers at Powell’s and Green Bean Books and A Children’s Place, the last of which hosted the Poison release event just the other day.
And that tragically, Bridget was diagnosed with colon cancer not long after her marriage and that she died, at age 33, before the publication of that debut novel.
Publisher’s Weekly talks about this in fine articulate prose here .
As for me, I know what it is to receive the best news of your life along with the worst news of your life all at once. In February 2010, just as my debut novel DREAMING ANASTASIA was starting to do great things and I had been asked to write a sequel, I was diagnosed with what turned out to be an advanced stage of thyroid cancer. This post is not about my story, so I’ll keep the tale short: I cried. I was scared. As the doctors at cancer hospitals are fond of saying, cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who or what you are. I had surgery and radioactive iodine treatment and many months of retesting over the past 3 years. The cancer has not come back. The word cure has been used, which let me say that the folks at MD Anderson do not use lightly. But I will say that once you get the best and the worst of life all in one week, it changes everything forever.
I hate beyond the telling that Bridget is not here to celebrate what I am certain is a dream come true, that the many, many books that surely lived inside her will never be here for us to read. And I love with a fiery passion that her friends and fellow authors and the publishing community have made sure that POISON was birthed into the world where, because it is a fine and wonderful and clever story, it will keep Bridget on bookshelves for a very long time. That is the great thing about books: They are forever—reborn each time a new reader opens to that first page.
If you don’t know about POISON, here’s what Amazon has to say:
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she's the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
As I type this, the book is selling well. Very well. Let’s keep it that way.
Cheers to you, Bridget Zinn. And cheers to the YA publishing community who made sure that POISON released yesterday.