Last Friday, my morning was interrupted by some terrible news. Golden Keyes Parsons had been killed the evening before in a tragic traffic accident. My heart still aches at this news. It would have regardless, but especially because I'd just exchanged emails with Golden a couple hours before the accident. I had a Skype call scheduled with her book club for this past Monday. The same day I was sending her edits on her book, The Gift of the Inn, that WhiteFire is scheduled to publish this autumn, in time for Christmas.
Sudden loss is always hard. I can only imagine how her family is feeling right now--Golden was a woman of deep beauty, inside and out, who loved nothing as much as her family. This was clear within minutes of talking to her. She was a woman who loved her Lord and believed first and foremost in doing the work He called her to do--also clear in a single conversation with this amazing lady. She leaves behind her a true legacy of love and light and service. It was an honor to know her.
I met Golden online many years ago. We were both members of an off-shoot of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) called HisWriters, that was for writers of European-set historicals. I had my biblicals set in Rome and was working on the series that eventually became Ladies of the Manor. Golden had just contracted her Darkness to Light Series with Thomas Nelson, about the Huguenots of 17th century France, following a family through trials and tribulations that eventually led them to America.
Waaaaaaay back in 2009, when I was re-releasing A Stray Drop of Blood as a paperback, I asked Golden if she would read the book for me, to endorse it. She agreed and provided an encouraging quote for me to use--and then asked a question. She asked if WhiteFire was accepting submissions from other writers. She had a series of Biblical novellas she'd always wanted to write, and Stray Drop made her think it would pair well with WhiteFire.
She was the first author friend to ask this question. In the last 8 years, WhiteFire has signed nearly 30 authors, and she was one of the first few. We published her Hidden Faces series, those four biblical novellas about the unnamed women of the Gospels. So not only did I get to know Golden as a fellow writer, as a friend, but she became one of my authors, and I her editor. Which was so hilarious to me at the time, as I still felt like a kid in comparison to her.
As the WhiteFire list grew, our authors became a bit of a family themselves. And Golden always called herself "the grandmother of the WhiteFire crew." She was always there to pray with us, to encourage us. She always, always proved herself a woman of grace and wisdom.
A few months ago, her agent contacted us about another book Golden wanted to place with us--this one set in Colorado during World War II. We ended up contracting The Gift of the Inn, a Christmas story about reunion and love. Given that edits were underway, I'd been talking to Golden a good bit about her book, her website, her vision. So looking forward to bringing life to another of her dreams.
Tragedy will always leave holes in our lives; that's part of existing here on Earth. Everyone who loved Golden can take solace in the sure knowledge that she's with her Father in heaven. But we'll miss her. And we'll remember. And we'll do all we can to honor the name and memory of a woman who epitomized a good Christian, a good person, a good writer.
I am proud to have counted myself her friend.