Diane Mumpower


Dear Friend, Editor Extraordinaire

3/12/1953 – 1/23/2016

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, the world lost a truly wonderful person, and I lost my dear, dear friend and long-time editor, Diane Mumpower. To say that Diane leaves a huge hole in my heart and my life is not to exaggerate.

I met Diane in January 2006 when she came to work at the company I had worked for since 1997.  While normally I keep my distance with new people until I feel comfortable, I felt instantly at home with Diane. She was such an easy person to be around.  We found that we shared a passion for books and an interest in current events, and then we discovered that we both (1) had a sly sense of humor and (2) loved to dissect people and their motives and personalities. We had weird conversations – we could spend one lunch hour talking about politics and the next talking about subduction zones and when the next big earthquake would hit Yellowstone. (Yes, I know – two nerds.)

As we shared lunches and teas, emails and IMs, I discovered many things about Diane. She had a real care for the earth – she fussed at me all the time for forgetting to recycle my empty water bottles. She tried always to believe the best of people, that they were on the side of angels, a sobering rebuke many times to my natural cynicism. And she adored animals – she was the one who told me to take on that stray who showed up at my door in 2007, saying, “Face it, he’s yours. He’s given himself to you. It’s destiny.” Is it any wonder that my stray, Max, adored her? As she once said, she spoke “kitty.”

But a lot of people know these things about Diane. They know how selflessly she took care of her mother in her last years, spending time in Tennessee away from the life she had built here in Texas. They know how quickly she volunteered her time, stepping forward to take on projects that many of us tried to pretend we knew nothing about. They know what a genuinely good person she was. They can speak to that more eloquently than I can.

What many probably don’t know is that, even though she came to writing and editing late, she was an extraordinarily gifted and insightful editor. She had an instinct for words and characters that many experienced writers and editor struggle for decades to achieve. She was a natural. When I decided to make my lifelong dream of being a published novelist a reality, Diane was the first person outside my family whom I told, and she encouraged and exhorted me as I began that long and scary journey. When I hesitated, she told me to get busy. When I found myself paralyzed with writer’s block, she talked me through my fears. When I wrote new chapters, she wanted to see them right away, and we spent many a lunch hour or tea-time reworking and polishing them to make my words the best they could be. She worked tirelessly to make sure my novels put their best foot forward, many times finding subtleties that had escaped me. She understood my characters and helped me to discover hidden motivations and personality traits that even I, their creator, hadn’t seen. She helped me design my web sites and reviewed all my content, including her own interview of me, conducted over IM while we were “working.”

She made my dream come true. I don’t think that, without her, I could have undertaken what turned out to be a herculean task. I thanked her in the first two books, but I am dedicating the third book to her for all her work and encouragement. It’s not enough to really thank her for everything she did for me, but it’s all I have now to give her.

She was a great and selfless friend. I only hope that I was half as good a friend to her in return.

Diane had an affinity for the mountains and, over the years, took some stunning photographs on her vacations. It’s right that she will now fly among the mountains and meadows of Yellowstone. It’s a lovely setting for her.

Good night, dear friend, and thank you for ten great years of love and laughter. I thank God for your spark in my life and will remember you always.