In historical fiction, I wanted my character to use matches, which existed at that time. Larriane pointed out that even though they existed, they weren’t in common use in the United States. I wanted my mail-order bride to board a train to meet her soon-to-be husband, but Larriane pointed out that trains didn’t go that far at the time. A stagecoach ended up substituting for the train.
Besides her willingness to go the extra mile, I remember Larriane’s sweetness and fearlessness—an unusual combination. I considered her fearless because she didn’t let things like deafness slow her down. Often, at writing conferences, she used an FM receiver unit to hear the speaker. The speaker might turn away or rattle papers, making it difficult to hear anything, but still, she persevered.
Coyotes roamed the edges of her back yard, which forced her to keep a sharp eye on her beloved dogs. When one grabbed her tiny dog, she chased the predator and beat it with her cane until it dropped her pet. Someone needs to make an action hero movie with the lead character named Larriane, and wielding a wicked cane.
Her sweetness showed up in many ways. She loved, loved her family and Christmas because of the joy of the season and family get-togethers. Homemade crafts came from endless hours of stitching. She created crocheted, knitted, or cross-stitched gifts for one and all. Right before she went into the hospital, she either mailed my cross-stitched cup filled with tea or had someone mail it for her.
Despite how diva-like writers could react to her edits, she never responded in turn. Maybe she understood because she, too, wrote. In my opinion, she must have been an old soul, who held a deeper understanding of the human heart than most. She once told me that her goal was to make the authors better writers. Sure, it would be easy to buzz through a story and make corrections—basically rewriting it—but she didn’t do that.
Instead, she wrote on my manuscript about trying a different word, or to elaborate on the scene due to its importance in the timeline. She kept track of time and days in the story and warned me when I made my heroine do more than humanly possible in a day.
Larriane also witnessed the absurdity of life and stored it away for another time when she need to smile. She shared tales of her own life in our email exchanges. Life dealt her some severe blows, which never brought her to her knees. The woman I knew could have inspired the warrior princess trope. Deafness, age, coyotes, and diva writers couldn’t take the wind out of her sails.
Besides being my editor, I thought of Larriane as my friend, and encourager. She used her social media presence to promote other writers all the time. In a way, I never wanted to think of being without Larriane—so I didn’t. Unfortunately, COVID had other plans, and her indomitable will finally folded. This isn’t goodbye because she lives on in her books with the pen names Larriane Wills , Larion Wills, and L.L. Brooks. She endures in all the authors she guided. There is, in the end, her family, her dearest treasure.