This is a copy of the email that has been sent out to all of Rachel Caine’s followers:
It is with a heavy heart…
that we announce the passing of Roxanne Conrad, aka Rachel Caine. Roxanne lost her fight with a rare and aggressive cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, on November 1, 2020.
Roxanne was known worldwide as thriller, science fiction, and young adult writer Rachel Caine. With over 56 books in print and millions of copies sold, she was a popular guest at conventions in the United States and around the world. Her popular book series include the young adult Morganville Vampires novels, the Great Library series, and the #1 bestselling Stillhouse Lake novels in adult thrillers.
Due to the Covid pandemic, and Roxanne’s personal wishes, there will not be an in-person memorial service. However, the family is making arrangements for a virtual memorial service and more details will be released on that in the coming weeks.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of American Emergency Medical Fund, or the Dallas-based Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center.
Social media tributes are appreciated and may be posted to the Rachel Caine Fan Page on Facebook, and @rachelcaine on Twitter.
A Message from R. Cat Conrad
Roxanne/Rachel’s beloved husband
Rachel Caine and I met at a small convention in Dallas held over Halloween weekend in 1991. Justice-Con had the misfortune of being scheduled during the greatest midwestern storm of a century which has become known as the perfect storm. At the time Rachel was known by her given name Roxanne Longstreet and the only novel she had to her name was a book for a gaming company called Storm Riders. Storms seemed to be a pattern, so our meeting and courtship could’ve been an omen of things to come, and in one sense it was as her first major work under the name Rachel Caine was the wonderful urban fantasy series Weather Wardens. Roxanne, through patience and hard work, would eventually achieve international success as a highly regarded author of over 60 novels including the epic Morganville Vampires and runaway best selling Stillhouse Lake series.
From a personal perspective we had 29 wonderful years together and it was never stormy. The only clouds that loomed on our horizon were from the recurring bouts with cancer and she put up one helluva fight. Rox would probably say that every well told tale has elements of both tragedy and irony… And in 2020, the year of another perfect storm, one where a pandemic and social chaos reigns, the cancer which had plagued her for years returned with a vengeance. The final bit of irony that places Rox’s last story in context would be that she kept fighting right up till Halloween, and she passed on the same weekend as that perfect storm of our meeting so many years ago.
A Message from Lucienne Diver
Roxanne/Rachel’s Literary Agent and Faithful Friend
Roxanne is one of those rare people who… I typed that sentence, and realized that I had to replace the “is” with “was” and the numbness that had been protecting me since I learned of her death flooded away. I cried so hard I couldn’t see the keyboard. And then I shook so hard I couldn’t hit the right keys. And when I got it out of my system, I went right back to work, because that’s what Roxanne would do.
Roxanne is-was-and-ever-will-be one of those rare people every bit as amazing as she was talented. She put others first. Not just when it was convenient. Not just when she had nothing better to do or felt there might be something in it for her. During even her hardest times, including this latest, life-ending battle with cancer, she was an activist, an ally, a philanthropist, an author uplifting other voices. This is the person she was, day in and day out.
During her first battle with breast cancer years ago, Roxanne wrote incredibly funny “Still Not Dead” posts to inform others going through cancer what to expect, but also to reassure those who loved her. I felt terrible laughing as I read the posts out loud to my husband, but had to think that if she didn’t want me (and others) to laugh, she wouldn’t have made them so funny. But that was the person she was.
When I first met Roxanne and during that first bout, she was working sixty to ninety hour weeks (with drive time) doing crisis management and writing multiple books a year and battling cancer with radiation treatment and still managing to more or less meet her deadlines. This is why I knew I wasn’t allowed to let a little thing like grief get in my way. She felt terrible if we had to push back deadlines – and not because she was a pushover, because Roxanne, as giving as she was, also knew how to set boundaries, which can be a very tricky thing. She felt badly because of her work ethic and because there were schedules to keep and her readers to consider. She had a good thing going, and she didn’t want to lose it or disappoint a single person. Because that’s who she was.
Roxanne had all of those readers and such an amazing career because she was so empathetic. Because she could put herself in other people’s heads and hearts and put us there too. She could consider how it might feel to be an unsponsored (and therefore fair game) human in a town run by vampires or the unknowing wife of a serial killer having to change identities and go on the run with your kids when internet trolls are sure that you did know and are prepared to hunt you down and administer “justice,” so you could imagine it as well. Or…well, the list goes on. But when you can empathize and explore, then others can expand their understanding along with you, and that is an amazing thing. A world-changing thing. And the best any of us can ask is to leave our mark on this world.
Roxanne did that. She left her mark on all who knew her. We are all richer for having her in our world, and I won’t say poorer for her having left it, because she leaves behind her legacy that will always be with us. Her spirit and the way she’s inspired and uplifted all of us.
A Message from Sarah Simpson-Weiss
Roxanne/Rachel’s trusty assistant
Eleven years ago I was a baby librarian who took a chance and contacted an author about coming to Iowa for a signing, never dreaming that Rachel would not only come, but become my dearest friend, my mentor, my Person. She has taught me more and given me more than words can ever express. She was the best of us, always giving.
I have been her assistant for the past eleven years and in that time I have watched her write at her signing tables until the doors opened at events. She would pick the writing back up whenever there was a lag in her line, which was rare. She would write in her hotel room until the very last second to make it to a panel or signing. I’ve watched her write on planes and in airports. I’ve watched her churn out four books a year for almost eleven years now. I’ve watched her donate books to classrooms around the world. I’ve watched her fund classroom materials, fund other people’s bills, and basically swoop in to save the day for anyone who needed it, regardless of if she actually knew that person. I’ve watched her champion indie bookstores, debut writers, and more. She is absolutely the most hardworking, genuine and compassionate person I have ever known, and being her assistant and friend for the past decade has made me a better person in every possible way. I promise to live each day as she taught me to, with kindness and compassion, and to always help where I am able. So please, whenever you are in a position to help someone, ask yourself, what would Rachel Caine do. It won’t steer you wrong. I promise.