It has been a week since I heard the news, and honestly, I’m still reeling.

On February 6th my agent, Mickey Choate, died after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 52.

I was only with Mickey for ten months. Not long, I know, but long enough to appreciate his professionalism, his knowledge of the industry, his consideration, and his enviable patience. I trusted him implicitly, and knew I could go to him with anything, however trivial.  In addition to his many kindnesses and qualities, he also secured me a two-book deal with Thomas Dunne Books—the kind of deal I’d been working toward for over twenty years. That’s something that will always bind us … that will ripple into every future deal, every book I write.

Last May, I had lunch with Mickey in New York City. Now, this was big for me; one of my ambitions as a young, daydreaming writer was to have LUNCH WITH MY AGENT IN NEW YORK CITY, and Mickey made it happen. He took me to the Gramercy Tavern on East 20th St., and I’m not kidding when I say that it was the greatest dining experience of my life. Not only was I having LUNCH WITH MY AGENT IN NEW YORK CITY, but Mickey was a food enthusiast. He agented successful cookbook authors and was an accomplished cook in his own right. Needless to say, he knew his way around a menu. He ordered an array of wonderful dishes, each complimenting the other, and a sprinkling of drinks that enhanced every flavour. I swear to God, my taste buds were doing the conga. And Mickey loved it. He delighted in my delight. There we were, talking books, business, and music, eating wonderful food. Mickey was in his element. He didn’t stop smiling.

This is the only time I met Mickey, so whenever I think about him—now, or in the future—I will think about that smile. It’s impossible for me to imagine him without it.

I’m good with that.

Mickey is mourned by his adoring wife and children, his many friends, his colleagues and clients. We are all emptier.

Cancer darkens everyone’s lives. To help shine a light—in memory, perhaps, of your own smiling friend—please consider making a donation to the Cancer Research Institute. They do fantastic work.

Mickey was my agent, but more than this, he was my friend.

I will miss him entirely.

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