Young adult author Huntley Fitzpatrick, known for her contemporary realist novels for teens, died on April 8 after a long illness. She was 58 years old.
Fitzpatrick was born on October 27, 1963, in New York City and grew up in the small coastal town of Essex, Connecticut, in “a house full of bookworms,” she said. Something about the author, with parents who encouraged his early passion for stories and writing. As a teenager, much of her writing consisted of keeping a detailed diary, which she referred to when working on her books.
After graduating from Concord Academy in 1981, Fitzpatrick earned a BA in English from Yale University. Taking a class taught by the late author Madeleine L’Engle inspired Fitzpatrick to dive even deeper into his own writing of fiction. Fitzpatrick was drawn to a career involving books and worked in academic publishing before landing a job as an editor at Harlequin. Reading the slush pile and eventually editing manuscripts was his ‘starter writing career,'” Fitzpatrick told goodreads.com in 2015. “In order to say [authors] the strengths and weaknesses of their work, I had to figure them out on my own,” she said.
In 2012, Fitzpatrick made his college debut with the publication of My next life (Dial), a warmly welcomed summer romance about first love. She continued this work with what i thought was true (Dial, 2014) depicting the romance between two teenagers from different socio-economic backgrounds. Her third novel, The boy most likely to (Dial, 2015), returns to a favorite character and the universe of My next life. All three books are set in fictional Stony Bay, Connecticut, the type of place Fitzpatrick knew very well. “Stony Bay is an amalgamation of several towns that I have known and loved,” she said in an interview with The south coast today. “The beaches and woods where the characters walk are more or less directly derived from the places I see around me every day,” she added.
Fitzpatrick, along with her husband John and their six children, had long resided in Dartmouth, Mass. She noted how much she enjoyed her time there. “I was very lucky to live in a relatively small town full of people who first welcomed my growing family and then my books,” she said. “People have been really nice – buying the books, using them in book clubs, asking if I could speak to local school classes. That kind of support has meant the world to me.
Dial editor Jess Garrison, who was Fitzpatrick’s editor, shared this memory: “Knowing Huntley and working with her on her three fantastic young adult novels have been some of the happiest experiences of my life. of editor. I’m so lucky to have seen her work, to have fallen in love with her writing and the characters she breathed such extraordinary life and complexity into, to have known her and laughed with her and worked hard with her to create stories that enlighten readers and will last and last. I am devastated by his loss and my heart goes out to his loving family and friends.
Fellow author and close friend Kristan Higgins announced Fitzpatrick’s death on Facebook at the request of Fitzpatrick’s family. “I’ve shared many wonderful weekends with Huntley, just the two of us or with our other writer friends, the Plotmonkeys,” Higgins wrote. “Those moments were filled with late-night talk, great food, and long, uncontrollable bursts of laughter. She was bright, kind, warm, funny and compassionate, loved lipstick, fabulous skirts and had an old-fashioned sensibility that made her seem from another era. Fair winds and fair seas, dear Huntley. How you are loved.