10/31/2013 04:44 pm ET Updated Dec 31, 2013

In Homage to Author Michael Palmer

I am shocked and saddened to learn that medical thriller author Michael Palmer passed away on Oct. 30, 2013. I had the privilege of knowing Michael for the past few years and I considered him a friend and mentor.

When he was writing the book Political Suicide, I was honored when he sought my input about the inner workings of the military justice system. I was particularly thrilled when he shared chapters with me as he wrote it. He generously critiqued the first draft of my forthcoming book A Non-Hostile Incident and even recommended it to his publisher, St. Martin's Press.

As the years rolled on, we would write or call each other to shoot the breeze; always comparing life in Georgia to that of Massachusetts. Instead of mocking my Southern accent, he seemed fascinated by it and would ask me to repeat Southernisms he'd never heard. When I worried that my Southern drawl might not be appropriate for the topics I covered, he encouraged me to embrace it, rather than attempt to mute it.

Our last communication was on October 7. He wrote to offer his continued support of my work with military families and to fill me in on a planned trip to southern Africa. He said that he had "just finished book number 20 and was working on ideas for the next." As always, he asked about my children and I asked about his. He signed off with the usual: be well, xo, michael.

He leaves behind legions of loyal readers, but what I will always remember most about Michael is that he was the personification of a proud father. Despite selling millions of books in more than 35 languages, his greatest source of pride was his sons. He loved to describe them in detail and frequently shared news of their accomplishments.

I learned a lot from him, and I will miss his friendship. I offer my deepest sympathies to his family; in particular his sons to whom he was extraordinarily devoted. His words live on, and he will not be forgotten.