One of the profound things I find about our time on this planet is the amazing human capacity to withstand trauma and disease and hold on to their lives, and yet there are many others who pass way too early, often suddenly. There’s nothing mysterious about it, but it can help us refocus on how important it is to make the most of the time we have.
It is with immense sadness that I announce the passing of Grace Chan (Elizabeth Lang) today (27th February 2020) in Regina, Saskatchewan, from complications associated with her very long battle with cancer.
I’ve known Grace for nearly 10 years, and while I never physically met her (she is in Canada and I’m in Australia being the major factor) we used to have long chat sessions and really enjoyed each other’s company. She was one of those people who you click with instantly. As her publisher, IFWG released her first book in 2010 in what was then a planned trilogy, The Empire, a wonderful space opera with strands of romance running through it. I loved the book – the space opera fan in me was sucked in, and the romance was ok by me, and, as it turned out, well-loved by romance fans. Her books uniquely straddled the genres of sci-fi and romance like very few could. We were proud to publish such an accomplished work. In those early years I edited all of IFWG’s titles, so I had the opportunity to also have a strong, meaningful professional relationship with Grace, and I can tell you that her mastery of the written word was significant, and her intellect was immense, very much reflected in her published work.
Soon after she completed her second book in the trilogy she had a long conversation with me and said that the final storyline was too big for one book, and so we agreed to transform the series to a quadrilogy, and in 2015 we published book 3. I was over the moon as it effectively meant that fans got more from Grace. The sad irony is, that when she was part way through writing the last instalment of her epic series, she took ill. She was very quiet about what she had, and I respected her privacy. It took over a year to find out she had cancer. Again, for a number of years, I had no visibility of her struggles, and if there was success in fighting the disease, or not. The concluding volume was never published.
Grace was also a talented book cover designer and she was commissioned by IFWG for a large number of covers—this too was put into hiatus.
About a year ago Grace started to take on a few cover design jobs and was also talking about a new writing project relating to mystery fiction. I mentally switched lanes and assumed she was on the mend… And then, only a few hours ago, I heard the devastating news that she passed. I’m still processing this, and I have certainly lost a friend and professional associate. There’s little else I can say except that cancer is an insidious and cruel enemy.
This is the bio that Amazon has of Grace (pen name Elizabeth Lang), and perhaps provides a glimpse of the person, not just the writer:
Elizabeth Lang was an avid reader from an early age. Science Fiction and Fantasy were and still are her passions, with occasional dips in the pools of Mystery. She spent many years in the IT industry and started writing late in life, but once begun, she couldn’t stop. Elizabeth lives in Canada though she’s worked in many places around the world. She loves traveling, learning about different cultures, and sampling their delectable foods.
As Grace’s publisher, and when the time is right, I need to follow through with the necessary due diligence with contracts and the like. I also need to make some decisions about her current books in print. I don’t know what will happen but I want to make sure I do the right thing by everyone concerned, and especially Grace’s memory and legacy.
Many of the IFWG family of authors and designers/artists had the pleasure of knowing Grace and we will all miss her. Below I have images of Grace’s books in print, and a sample of her cover designs. She was a very talented person.
Vale Grace Chan.
Grace’s Empire series (pen name Elizabeth Lang).
Some IFWG International covers that Grace had made (EL Designs): Warriors of the Light by Larry Ivkovich, Return of the Luminous One also by Larry (and the last commission we had with Grace), Remnant by Merle Burbaugh, Blackthorns of the Forgotten by Bree T Donovan, Blood Contract by Biola Olatunde, Unlikely Hero by Geraldine Fitzsimmons, and a wonderful interpretation of Ken Liu’s Running Shoes short story in SQ Mag 16.
In the Australian imprint, Grace collaborated with Catherine Archer-Wills for the Warriors of Vhast series by Cary J Lenehan (this is book 2, Engaging Evil), she created a wonderful cover with Shaun Tan’s wonderful original art in Steven Paulsen’s Shadows on the Wall collection, the cover art and design for Zena Shapter’s Towards White, collaboration with Rowena Evans in her young adult novel, Drums and Power Lines, cover work for Esme Carpenter’s Against the Elements, and likewise for Deb Sheldon’s two-novella book, Dark Waters/Ronnie and Rita.
5 Comments Add yours
Oh Gerry, that is terrible news. Like you I assumed all was good and thought we were going finally meet at WorldCon this year. Shocked is an understatement. My heart bleeds for her family.
This is so very sad! Grace did such brilliant work. I had the honor of her designing the cover of my novel. I was so hoping I would get to work with her again. The true heroines suffer in dignity. I send my love and condolences to her family and her IFWG family and friends.
Thanks Gerry, I wasn’t aware of Grace’s (Elizabeth’s) illness. She was a great help to me in the early days of my writing and always was quick to communicate. Such a loss of a compassionate and talented writer.
Thank you for sharing this write up. The picture of Grace so full of life is how I remember her as part of our Saskatchewan Romance Writers’ group in Regina, SK, Canada. She was always so generous with her time and talent. She is missed.