Sue Grafton – Tribute to a Beloved Author
My life was forever changed by Sue Grafton. She was an incredible woman, a literary superstar, and she will be sorely missed.
Meet Sue Grafton. I shed a few tears yesterday when I heard about her death at age 77. She was an inspiration. She was solid in her belief that her books would not be made into movies and she had already named her final book, Z is for Zero. She had other work but I think her best work was and always will be the Alphabet Series starting the tough female protagonist, Kinsey Milhone.
Kinsey is a sassy and tough and a perfect role model for someone like me. The first book, A for Alibi, was published in 1982 and each book thereafter followed the alphabet theme.
I loved the library my whole life. I always read comic book compilations until one day when the librarian was getting my books checked out said something life changing. All she said was “You are too smart to be reading only comic books.” Being a kid, I was intimidated by this adult who was talking to me. I mean, seriously? An adult that talks to kids? That was unheard of in my world. That librarian introduced me to a world I never considered. Books that were only words? Wow! What a concept. I think I was probably 10.
My love of the library followed me to my adult life. I was in my mid 20’s when I found audiobooks. Freshly married with no money, I bought a Walkman from the retail store where I worked and went to the library to browse. Feeling cool with my music and cassette player, I stumbled on books that were on tape. A-freaking-mazing!!
I tried several books that were on tape. I mostly listened to Agatha Christie and Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe. I could multitask up a storm while listening to a book! That was the cat’s meow. When I had exhausted those, I decided I’d try A for Alibi by Sue Grafton. I was hooked. Immediately. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I was wrapped up in Kinsey Milhone’s life and it was fabulous.
It was the mid 90’s and I had quite a few books in the alphabet to listen to before the library ran out. Then the most amazing thing happened. My husband and I were on a roadtrip to visit his sister and I’d convinced him to give an audiobook a try instead of listening to music on the way home. We were tooling along the interstate, listening to the book and when we surfaced from the movie in our heads, we had missed our exit and was 20 miles off course. We laughed, turned around and went about our way.
When we got home, something propelled me to search Sue Grafton out on the newly released world called the Internet. I emailed her and told her about our story. I thought it might make her feel good to know that her writing had kept us so enthralled. I figured that was that.
I was wrong. That super nice lady, emailed me back. Maybe it was her assistant. Maybe her publicist. But still, Holy Crap!! I talked to a celebrity! Ahhhhhhhh!!! I was so stoked I was on cloud 9 for days. That was so cool that no one could possibly understand. About a month or so later, my world got rocked all over again. Sue (or her assistant or publicist) sent me SWAG for her next book. Can you believe it! You have to remember, I had no idea that authors did this for publicity. I thought I was super special. At Christmas, we got a Christmas card. (We’ve gotten one every year since). I was amped. She made me feel valued and I’m sure she didn’t even know it. Thank you, Sue Grafton. You changed my world.
I emailed her a message in 2015 that explained that I was now a blogger and reviewing books. I had her to thank because she introduced me to her world. Annnnnd SHE WROTE BACK! She is an award winning author and much more famous than when I first contacted her. If she changed my life with just an email, can you imagine how many other lives she touched?
Thank you, Sue Grafton. My alphabet will now always end at “Y”.
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