This is my favorite anecdote from my career so far.
There used to be a small writers conference called Bare Bones. The San Diego Sisters in Crime put it on and it was in a church camp in the hills of Julian, CA. The site has since burned down in one of the forest fires.
I was pretty distraught when I walked in to register.My friend J.A. (Judy) Jance was talking to someone and she motioned me over. She wanted to know why I looked so upset.
I told her that a week ago, I'd sent two of the narc detectives I worked with to go check out a chemical drop from a meth lab at one of the Indian rancherios. I was getting phone calls that children were playing in the river where the chemicals were seeping. On the way to the site, another call came from dispatch that a man was chasing his parents around with an ax. My detectives were the closest in the area and they responded. One of the detectives shot and killed the man.
"Today's the day he's coming back to work and I feel I should be there, not here," I explained to Judy. "They said it was a good shoot but what's a good shoot to a young Mormon kid?"
"Honey, sit with us and talk," said her companion.
I really didn't glance at the woman, but I declined. She insisted, patting the seat emphatically. I finally turned to look at her.
"You're Sue Grafton," I exclaimed.
"Yes, I am. Now honey, just sit right down and tell me all about it."
The rest of the conference she kept me close. She wanted to come and visit my narcotics team, but that's not allowed. Not even if you are the #1 female crime writer in the world.