CERULEAN, Ky. — In 1988, as part of her long-running alphabet series of detective novels, Sue Grafton released the fifth installment called “E” is for Evidence.
On Monday, however, that letter took on a new meaning for the New York Times bestselling author.
Along with 10 other friends and family members, who traveled to the Point of Greatest Eclipse around 6 a.m. from Louisville, Grafton experienced her first total eclipse at Orchardale Farm and was able to draw a parallel between the anticlimactic nature of preparing for totality vs. preparing for the finished product of a book.
“I think (it’s similar),” Grafton told the Kentucky New Era. “You plan ahead and you imagine what a book or a story is going to be, but you’re never quite sure it’s going to be as wonderful as you hope it might be. So, this was sort of like finishing a book. The best day of my life is when I finish a book, and feel like I’ve pulled it off. Here, today, with that weather, it was the same feeling. It was incredible.”
While the 77-year-old Grafton — a Kentucky native — wasn’t particularly a fan of the hot and humid weather conditions in Cerulean, she persevered through the day to have a chance to gaze at the sky during 2 minutes and 40 seconds of eclipse totality, as hundreds of other media and invited VIP members gathered to watch the moon block out the sun.
“It was a little hot for my taste … but this was great,” Grafton said. “It was a perfect setting, there was food galore and the media sure enjoyed it, I must say.”
After moving away from Louisville in the 1960s, Grafton returned and bought a house there in 1993. She now spends half her time in Derby City and the other half in Santa Barbara, California.
When she learned she’d be relatively nearby during the historic weekend of the total solar eclipse weekend, and later received an official invitation to attend, Grafton said she couldn’t turn it down.
“I graciously received an invitation from (Solar Eclipse Marketing and Events Consultant) Brooke Jung and told her, ‘I’m coming down and I’m bringing my friends,’ and I certainly did,” Grafton said. “It was great fun. And I’ve felt so welcomed.”
Grafton, a contemporary author who has been published in 28 counties and 26 languages, had her “Y” is for Yesterday — the 25th installment of the alphabet series — released Tuesday.
She said she “understood, in theory” what a total solar eclipse was, and even got a brief lesson and history on the celestial phenomenon during the bus trip to Cerulean, but said seeing it in person “was amazing.” She also compared the experience to the Kentucky Derby — the world’s most prestigious thoroughbred race, which happens annually on the first Saturday in May in Grafton’s hometown.
“It is so similar, in that when you go to the Derby you have such long waits between races,” she explained. “And the race itself is two minutes — the fastest two minutes in horse racing.”
So which was more fulfilling — seeing the Derby winner cross the finish line or solar eclipse totality?
“I think totality,” Grafton said. “I didn’t have to bet on anything and I didn’t lose any money — let’s put it that way.”
REACH CHRIS JUNG at 270-887-3261