I don’t remember when I met Sarah, but I know it was through the Mystery Writers of America Northern California chapter. My first clear memory picture of her is at a booksigning at the San Francisco Mystery bookstore. It was in 1994, when TENSLEEP, her first Em Hansen novel, came out. Damon was there, of course. And Duncan, who was about eight weeks old at the time, was dressed in a tiny onesie with the cover of Sarah’s book on the front.
Sarah and I became friends, linked by the large Bay Area mystery community. We saw each other from time to time. I watched Duncan grow up, from that tiny baby in the onesie to a fine young man. And I got to know Damon better.
Western Sonoma County is one of my favorite places. I love to come up, prowl around the farm trails and buy apples. I’d stop in Graton to see Sarah. She was always good for a cup of tea, a ramble, and good conversation, about writing and other things. When I was working on a book that took place mostly in Sonoma County, Sarah was a great help, introducing me to people who could give me information, going with me to scout locations, and giving me a geologist’s view of the area’s agriculture.
For several years now, Sarah and I would meet with several other writers for what I called the Writers’ Lunch, meeting at a restaurant in Petaluma or San Rafael to talk shop, as writers always do, about our latest projects and what we were doing. I looked forward to those outings.
Over the years I developed an interest in birding and discovered that Sarah was a birder, too. I would bring my binoculars and we’d set out for her favorite birding spots. We even took a couple of trips together, camping up in Mendocino and another time, a train ride to Reno, to explore Virginia City. We were planning another birding trip for August.
I will miss Sarah and her family so much. She was such a dear friend. My condolences to her family.