When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Patti Richards, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, MRS. NOAH. Take it away, Patti…
Mrs. Noah by Patti Richards
I was packing my family for a big trip to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was our very first cruise and I was running around like a crazy woman trying to prep for the two-day drive to Florida (we thought that would be fun…yep). So along with planning for the actual cruise, I had to book hotel rooms and make sure everyone had enough clean clothes and toiletries for the two days before and the two days after. Not to mention buying up enough pet supplies and snacks for our house sitter, stopping the mail, making sure everyone had a swimsuit and shoes that fit, plus paying all the bills and getting the house cleaned before we could leave. My husband, who always helps, had to work extra hours so we could have this week away. This meant he was at the office until late every night, so I was on my own. And just six weeks earlier, my son had undergone a big surgery to remove a benign tumor from his skull base, so there were follow up appointments to get the “all clear” just a few days before we left. Needless to say, I was a shipwreck waiting to happen.
Somewhere in all of the craziness, I had this thought… “If I’m this stressed trying to get everything done before we leave for our cruise, how in the world did Mrs. Noah get everything ready for an ark full of animals and the rest of her family?” This made me laugh out loud. The nugget of Mrs. Noah settled in and stayed (I call ideas like this “God whispers”) and by the time the trip was over, I had the first lines of the story in my head.
I try and participate in a program called STORYSTORM (hosted by the amazing Tara Lazar) each year, so when I got home, I immediately put MRS. NOAH on my Storystorm ideas list, and that’s where it stayed for six years (yes, you read that right)! Each year I’d sign up for Storystorm, and each year I’d add MRS. NOAH to my list at some point during the month. I wanted so much to write this story, but other projects kept bumping it out of the way. Then, in 2018, I was able to quit my full-time freelance writing job, and for the first time in more than 25 years as a writer, focus completely on my work for children. That’s when the idea finally became a first draft. After a year of sharing it with my critique group, revising, sharing and revising again (I had a total of 13 versions at this point), I saw that a Twitter event called #FaithPitch was coming up and I thought, “Why not?” and I pitched the title throughout the day but didn’t get any love.
Fast forward to February of 2019—I had completed another manuscript that I thought might be a good fit for a faith-based publisher. I found three small houses that were taking unsolicited submissions and I sent in that manuscript. Months went by. It was now October and I was enjoying a writing retreat day with my critique group. We’d taken a break and I was checking email and there it was…a message from Little Lamb Books about the manuscript I had submitted called MILLIE’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. In that email Rachel Pellegrino said they were interested in acquiring this story, but was MRS. NOAH still available? She’d seen it on #Faithpitch and if I hadn’t sold it, they’d like to have both and publish MRS. NOAH first. WHAT?! That’s the story behind the story! The real Mrs. Noah’s ark journey was 40 days and 40 nights and then some. My MRS. NOAH’s journey was 9 years. One started on an ark and the other on a cruise ship, but both have an ending full of promise and good things to come. And one of those good things to come is my second fiction picture book, O POSSUM’S PREDICAMENT (Blue Whale Press) releasing this fall!
Here is the book’s blurb:
“Noah can’t wait to show his bride the enormous ark he’s just completed. As amazing as it is, Mrs. Noah knows it can be more. She sees beyond the wood and fasteners to the home it has the potential to be—and so, she gets to work! With care for each animal and its needs, Mrs. Noah hammers, gathers, knits, and schlepps this floating house into a loving home. And while she starts the project on her own, teamwork will see it through.”
Writer, editor, storyteller, speaker, author Patti Richards has spent more than 25 years spinning yarns and writing stories ….
After a successful education career in which she taught middle and high school language arts, social studies, public speaking and theater, Patti Richards’ inspirational connection with children simply could not be contained in the classroom. Her innate way with a story and her love of literature had long inspired her teaching. She’d written plays for her students and short stories and little snippets of this and that, but in retirement, she found she had much more to say.
Patti lives with her family in Farmington Hills, Michigan. She enjoys reading, gardening, singing, playing the piano, painting and tending to her flock, which includes Gracie the dog, Barnabas, the big black puppy, and Willow the cat.
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