2018-07-27 00:40:19 UTC
...During her time at St. John’s, Hermes met her husband of 28 years, Matthew Hermes, whom she married shortly after graduation. They later divorced. Hermes taught school briefly before the couple moved to Delaware and began raising their family, which would grow to include six children. As her children grew older, Hermes returned to her teaching career. It wasn’t until she took a nonfiction for adults course at the New School for Social Research taught by the late Russell Freedman, Newbery Medal-winning author of children’s biographies, that she became interested in pursuing a professional writing career. “I took some things I wrote in the course and sent them out to publishers and to my utter amazement, people started buying them,” she told SATA. “You get hooked pretty quickly that way.”
According to Hermes’s daughter, Jennifer Hermes Nastu, she was so devoted to her New School writing class over the years, especially the long-running Workshop in Writing for Children taught by Margaret "Bunny" Gabel, that even when she lived out of state (in Virginia) she would fly to New York at least once a month to be there. “Spending time at class, as well as meeting with publishers and agents, kept Pat’s love affair with the city strong—she never stopped identifying herself as a New Yorker,” Nastu said.
Those early professional successes included articles in national parenting magazines as well as an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, which caught the attention of a literary agent, who asked if Hermes had ever considered writing for young readers. Intrigued by the idea, Hermes promptly wrote What If They Knew (Harcourt, 1980), a middle grade novel about a girl with epilepsy—something she had suffered from in childhood—starting at a new school. Thus began her career as a children’s book author.
Hermes’s body of work went on to include more middle grade and YA novels, chapter books, nonfiction for teens and adults, and several picture books. Many of her titles featured children dealing with such serious issues as death or illness. “Most of the subjects in my books come, in some small way at least, from my own background,” she said in an autobiographical essay for SATA, noting that the loss of an infant daughter in part informed her writing about a child dying in Nobody’s Fault? (Harcourt, 1981). “These are feelings I believe a child can identify with because children have strong feelings,” she said. “They know about death and separation and loneliness.”
In the early 2000s, she wrote a number of entries in the My America line of diary-format historical fiction titles for Scholastic, and most recently created a chapter book series following the adventures and misadventures of Emma O’Fallon and her siblings in the Emma Dilemma series for Marshall Cavendish....
Check out the rest! (Her home was the place in the neighborhood where all the kids went, apparently.)
(birthday post from 2016, with three interviews, videos, and booklist)
Some of her more acclaimed books are "A Solitary Secret," "Kevin Corbett Eats Flies," "What If They Knew?," "Friends Are like That," "Who Will Take Care of Me?," "I Win," and "Mama, Let's Dance."
(I have to say, the description of "Mama, Let's Dance" - about abandoned children - makes it sound like an updated version of Marilyn Sachs' "The Bears' House.")
She also wrote the novelization of the 1991 movie "My Girl." Plus the 1997 novelization of "Fly Away Home."