Patricia Hermes, 82 (YA novelist: "You Shouldn't Have to Say Goodbye," 1982)
(too old to reply)
2018-07-27 00:40:19 UTC
She lived her later years in Phoenix, Arizona.



...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."

(book covers)

2018-08-05 18:17:47 UTC

By Anita Gates

Aug. 3, 2018


Patricia Hermes, an author whose books for children and young adults often dealt with serious subjects, including, death, incest, war, famine and slavery, died on July 11 at her home in Phoenix. She was 82.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Jennifer Hermes Natsu.

Ms. Hermes was the author of some 50 books during her four-decade writing career. Among them were contributions to the “My Side of the Story” series, which recounts historic events from two points of view. They include “Salem Witch” (2006), written from the viewpoints of two children living through the 17th-century Massachusetts witch trials, and “The Brothers’ War” (2005), about Virginia cousins on opposite sides of the Civil War.

From 2000 to 2003, she wrote six books in the “My America” series, including “Our Strange New Land” and “The Starving Time,” both subtitled “Elizabeth’s Jamestown Colony Diary.” Her narrators were most often girls or young women, but not always. “Freedom’s Wings: Corey’s Underground Railroad Diary” (2001), for instance, was narrated by a young black man.

One of her favorite series, she once said, were the seven Emma Dilemma books, about a trouble-prone girl with four siblings and numerous pets. Reviewing “Emma Dilemma and the Soccer Nanny” in 2008, Booklist noted the title character’s “desire to be best at something” and the book’s “messages about the importance of honesty and communication as well as the challenges and unexpected rewards of compromise.”...

...After raising five children, she returned to teaching but no longer found it satisfying. So she took a course in nonfiction writing at the New School in Manhattan.

“I was a terrible teacher,” she told an interviewer for a Connecticut television station decades later, because she enjoyed being part of the gang.

“I remember what it was like to be a kid,” she explained. And while the details of young lives (like technology, communication and transportation) evolve, she acknowledged, “I don’t think childhood changes.”...

...Ms. Hermes’ book-writing career could be traced to 1977, when she wrote an Op-Ed article in The New York Times about visiting her grandparents’ home, where she had spent time as a girl. It was about to be demolished.

“With the key that’s been in my pocket all these years, I quietly let myself in,” she wrote. “Surely, I thought, if I’m silent enough some shadow will show itself, a long‐ago echo will be heard.”

An agent contacted her afterward, and her first book — “What if They Knew?,” about a young girl with epilepsy — was published in 1980...