Retired teacher Patricia Gable has written essays, memoirs, children’s stories, and hundreds of educational articles. A short story she entered in a 2005 contest morphed into her debut novel, The Right Address (November 2021), for middle grade readers. Visit Patricia’s author pages on Amazon and SouthWestWriters.com.
What is your elevator pitch for The Right Address?
Annie heard her foster parents arguing. She finds out they are sending her brother to a different foster home. This can’t happen! They need to stay together. So, in the middle of a snowy night, they sneak out and walk to the next town. Will they be recognized? What will they eat? Where will they sleep? Why is the tall man in the black coat watching them? So many questions, but the most important one: Will they find…The Right Address?
What challenges did this work pose for you?
For years, I have written short stories and educational articles. So, writing a novel was new for me. My revisions centered on adding more details, more emotion and developing well-rounded characters.
Who are your main characters, and why will readers connect with them?
The main characters are children. Annie is twelve years old. She is a responsible, bright, and a loving sister. Willie, her brother, six years old, is bold, funny and unafraid. Soon they meet Emma, the same age as Annie. When Emma learns of their dilemma, she wants to help them. The adventure begins.
What is the main setting? Why did you choose it as the backdrop for the story?
The main setting is a cozy unnamed town in the winter of 1985. When the children run away from their foster home, they walk all night and hide in an alley in this small town. I chose this setting because it felt comfortable, safe and far enough away for the runaway children. A winter storm adds drama and a little fun.
How did the book come together?
In 2005, I entered a 24-hour short story contest. The contest sponsor supplied the contestants with a short paragraph at the beginning of the 24 hours. The writer could change things in the paragraph, but it had to, in some way, be used in the story. That way the contestant was writing from scratch and not sending in a pre-written story. I earned an honorable mention in the contest and the story remained in the back of my mind. In 2021, I took a novel writing course and decided to turn that short story into a middle grade novel. The class started in April 2021, and I had a published novel in November 2021. The instructor of the novel writing class did the editing for an extra fee and the publisher was Booklocker, the same company that sponsored the short story contest in 2005. I worked with the company to design the cover. I used drawings from Dreamtime.com.
What makes this book unique in the middle-grade market?
The book is unique because it is not a fantasy, a horrifying mystery, or a futuristic tale. It’s a simple story of two siblings who are searching for a forever home. There is some tension, humor, and characters that care about each other.
What was the most rewarding aspect of writing The Right Address?
For me, the most rewarding aspects were actually finishing the novel and when I held the book in my hands for the first time. I cried.
Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? How do you feel about research?
My father was a writer (essays and poetry) and, from a young age, he encouraged me to learn new words. I enjoy creating and doing research, and I enjoy it when others do my editing because I learn things.
KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.