Sunday, November 23, 2008

Author Spotlight: Patricia Thomas

It is a writer's dream: Patricia Thomas' first published children's book - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" (1971) - has never gone out of print. 

Raised on a small farm outside Grove City in western Pennsylvania, Mrs. Thomas' school teacher parents instilled in her a love of reading, and a curiosity about the world. She says,


"As a writer, you cannot afford not to be interested in everything. Because you write from total life experience. You don't know when you're going to pull something out of life experience."

After graduating from Penn State University with a BS in Journalism, Radio and Home Economics, she and her husband Edward (now deceased) moved to Philadelphia, where she worked as an ad copywriter for department stores. Later, they moved to Brigantine, NJ, where she wrote copy for Spencer's Gifts and began making up bedtime stories for her children. 

It was from those bedtime stories that Mrs. Thomas' first manuscript had its roots: "A Horse of a Different Color." When publishers didn't bite on it, she kept trying, and was rewarded when "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" was published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard in 1971. Since then, she has gone on to write several other books, as well as hundreds of articles and stories for children.

Patricia Thomas is a senior writer and editor in the communications and marketing department of Marywood University, and teaches classes through the Institute of Children's Literature. She lives in Carbondale, PA, and has 4 children, 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. 

Sources:
Meet Patricia Thomas - Scranton Times interview by Josh McAuliffe
*This link no longer works, as of June 14, 2013
Book jacket blurb on "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" By 
     Patricia Thomas


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