The Fussy Librarian

Ripley Patton

Ripley Patton’s writing career has been a dream come true twice over.

It started in 2006, when she was working as a teacher in Oregon. She enjoyed working with the kids, but the education system’s bureaucracy was starting to wear her down. 

So when her husband’s job as a social worker meant the family could move to New Zealand, they took the leap — and Ripley seized the opportunity to pursue her lifelong goal of becoming a published author.

First came award-winning short stories; next came an agent who helped her develop an idea into a full-length novel. And then came tragedy: the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Their family survived, but they certainly weren’t unscathed. Her daughter’s high school was nearly on top of the earthquake’s epicenter, and the death and destruction she witnessed firsthand has resulted in PTSD, severe anxiety, and depression.

The disaster had a marked, direct effect on Ripley, too. When the Pattons moved back to the U.S. to heal with the help of their extended family, she realized that she needed to take matters into her own hands and publish that novel she’d written.

 
Ripley took these photos of the Christchurch earthquake's aftermath in June 2011.

The agent who’d guided her was no longer in the industry, so Ripley self-published her first young adult paranormal novel, Ghost Hand, in 2012. Each year since, she’s put out another book in the series, earning a couple of thousand dollars annually.

What do those royalties mean for her, then? They facilitate a career that allows Ripley to dedicate time to her still-recovering daughter. They prove to her adult son that doing what you love can be feasible, economically. Soon, they’ll also let Ripley and her husband realize his dream of purchasing a sailboat to live on.

So you can see that those four books in the PSS Chronicles are deeply rewarding to Ripley in many ways. They are emotional support as well as financial support. In her words, “Writing is a labor of love, yes, but it isn't a one-way love affair.”

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