As Titanic Week 2022 comes to a close, I thought to share a bit more about the "story behind the story" of The Stars in April, by Peggy Wirgau, based on the true story of teen Titanic survivor, Ruth Becker.
Ruth Becker, Age 15
Recently I heard words of wisdom spoken by an award-winning author at a conference, addressing aspiring children's book writers:
"If I told you the book you are working on right now may not be published for ten years, would your continue working on it." -Linda Sue Park, SCBWI-IN
Such is true of The Stars in April. Over ten years in its writing, more including the author's research before she shared a draft with me in 2011. Immediately upon my first read, I was struck by the prose-like writing, the descriptions, the imagery, I could feel the breeze in the Arabian Sea--besides the timelessness of the topic.
Three years I edited with Peggy; three years we shared with editors, many who also believed in the book and provided excellent feedback, which helped improve the book with every revision. Nearly published a dozen times, ultimately The Stars in April found its perfect home at Illuminate YA, with editor Tessa Emily Hall, who fell in love with the story and believed in it as I did.
I am honored and thankful to have had a part in this book's creation, and thank you to the teachers, students, bookstores and readers who have written and shared how this book has impacted your lives. It is for those cherised readers, lives impacted, which drives us writers to keep on the writing journey--even if it takes decades.
About the Author: Peggy Wirgau lives in Delray Beach, Florida. She loves bringing history to life for readers. Her blog at www.peggywirgau.com features in-depth Titanic stories, and her followers include descendants of the ship’s real-life victims and survivors. A graduate of Michigan State University and George Mason University, Peggy is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Great Lakes Titanic Connection. She loves to travel, especially to New York City and Mackinac Island, Michigan, where she explores historical sites. Peggy is also a Registered Nurse, and she and her husband have two adult childrenand a baby grandson.
Author of Find Your Future in Art, Kim Childress began her thirty-year career in children’s publishing as a bookseller at Kids’ Ink Children’s Bookstore and book reviewer for Girls’ Life magazine. Later she became an award-winning, middle-grade editor for HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Zondervan), and has written and edited hundreds of books, stories, and articles for children and the adults in their lives—all while raising a personal focus group of four children. A self-proclaimed naturalist married to a veterinarian, Kim’s life revolves around books and caring for critters, which have included a crested gecko, albino rat, two bearded dragons, African cichlids, 11 chickens, and two dogs. Not to mention the children. Founder of Childress Ink, share the adventures at www.childressink.com.