Miami County native announces debut children’s novel


By Amantha Garpiel

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TROY — Katherin Nolte, 44, originally from Laura and now resides in Iowa, announced the publication of her debut children’s novel, “Back to the Bright Before,” with Random House Children’s Book on Tuesday, May 30.

Nolte holds an bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in creative writing from Wright State University, where she graduated from in 2000. She found her way from writing short stories for adults to writing her first children’s novel. Nolte has four kids of her own and found her love for children’s books and novels when she began reading to her kids.

She truly found her passion for children’s books when her youngest daughter was in the hospital for stitches and rather than have her children sit and watch TV, she chose “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo from the hospitals selection of books.

“We started reading that and I loved that book so much that that’s what made me want to write my own children’s book,” said Nolte. “I thought ‘I wish I could somehow do what she’s doing here,’ and that’s what started the whole book process.”

She came to this realization around October of 2020 and began writing in November of the same year. After writing a 200 page manuscript by hand and typing it out, Nolte took the risk and presented the children’s novel to her literary agent, Carrie Sparks, who was her agent for her previous works targeted to adults. In March of 2021, Sparks began submitting Nolte’s children’s novel to various publishers and in May of 2021, Random House Editor Caroline Abbey expressed her interest in the novel.

In the next two years, Nolte went through multiple rounds of editing for the novel and approvals of the novel’s cover and interior illustrations which were done by Jennifer Bricking.

Nolte’s novel, “Back to the Bright Before,” follows a sibling duo, Perpetua (Pet), 11, and Simon, 5, as they search for a long lost, ancient coin that was supposedly hidden at a nearby abbey. Perpetua finds herself searching for this coin to help her family get on their feet by providing the family enough money to take care of her father’s medical bills from his two surgeries for an arm injury that prevented him from doing his job as a wood carver. Along their search for the coin, the siblings discover a not-so-friendly neighbor is also on the hunt for the coin and will do “anything in his power” to get it.

“Perpetua, the main character, she talks about how if she can find the coin, her family can return to how their life once was. They can go back to this bright before the father’s accident,” said Nolte. “She kind of thinks of that in that term, we were full of this brightness and goodness and then daddy, she calls him daddy, fell off the ladder and now things have been sort of dark and grey, it (the title) actually comes from Perpetua, she says that to herself in the book.”

The children’s novel is 208 pages and is being released on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. The book will be available at major retailers like Walmart and Target, most book stores and online on Amazon.

Nolte is also currently working on a second children’s book that she hopes to have published in the summer of 2024.

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