AMORY – Children’s book author, songwriter and cancer survivor Pat Brannon’s latest work, “Pip’s Ridiculous Road Trip,” was nearly finished when she faced another round of cancer in 2017.
She had taken chemotherapy treatments off and on since 2006 when she was initially diagnosed with Stage III Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She has written several children’s books in the previous years.
“I’ve had two stem cell transplants and more surgeries than I can remember,” Brannon said. “This last round was the hardest, but I’m not a quitter. I won’t give up.”
She will make another trip to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota this summer to confirm whether the cancer is in remission.
“I’m the first born of a mother who was told she wouldn’t have children,” Brannon said. “She was a steadfast believer in God’s providence.”
Although Brannon has worked with publishers before, most recent titles have been self-published with the help of an illustrator and her son, Jason, who is a published author himself.
“When you’re self-publishing, you’re doing it all,” she said.
Her chemo treatments have left her energy depleted for two years, but she is making a rebound.
“I love writing for kids. I love to see their reactions,” she said.
Her stories are purposefully crazy or warped, as she put it, but are engaging.
“My stories are written in rhyme, and most contain animals,” she said. “My vocabulary is a little elevated to encourage the readers to learn new words. I also incorporate subtle life lessons.”
The latest title is about a road trip where Pip’s family picks up an interesting assortment of animals on the way to their destination called Kidsville. The lesson of the story is that in spite of all of life’s challenges, the family is still the best of all of life’s experiences.
Even while Brannon does not yet know of her status battling cancer, which spread to five different places in her body, she is gearing up for her next project.
“It will be a story based on my father and his cooking adventures,” she said. “It will be titled ‘Calamity in the Kitchen.’ The way my father cooked, anyone can learn to enjoy turnip greens.”
Brannon looks back on the odds that have been stacked against her through the years and thinks she has survived to complete the mission to which she has been called and gifted.
“I shouldn’t be here today. I try to fulfill whatever purpose I have. I have a passion with a purpose. I just speak from my heart,” she said.