Why I wrote Loving vs. Virginia – Book Give Away

Why I wrote Loving vs. Virginia – Book Give Away


Loving vs. Virginia, a documentary novel told in verse by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated lovingvsvirginacoverby Shadra Strickland has a release date of January 31, 2017.


But I have some early copies in hand (not ARCs, but the real book, in color ;-). I’m offering 3 giveaways before the book comes out—one for October, one for November, one for December. To be eligible, please subscribe to my blog, and leave a comment saying you’d like a book—you’ll be eligible for all 3 drawings.


(Up until now, my blog has been a young adult book review column (previously middle grade books)—the reviews that run in the Champaign Urbana News Gazette once every three weeks).


Now for a bit about Loving vs. Virginia.


So . . . I’m frequently asked why I chose to write about the Loving v Virginia case. Actually, it chose me.


Before my book, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Chronicle 2014) came out, my publisher asked if I’d be interested in writing about the Loving v Virginia case. I did a bit of research and on the U.S. Supreme Court case that ruled in favor of interracial marriage. My parents had brought us up to care about people and fight injustice. This was a perfect fit.


My editor, Melissa Manlove, said she would try to get me a contract if I’d write three chapters and an outline of the nonfiction book for teens.


The Loving's neighborhood - first trip

The Loving’s neighborhood – first trip

So I set off to Virginia to start researching (more about the research in another post). I submitted those nonfiction chapters and shortly after Melissa called to chat.


Melissa: Would you be willing to write this story as a documentary novel?


Me: Sure. What’s a documentary novel?


(In my early writing career I had frequently and politely refused to change my approach to a book when an editor asked for a rewrite. As a dancer/choreographer I’d been chief cook and bottle washer and was accustomed to doing exactly what I wanted. It took me awhile to learn how brilliant a brilliant editor is; and there’s no editor more brilliant than Melissa.)


So, What is a documentary novel? It’s creative nonfiction. It is factual, but there’s a hitch. 168642Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood was a documentary novel. He interviewed the killer, but the victims weren’t around to talk. He created the scenes to create his thriller. Where Loving vs. Virginia is concerned, it is factual but I write in the voices of (African American/Indian) Mildred Jeter Loving alternating with “chapters” from the voice of (white) Richard Loving.


Whew, what a gift—to write this story as a documentary novel. Now I could write scenes. Rather than say, the two grew up in an integrated neighborhood where the black, white, and Indian neighbors supported each other and partied together, I could show teenaged Mildred dancing at one of their intergenerational interracial parties with her brother Otha, with Richard looking on. Then Richard offers to drive the family home. In other words, I could show Richard and Mildred falling in love.

Shadra Strickland illustration of the married Loving couple.

Shadra Strickland illustration of the married Loving couple.

Because this is a book for young adults (twelve and up) we decided it should be a love and courtship story, first. (More about researching that in another post).


So, yep, I did more research, more interviews, and I submitted the first several chapters of my creative nonfiction and an outline. Chronicle contracted the book. What a lovely situation to be writing a book that you know will be published!


Feel free to comment or ask questions. I’ll try to answer as best I can. An upcoming post will discuss the research of the book. Your question might prompt a new post. Thanks, and good luck. Hope you win a book.



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53 comments on “Why I wrote Loving vs. Virginia – Book Give Away
  1. Doro says:

    OF COURSE I’d like a copy!

    • I believe this is also an upcoming movie. I have seen the previews. Would love to read more about it. I wrote a young adult novel Out of the Dragon’s Mouth about a Vietnamese boat person. I am interested in social justice also.

      • Yeah, Joyce, I can’t wait to see the movie, Loving. It opens in Champaign Urbana the day before Thanksgiving. I’ll be talking about the case, my book, at the Art Theater where it plays, the following week. Your book sounds very interesting. It amazes me all the tourism in Viet Nam nowadays. And it’s young people mostly. I know it’s inexpensive. I’ll look up your book.

  2. I can’t wait for the release, Patricia! I’d love a copy.

  3. Dawn Malone says:

    Congrats on your upcoming release! I’m looking forward to the next post on research as the ‘creative’ aspect of writing nonfiction has always fascinated me. And yes, I’d like to throw my hat into the ring for the chance at a free copy! So happy for you, Patricia!

  4. Louann Brown says:

    Your format sounds so interesting. Of course, I’d love a copy.

  5. Dana Karraker says:


    I teach Literacy Methods courses at Illinois State University. I have used your book “Josephine” with my students quite often. I will also use “Loving vs. Virginia”. We do a lot of literacy in the content areas in one of my courses. (So a free copy would be lovely)

  6. StephenK says:

    There’s a great photo of Mildred and Richard in the National Portrait Gallery. Looking forward to reading Loving v Virginia.

  7. Probably a Grey Villet photo, right? He photographed the couple and the family for Life Magazine in the sixties. Thanks, Stephen.

  8. Yay you, Patricia, for being open to trying a different format. This is the right book at the right time. Congratulations to you and Melissa.

  9. Ayda Parra says:

    Patricia I am so happy to hear and see your new book. From the East coast we will be ready to read your book!
    Isabella, Daniela, Paula, and Lucas send their hugs and love.

  10. Gretchen Woelfle says:

    There are so many untold stories for children that touch on African American history. Thanks for bringing some of them to light. My new book tells a few more: ANSWERING THE CRY FOR FREEDOM: STORIES OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.


  11. Nay says:

    Yes, I would like a copy!
    Thank you,

  12. This is amazing! Shadra Strickland is a mentor of mine and I can’t wait to read the book. I would love to be eligible for any of your book giveaways.

  13. Sue Jobst says:

    Hi Patty! I’d love to win a copy of your book!! Of course, who wouldn’t!! So fun to see all your success!!
    Love you,
    Sue Jobst❤️

  14. Sounds like a very cool book, Patricia! Can’t wait to check it out!

  15. Jackie Wypij says:

    Wonderful news Patricia! We would love to be entered in the drawing and will be keeping an eye out for the new book in January regardless. I’ll likely be hounding you for an autograph 🙂 I’ve read parts of Josephine to Marcus & Gigi but at their age they are still mostly interested in the cheetah/leopard.

  16. I would love to have a copy of your _Loving vs Virginia_!

  17. When I was a young gal I thought that all prejudices could be erased if everyone married someone different than them self. I may have just been trying to justify my crush on Erik Estrada from CHiPs. 🙂 I did end up marrying my college sweetheart Poojan. Our families couldn’t have been anymore diverse and still the same. We have been married 17 years and counting. And we’re still “loving” one another.
    I would love a copy of your new YA book.

  18. Christine Cahill says:

    I would love a copy of your new book! I am looking forward to reading it very much. When will you be at the Art Theater? I want to save the date!

  19. That’s just great! I would love to get a copy. I love your style of writing and I’m sure that this book will touch many hearts (Not just teenager’s heart.)

  20. Beth says:

    I’ve been looking forward to sharing this incredible book ever since I read the ARC. It’s so well done. Can’t wait to buy it for my school libraries!

  21. Shelley Washburne Masar says:

    Hi Patty, I feel warmed and gentled by your voice, interesting volume of work one leading you to the next. Sign me up for the drawing, please.

  22. nancy says:

    Great seeing you at Iron Post the other night Patty.
    I loved Josephine and can’t wait to read Loving vs Virginia … I would love a copy of this book!

  23. Melina says:

    Thanks for sharing the info about your book. I got to meet and interview Mildred Loving for a radio piece awhile ago. She was a warm and generous person. I look forward to seeing your book when it’s out. The format sounds interesting.

  24. I’ll be drawing for the October winner before Halloween. Please be sure to both 1) leave a comment and 2) subscribe to the posts to be eligible to win a book.
    Best, Good Luck.

  25. Deborah Salman says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading, and looking, at your new book. Absolutely Baby!

  26. I would love a book about a couple who only wanted to be together and appreciate not only your writing the book but a blog about your research for the book.

  27. Kath Brinkmann says:

    I enjoy your writing. Hope to win a book.

  28. Deb Aronson says:

    Hi Patricia, well, I think I’ve subscribed, since I got an email that you had posted this! I would love to have a copy of this book!
    I also applaud your blogging! I, too, have been trying to blog a bit more….it’s an acquired taste, to feel comfortable doing it, I think!!

  29. Barbara Magee says:

    I’d love a book!

  30. Dan says:

    I’m very interested in a copy of the book.

  31. Lisa Brathwaite says:

    Thanks this post, Patricia. I am so happy to learn from you what exactly a documentary novel is, as I’ll admit, I was wondering but hadn’t yet taken the time to seek out the answer. I appreciate you enlightening me! Of course I’d love to win a copy of your book. Fingers crossed!

  32. Hi, Patricia. I’d like to enter for a free copy! Looking forward to the book!

  33. What a great writer. What a great dancer. What a great person. What a great…wait, what else do I have to say to win a book? Oh, shucks, it don’t matter. I just want to give you a shout out!

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  1. […] Why I wrote Loving vs. Virginia – Book Give Away […]

  2. […] I have some early copies of Loving vs. Virginia in hand (not ARCs, but the real book, in color ;-). I’m offering 3 giveaways before the book comes out—one for October, one for November, one for December. To be eligible, please subscribe to my blog, and leave a comment saying you’d like a book—you’ll be eligible for all 3 drawings. Enter the Book Giveaway here. […]

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