Being 89-years old does not stop local author and educator Patricia Gill from being on the computer at 5:30 a.m. seven days a week plying her skills as a wordsmith.
The author, also known as Dr. Murphy, has authored four historical novels, is working on two more and is doing her very first book signing Wednesday on a children’s book she wrote 30 years ago.
This children’s picture book is based on her grandkids Eric and Paul, called Pabi and Beega, eating on their balcony and throwing scraps over the rail to a mongoose. He fattened up so much when Gill saw him she called him a “monster.”
The other books she has written are based on major historical events on St. Croix.
“A lot more people read historical novels,” Gill says. “History is known by making a story and putting a face on it.”
Her books are "Buddhoe," "The Cape of Arrows," "The Americans Came" and "American’s Paradise 1936." She has poems and a novella in the local "Limin Times Anthology."
Gill came to St. Croix in 1952 because it was easier to get a divorce here. A year later she married local resident Jose Shaubah. The couple had six children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Shaubah and Gill ran a large dairy farm on the east end. They had alternative energy before alternative energy was cool. She says the four windmills on the farm pumped so much water they had to turn them off occasionally.
“I would like to see St. Croix become a leader in green power,” Gill said in a recent interview.
Gill is originally from New York. She got a masters degree in education at Harvard and a doctorate in the history and philosophy of education from the University of Connecticut. She has taught in universities, public and private schools on St. Croix and abroad. Her studies, research, and wittings have been in Caribbean and Latin American history.
She lives with one of her sons at the Fort Augusta condominiums overlooking Gallows Bay.
The book signing for “Pabi, Beega and the Mongoose Monster” will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Undercover Books in Gallows Bay. Kathy Bennett, owner of the store, saw the book and thought it was perfect as a local story book and helped her get it published.
Gill is working on “The Knights of Judith’s Fancy and How St. Croix got Its Name.” Margret Gunkel, the illustrator for Mongoose Monster, is illustrating “The Castle of St. Croix.”
Gill goes to the Writers Circle meetings every Monday in Beeston Hill. She says the group is invaluable editing each others writing.
“It improves everyone’s writing,” Gill says.
When asked about the changes on St. Croix since she moved here, she mentioned how much the U.S. has done for the islands as in public health and education.
Gill retired from structured jobs in 2006. When she is not writing she may be found at Grotto Beach swimming or at a friends’ pool getting exercise that keeps her fit and healthy.