PROFILE 2013: An author’s story

Published 12:38 am Sunday, March 3, 2013

‘Butternut Moon’ reflects light on family history

When Lorene Rooper shared childhood stories with her daughter Robin Ramey, the younger woman knew she would someday share her mother’s story with the world. In October, the South Point resident’s publication of “Butternut Moon” did just that.

“Butternut Moon” is a chapter book, geared for children ages 8 through 12, and is fiction based on Rooper’s life, growing up in the early 1940s. The story is about a southern West Virginia family that has to move to Virginia when the father takes a job building a defense plant.

“They move in with their grandfather in a two-room shanty,” Ramey said. “Grandpa turns out to be not a very nice man and the whole family winds up living in a tent. She makes a couple of unexpected friends along the way that kind of help her through the relocation and the family’s adjustment to their new situation.”

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Ramey, now 37, had always loved children’s literature, had wanted to write a book and had always wanted to share her mother’s story. After taking a life-writing class with Dr. John Patrick Grace, Ramey knew it was time to write the story.

It took a year and a half, writing off and on, while working in the Cabell County School district as an instructional coach. Now the book is available at Empire Books & News in Huntington, W.Va., as well as online at and

Ramey has some advice for people seriously interested in writing their own book.

offered by Grace, or finding other writers to talk can go a long way.

“There are lots of other writers’ groups out there or classes where you can get some feedback,” Ramey said.

Ramey said after writing the book, she had several people she knew read the book before she sent it to a publisher. While the readers were positive about the book, she wasn’t convinced.

“It wasn’t until my (12-year-old)daughter read it and said it was good,” Ramey said about when she felt good about the book. “I knew she would be honest with me. I was much more interested in what kids thought.”

Ramey said publishing a book is more difficult than writing it.

“There are so many ways to publish,” Ramey said. “You need to do some research behind how publishing works.”

Ramey said she wanted to make the book beneficial as a teacher’s resource.

“I wanted it to be for children, something the teachers could use in the classroom,” she said.

On the website for “Butternut Moon,” Ramey said she has questions for each chapter for teachers to use in the classroom.

“I did it with a teacher mindset,” Ramey said.