After she retired from 28 years of teaching in York schools, Pat Guerry Hodnett began writing about the adventures of the fictional Lily Kate Hall.
Hodnett recently published her third book in the Lily Kate Hall trilogy, “In Full Sun.” The two previous books are “A Place for Lily Kate” and “Dragon Smoke,” and all are set in York.
“My whole point of the books was to weave stories around the city of York, stories that we had heard all our lives, funny things that happened here,” said Hodnett, 74, a York native.
Hodnett, who began writing the first book 10 years ago, taught third and fifth grades, first at McCelvey Elementary and then at Harold C. Johnson Middle School.
Hodnett said the books preserve many of her memories of the way York used to be. “It’s nice to have the memories written, so you can go back and enjoy York in the ’50s again,” she said.
Hodnett will have a signing for the new book 2-4 p.m. April 5 at the Gillespie House, 10 W. Liberty St., next to First Presbyterian Church.
The softcover books, published by Red Letter Press in Pawley’s Island, are available at the Men’s Shop, The Hummingbird Forest and Medicap Pharmacy, all in York. The books cost $13 each or $32 for a set of all three.
The books have been popular among both longtime York residents and newcomers, said Hodnett, who has been selling the books from her home.
Hodnett said she began the first book when a friend told her a funny story about York. “I said, ‘Somebody should write that down.’ I started thinking about writing down the York stories, and I started winding a story around stores and people and events in York,” she said.
As Hodnett wrote, the story grew.
In the first book, she said, her character comes to York during the 1950s as an orphaned resident of York Place, the Episcopal Home for Children. She attends grammar school at McCelvey Elementary.
In the second book, “Dragon Smoke,” Lily Kate Hall is a student at the old York High School, now Harold C. Johnson. “She was a Green Dragon,” Hodnett said.
Hodnett said some of the characters in the book are real people who lived in York during that time.
In her newest book, “In Full Sun,” Lily Kate Hall goes to the beach and meets an Episcopal priest who looks like Gregory Peck, she said.
“They come back to York,” Hodnett said. “She is looking for her true love, and she finds him.”