GCU employee keeps finding new stories to tell
Story and photos by Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
Stories just spill out of Ruth Douthitt, a book author, Grand Canyon University curriculum developer, wife, mother and long-distance runner.
They come out sideways if she doesn’t write them down, like the sentences that sprang from her imagination giving spelling tests to Valley Academy Charter School sixth-graders in a former position.
“As a teacher you had to say the word, put it in a sentence and say the word again,” Douthitt said. “What started out as sentences in spelling became ‘The Children under the Ice.’”
She was referring to the first book of her children’s series about middle school sleuths who consult with ghosts to solve crimes.
Book two is “The Children in the Garden,” and book three — which she is celebrating at a book-signing party at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Canyon 49 Grill — is titled “The Children of Manor House.”
“A lot of my story ideas come from students,” Douthitt said.
The idea for the series originally came from a pupil who suggested that “Shhhh, Whispers in the Hall” would be a great book name.
“I started thinking about a haunted school and how they would, in fact, hear whispers in the hall,” she said.
The “Children under the Ice” series is not Douthitt’s first. The three-book series, “The Dragon Forest,’’ is about a young boy’s adventure with dragons and his struggles to save his father’s kingdom.
Nor is Douthitt’s position in Curriculum Design and Development, which she has held since July. Douthitt also worked as a curriculum designer from 2009 to 2012. And she is also a former student who attended GCU as an art major from 1986 to 1987.
“It was like a little high school, it was so small,” she said.
She met her husband, Scott, at Cortez High School in Phoenix. Their son, Nathan, is 21. One of her inspirations for writing her first two series was a shortage of books for young boys.
Another of Douthitt’s hobbies is distance running, and she is on her department’s team, CDD Survivors, which is signed up the 2017 GCU Foundation Run to Fight Children’s Cancer on March 11.
Douthitt also ran in 2011 and 2012. Her sister, Tammie Ham, died of cancer at age 56.
And even as she prepares to sign the last book in the recent series, Douthitt’s next series is already spilling out — a series about a woman reporter who embeds with the Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.