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Cover Reveal for "Once Upon a Wardrobe"

Where did Narnia come from? The answer will change EVERYTHING.

Coming October 19, 2021

March 18, 2021 Newsletter

From Douglas Gresham

Son of Joy Davidman (Stepson of C. S. Lewis)

Here's what he had to say. . .

"In 'Once Upon a Wardrobe' Patti, smashes through the steep waves and torrents of life in ways that will leave us all astonished, searching, and looking hard ahead.

This is not merely a book worth reading, it is a book that will drive us through the difficulties of love and of sorrow, to struggle, gasping onward and upward, our emotions surging with us until we are brought, once again to love. In this amazing book, Patti's portrayal of my Stepfather C.S.Lewis or "Jack" as he preferred to be known comes once more to life, and he shows a very full understanding of what is needed to make us understand a little less carelessly, what the world expects of us, no, indeed demands of us until finally, we get there!

I advise you to read this book, then wait for a while and then read it again for while it may not be Narnia, there is magic in it and that deeply moved me.”—Douglas Gresham

Once Upon A Wardrobe

From the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis comes another tenderly imagined and enchanting story that pulls back the curtain on the early life of C. S. Lewis.

Coming October 19, 2021

SUMMARY Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics. She prefers the dependability of facts—except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a copy of a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and, the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse. Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers.

What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis’s life, which she takes home to George. Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.

Publisher: Harper Muse (debut) Pub Date: October 19, 2021 Hardcover: 320 pages ISBN-10: 0785251723 ISBN-13: 978-0785251729 Format: Hardcover, e-book, audiobook

Tags: #BiographicalFiction #BiographicalHistoricalFiction #ComingofAgeFiction #familylife #CSLewis #Narnia #OnceUponaWardrobe #PattiCallahan #historicalfiction #harpermuse #harpercollins #fictionandliterature #literaryfiction

Pre-Order Book

Parade Magazine

"Patti Callahan's Once Upon a Wardrobe Cover Reveal Will Give You C.S. Lewis Nostalgia in the Best Way"

MARCH 17, 2021



Author Patti Callahan channels C.S. Lewis in her new book, Once Upon a Wardrobe, and gives him new life. The New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis delves into Lewis’ legacy once more, and he serves as a nearly endless well of inspiration for her. Beyond examining his love story with Joy Davidman, Callahan looks at Lewis’ relationship with the written word, and with the rich inner worlds we all share. “His books are living things, changing and often becoming what we most need at different times in our lives,” Callahan says. “The poet and philosopher John O’Donohue once wrote, ‘A book is a path of words which take the heart in new directions,’ and that is exactly what Lewis does for me, and for most of us.” World-building is key to Lewis’ success, as well as to Callahan’s, and she set out to do that within the 1950s Oxford setting of Once Upon a Wardrobe.

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Q. C. S. Lewis is a monumental figure in the literary canon and modern Christianity, and many find him an interesting subject of study. What is it about C. S. Lewis, that inspired your interest in his life and influence?

PATTI: For me, it was not an academic but a personal interest that drew me to C. S. Lewis’ books. As a young child, I fell through the wardrobe door of Narnia, and for me, C. S. Lewis is endlessly fascinating. He has written everything from poetry to non-fiction to essays to novels to fantasy. Once an atheist who became an influential Christian apologist, his words cut straight to the marrow of our lives. His books are living things, changing and often becoming what we most need at different times in our lives. The poet and philosopher John O’Donohue once wrote, “A book is a path of words which take the heart in new directions,” and that is exactly what Lewis does for me, and for most of us.

Q. In both Once Upon a Wardrobe and Becoming Mrs. Lewis you’ve written fiction about real, historical people. How do you maintain the delicate balance between being true to the history and legacy of the real person and crafting a compelling story?

PATTI: Oh, the balance is tricky, a tightrope I can fall off if I am not careful! I believe that the bones of the story, which are the facts, must be weighty and solid. A compelling novel must be built around those factual bones. What makes most stories compelling is the drive of the emotional journey of our character, and that is where the fictional aspect comes into play. We must, as historical fiction novelists on this side of their life, do our best to discover not only the facts but also the emotional truth of their lives. I keep my ears and eyes and heart open to find the nuggets of their life that show us who they were, what they cared about and then make that come to life on the page.

Q. The characters in Once Upon a Wardrobe find so much value in the fictional world of Narnia that Lewis created. How have the Chronicles of Narnia affected your life?

PATTI: I have been enchanted by Narnia since my memory begins. I have read it to my children and have sat with them as we all cry through the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It’s hard to pin-point how it has affected my life in a logical or pointed way because I think that Narnia, its characters, and its themes affect the heart and the unconscious just as much as the adventure of the story thrills us.

That’s the thing with stories like this – they work in different ways than logic and lists, they are their own kind of magic, and that is what I hoped to portray in this novel. Narnia made me first an immersive reader and then made me want to be a writer. Narnia points to the ideas buried deep inside all of us that there is something greater than we can see with our eyes, that we are being led home, and that great love conquers all.

Q. What made you write this story? Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

PATTI: Narnia was and is a powerful part of my life, and yet I’ve never felt the need to dissect it like a specimen on a laboratory slide or take it apart to find its inner workings, but about a year ago I found myself wanting to convey the power of its mythology in our lives. I felt a story stirring that might reveal exactly what C. S. Lewis meant when he said “Sometimes fairy stories may say best what needs to be said.’ As I considered The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe a young boy named George Devonshire and his sister, Megs visited my imagination. George asks his sister to find the answer to his most pressing question, “Where did Narnia come from?”

Part of what I set out to show that an author’s life (and reading) might inform a story in some ways, and yet there are also large swaths of story-source that are altogether imaginative, mysterious, and transcendent. I’m fascinated by how Narnia transforms us; how the power of story can’t be fully be explained no matter how much we want to quantify and list its logical associations. My editor at Harper Muse, Amanda Bostic, once said to me, “I’ve always believed that if we can find our way to Narnia, we can find our way home.” And that, exactly that, is the truth I hope permeates this novel.

Q. Which book is your favorite in the Chronicles of Narnia series, and why?

PATTI: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And why? Oh, that is exactly what I wanted to show in Once Upon a Wardrobe. Why? That is only answered for me in a story about a story. There is no logical or succinct way to say why this book, of all the books in the world, sneaks its way into the hearts and minds of so many of us. But I can at least try to answer, which is the inspiration and origin of Once Upon a Wardrobe.


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Related Post: Garden & Gun Magazine

"How one writer shaped her new novel with access to Georgia’ ships, silver, and journals." | An Essay by Patti Callahan | March 2021 The Hidden History In Savannah Museums


The Untold Story Behind SURVIVING SAVANNAH

New Podcast Series

The Untold Story Behind Surviving Savannah

Listen to The Untold Story Behind Surviving Savannah on Spotify. Join New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan for an in-depth exploration into the fascinating stories explored in her novel, Surviving Savannah. You'll hear interviews with some of the foremost experts on the myth and lore of Savannah, shipwreck treasure hunting, the hidden stories in museums, and the astounding real-life family story that inspired the novel.

Podcast Series Episodes 1-6 Available Now! Listen to Podcast Series


About the Author

“Stories that steal your imagination.”

Photo Credit: Bud Johnson Photography Savannah, GA

Patti Callahan

New York Times Bestselling Author and Podcast Host

Patti Callahan is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of sixteen novels and podcast host. She is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner "Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019. “With a belief that the power of story changes us and moves us, Patti’s historical fiction, SURVIVING SAVANNAH, WILD SWAN, and BECOMING MRS. LEWIS explores the untold stories of the past that affect us now.” (writing as Patti Callahan)

SURVIVING SAVANNAH, a new historical fiction, based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck, known as "The Titanic of the South" was released March 9, 2021. The new podcast series, "The Untold Story Behind Surviving Savannah" is an in-depth exploration into the fascinating stories explored in her novel, Surviving Savannah. The podcast series includes interviews with some of the foremost experts on the myth and lore of Savannah, shipwreck treasure hunting, the hidden stories in museums, and the astounding real-life family story that inspired the novel. Available now. WILD SWAN, a novella following the fiery life of one of history’s greatest heroines and the mother of modern nursing: Florence Nightingale by Patti Callahan was released December 2020, as an Audible Original performed by the award-winning narrator, Cynthia Erivo. BECOMING MRS. LEWIS, The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis was released in an expanded edition, March 2020. The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series" launched, October 2019. The podcast audiobook collection including bonus material was released in January 2020. The new expanded BECOMING MRS. LEWIS paperback edition was released in March 2020. REUNION BEACH, Stories Inspired by Dorothea Benton Frank, a collaboration and tribute to be released April 27, 2021, and available for pre-order now. Patti joins a group of bestselling authors to present a moving anthology to pay tribute to the legendary NYT bestselling author and her literary legacy. ONCE UPON A WARDROBE is another tenderly imagined and enchanting story that pulls back the curtain on the early life of C. S. Lewis from Callahan— coming October 19, 2021, and available for pre-order now—published by Harper Collins' new imprint —Harper Muse. Callahan's Once Upon a Wardrobe will be their debut novel launching this fall. Patti Callahan is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show and podcast, featuring the five bestselling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Kristin Harmel, and Mary Alice Monroe. With endless stories and special guests, live every Wednesday at 7 pm ET on the Friends and Fiction Facebook group page, their YouTube Channel, and Parade Magazine Facebook page. You can follow them on Instagram and, for weekly updates, subscribe to their newsletter In a recent essay series partnership with Parade Magazine, each Wednesday viewers get a new “life lesson” from one of the FF writers on as well as a chance to discuss the themes later that evening on Facebook Live. A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. Read More.

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