By Carol Bronson
Lois McKnight-Theis, St. Leo, will be at the Pratt Public Library from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2, to sign copies of her first novel, "Case of the Tattletale Rabbit." The book is published by Tate Publishing Enterprises, LLC, a Christian family-based business in Mustang, Okla.
McKnight-Theis has been a registered nurse since 1960 and was a staff nurse/nursing supervisor from 1960 to 1987, and co-owner of a hospital consulting corporation to rural hospitals from 1970 to 1973. She served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1974 to 1976, was owner/operator of a home health agency from 1984 to 1987, and founding president of a nonprofit organization in 1997.
The 300-page thriller delves into the dark world of human trafficking and is set in Wichita. During the course of her research, McKnight-Theis learned that Wichita is a hub of trafficking, and she assumes that some of the traffic comes through Pratt.
The hero of the story is Marta, a recent Air Force retiree and registered nurse, coincidentally, with "fluffy white hair," much like the author. Marta and her husband, also an Air Force retiree, and their two sons form a private investigation agency. Their first case is finding a young girl who has disappeared.
In the fast-paced story, they find the girl, along with others abducted for the sex trade, and are able to identify a high profile predator. A stuffed toy — the rabbit in the title — holds the evidence to make an arest.
The book is McKnight-Theis' first novel; previously she wrote grants and a health curriculum for youth that includes elements of character education and sexual abstinence. The video series, copyrighted in 2007, is used at St. Patrick's Catholic School in Kingman and in Wichita.
She researched her story online and drew on her own experiences growing up in Wichita and serving at McConnell Air Force Base, as well as a vivid imagination.
She would have liked to have written the book years ago, but now that she is retired, she has the time. There is a lesson there.
"No one should think they can't try something when they're older."