Linda Bailey - Author
Linda Bailey sometimes feels as though she has multiple personalities. That's because when she's writing a story, she feels as though she's actually inside the character. So for five books, she was “inside” an exuberant dog named Stanley --- who hosted a party, went off to sea and rode a mean skateboard, among other high jinks. She has also gone time traveling (Good Times Travel Agency series) and gotten to the bottom of some truly dastardly crimes (Stevie Diamond Mystery series). In Toads on Toast, she cooked up a surprising (and toad-less) breakfast dish, and, most recently, she got to relive her childhood fantasies as she wrote If Kids Ruled the World.
Fortunately, this multiple-personality thing seems to be working! Linda's books have been honored with multiple awards, including the Silver Birch, the Blue Spruce, the Georgia Picture Storybook Award, the California Young Reader Medal, the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize (BC Book Prize) and the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada.
A prairie girl by birth (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Linda is now a longtime West Coaster who likes to live within walking distance of the sea. She has two lovely grown daughters and makes her home in Vancouver, British Columbia.
I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Where do you live now?
I live in Vancouver, British Columbia.
When did you start writing?
I didn't start writing seriously until my late 20s.
What is your favorite book?
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I think it's a nearly perfect book.
What is your favorite animal?
My favorite animal is definitely a dog. I love dogs, especially my Sophie, but after her, I like any dog that wags its tail and looks me in the eye, hoping to get a treat. (I carry dog treats in my pockets when I go walking, so dogs like me almost as much as I like them.)
Do you have any pets?
We have a small gray-and-yellow cat named Daphne and a large, goofy golden retriever named Sophie.
What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is sushi. (There are lots of terrific Japanese restaurants near where I live.) My second favorite food is noodles --- any kind of noodles, but especially Chinese.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to read. I also love to travel and explore places where I've never been. I've traveled through Europe and Australia and all over North America, and I'm hoping to get to Asia next.
What was your training or schooling?
I have a Bachelor's degree in English, and then I got a Master's degree in adult education --- both at the University of British Columbia.
How did you get involved with children's books?
I got involved with children's books through my own two daughters. When they were young, we went to the library --- a LOT! I always walked out with a great, heavy bag of children's books, and my favorite way to spend time with my kids was to curl up on the couch and read to them. I started to get very excited about children's literature at that time.
Do you have any tips for young creators?
The best way to learn how to write is to read. Try to “read as a writer” --- pay attention to what the writer does to achieve the effects he/she is after. How does the writer describe things? Create suspense? What does the writer do to make you laugh --- or cry? Read as much as you can, enjoy it --- and pay attention to what the writer is doing.
What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
I like the feeling of disappearing into a different world. Anyone who reads knows the feeling of disappearing into the “world” of a book. This feeling happens a lot more strongly when you are writing a book. You become totally lost in the story, and you get to know all these new and intriguing “people.” It can be a very exciting experience.
Where do you work?
I work on an old porch at the front of my house that has been closed in and remodeled into a small office. It has big windows that look out onto the street, and during the day, as I work, I can see people going by with their dogs, groceries, kids, bikes and so on. My dog, Sophie, often lies on my feet as I write. Sometimes she sits beside me and looks out the window. (She has her own chair.)
How do you research or create your stories?
Once I have an idea, I begin to daydream. I daydream about a story for weeks or months before beginning to write and take list of notes on my ideas. When I begin to write, I work directly on my laptop computer. I write many, many, MANY drafts!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had lots of ideas for what I wanted to be. Some of them were dress designer, artist and newspaper reporter. I also dreamed of being a writer, but I thought you had to live in New York or London or Paris to be a writer, and I didn't really believe that an ordinary kid from a small Canadian city could be one.
What is the weirdest or most interesting job you've ever had?
I had a lot of weird jobs as a teenager --- onion picker, rootbeer pourer, shoe seller and weed puller. Once I worked on the assembly line of a toy factory in London, England, but it was very noisy and I only lasted about three days.
Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
Stanley the dog is based on my dog, Sophie.