6 Questions with Catherine Bailey
This week, I’m talking with Catherine Bailey, award-winning picture book author of Lucy Loves Sherman’s Beach, Lucy Loves Sherman, Harbor Bound, Mind Your Monsters, and Hypnosis Harry. A few years back, Catherine and I swapped manuscripts to do some critiquing. She’s not just a great writer, she’s also a gracious and talented critiquer. You can see all of Catherine’s books, get free downloads, and read author tips at her web site, http://www.catherinebaileybooks.com.
On to the questions!
Let’s start at the beginning. Where do you get your inspiration for your stories and characters? Do they just come to you, or is there a process you go through?
Hi and thank you for interviewing me. I am quite lucky that my muses live in my house! I get my inspiration from my children and their friends. I also am an avid reader of kidlit – from picture books to YA. All good writers are eager readers.
Writing picture books is so different from everything else. What made you select that genre?
I choose to write picture books because, well, they are so awesome! I love the interplay between words and imagery. My appreciation for clear and simple text probably came from my time as a lawyer. The best attorneys know how to communicate complex concepts in very simple, direct language. My love of artwork came from my college years where I was an Art History major, graphic design employee and Cartoon Network intern. And how cool is it that children use pictures to “fill in the blanks” as they are learning to read!
If you had to give one piece of advice to a new writer, someone who is just thinking about getting started, what would you say?
I can’t just share one 😊 So here are three tips for newbies.
- Join SCBWI – the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
- Understand that writing for children is a profession, not a hobby.
- Be prolific and have at least five solid, polished, critiqued stories before submitting to editors and agents.
How about the challenges? What would you say is the hardest part of what you do? How do you overcome them?
Hands down the hardest part of my job is the w…a…i…t…i…n…g. From waiting on ideas, to critiques, to tweaks from my fabulous agent, to editorial responses – it can take YEARS! I handle this challenge by using the time wisely. And that means that I write daily so that I always have something in the pipeline.
Do you have any good reader stories? Any fun moments with a reader that come to mind?
My best reader story? Ooooo that is a hard one! Meeting young readers is the best part of this job for sure. I suppose one of my best moments recently was when I spoke at a local book awards event for elementary school students. The winners each showed me their own books and I was blown away by their talent!
I always end with the same question. What’s next? Can you talk at all about your current projects?
Thank you for asking! I just had two new books come out in 2019. One debuted from Disney*Hyperion under the title HARBOR BOUND. It’s my first published rhyming book (that’s a big deal!) and it follows boats heading to port after a storm. The other splashed out from Sky Pony Press and is titled LUCY LOVES SHERMAN’S BEACH. It is the sequel to LUCY LOVES SHERMAN and explains what happens when a girl and her best friend (an oversized, under loved polka dotted lobster) tackle a pollution problem. Both books mean a lot to me because I was born and raised in coastal towns.
And – although I can’t say too much (publishing is SO secretive!) – I do have two more books coming out in the next few years. One is about hustling, bustling bugs and the other is about dinosaurs doing yoga (yup, you read that correctly!).