Patricia Bailey grew up in a small town in Oregon. She now lives in a slightly larger town in Oregon with her husband and three cats. She spends her time exploring forgotten places, hiking mountain trails, and scribbling story ideas on sticky notes.
You just had an awesome new book come out this year called THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN.
Can you tell us about it? How you came up with the idea?
Thirteen-year-old Kit Donovan is sure she’s to blame when her mother dies of a fever. Guilt-ridden, she’s determined to honor her promises to her mother – namely to be a “proper lady.” Only being a lady in Goldfield, Nevada is tougher than it looks. When Kit convinces Papa to speak out about the dangers in a local gold mine, she learns that sometimes doing the right thing leads to trouble. Now Kit must find a way to expose the misdeeds before it’s too late. Unexpectedly, she finds help from a gruff neighbor, a Shoshone boy, and a newspaperman, and she puts her big mouth and all the life skills she’s learned from reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to work. With a man’s hat and a printing press, Kit defies threats of violence and discovers that justice doesn’t always look like she imagined it would. Neither does being a lady.
I came up with the idea after chatting with the owner of a rock/antique shop in Goldfield, Nevada, a small town on US Route 95 between Reno and Las Vegas. He filled me in on the history of the town and the interesting people who had lived there when it was booming. So many things happened there in such a short time, I just couldn’t let the place go. When the character of Kit came to me, I knew I had to make it the setting for her book.
What made you decide to start writing, and why did you choose children’s books?
I always enjoyed writing, and, as a teacher, I wrote with my students all the time. At some point I started submitting my short stories to journals and magazines. Then one November I decided to give Nanowrimo a try and discovered that all the stories that came to me were children’s books – which was lucky since I really enjoy writing from a young person’s point of view. The voices are always clear and rich; the struggles are real and meaningful; and in the end there is always a glimmer of hope. Plus, there’s usually not much kissing – because I’m really terrible at writing kissing scenes.
Tell us about your experience getting into publishing. How long did it take you?
Getting published took my whole life up until now, really – but also just under two years in the case of this book – which is hardly no time at all in the publishing world. I met my agent at a conference in May 2015 and we submitted the novel in September. I signed the contract with Albert Whitman & Company in March 2016, and the book came out in April 2017. Whirlwind, right? Of course that was after years of writing and studying and revising and rewriting – over and over again.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not writing I’m usually trying to shoo the cats off my keyboard or off the book I’m reading. On a good day I’m wandering the countryside like some sort of modern-day Charles Dickens dictating ideas into my phone. I also like to hike and take road trips as long as there’s time to stop and check out the sites.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a Middle Grade contemporary novel set in the Pacific Northwest. I’m also researching a historical novel that will take place near the small Oregon town I grew up in.
Where can we find out more about you and your book?
You can find me at: