Author Kaye Baillie on the Power of Revision plus a GIVEAWAY

Posted on Updated on

Hello world!

Welcome to my book blog, Blissfully Bookish. For this Q & A, please welcome author Kaye Baillie who released her picture book entitled Boo Loves Books, illustrated by Tracie Grimwood and published by  New Frontier Publishing (Australia)/Lerner Books (USA). Take a look at her writing journey below.

But first, YAY! Kaye is generously giving away a PB critique (fiction or nonfiction, no rhyme, under 1,000 words)-simply comment on this blog post to enter, contest ends November 30, 2020.


Please describe the journey to publication for Boo Loves Books.

In 2016 I read an online article about kids reading to cats at an animal shelter. I wrote a story based on the article and one month later sent it to an agent. Silent rejection. Did I get the story critiqued beforehand? No, I didn’t. I still had much to learn even though I had been writing for years and had one picture book contract with an Australian publisher. One month later I submitted to an Australian publisher and one more agent. Two more silent rejections.

The following month I paid for a critique with an editor at a publishing house in the US. I received encouraging feedback but no offer. Feeling discouraged, I put the story away for over one year. I decided to take another look at the editor’s comments. I decided to rework the story. I sent it to my new critique group formed through SCBWI. With their feedback I renamed the story, did more edits and prepared to submit it again. So then, two years after I wrote the story, I submitted it to four publishers – 3 Australian and 1 small US one. Almost four months later, one Australian publisher replied and said my story was delightful and asked if it was available! I replied ‘yes’! The book was released 1 May 2020 in Australia, UK and New Zealand and 6 October 2020 in the USA.

Where did you draw the book’s inspiration?

As a children’s author, I’m always looking for inspirational true stories to write about. One day I read in the Huffington Post about a Book Buddies program where primary school students read to homeless cats at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Pennsylvania. What captured my attention was the transformation of a boy who took part in the program and his loving attitude towards the cats.

What is your writing process, and does it vary depending on the project?

It does vary. My process for writing picture book biographies involves lots of research. Once I have completed my research which can take months, I begin sifting through the facts and events to figure out what to put in the story. I also use mentor texts to look at page turns, language, words per spread, first and last lines etc. When writing fiction, I use mentor texts in the same way. A fictional story may require some research, but the writing isn’t restrained by telling the truth as it is when writing non-fiction. And the time to write a fictional story is usually a lot less. I do writing related tasks usually for 2-4 hours a day and I write in my studio out the back. When I have the story in good shape, I get my critique group to look at it and also send it to Rate Your Story. When I’m getting close to finished, I get a paid critique. Then, after final revisions I send it to my agent.

What differentiates your book from others with similar content currently on the market?

Boo Loves Books is about anxiety, being afraid or embarrassed about making mistakes and realizing that you can do things at your own pace in your own way. The story differs to others on the market as it has two settings: school and an animal shelter. Phoebe the main character sees that Boo also has fears and I think the way she solves the situation is heartwarming and extremely empowering for children. Plus, the story is based on a real program for reading to animals.

Please paste a short and compelling excerpt from your book.

“This dog is a little bit scared. But he would never hurt you.”

Scared, thought Phoebe. Of me?

“Talk about the pictures,” said Miss Spinelli. “Your voice is all he needs”.

Where do you see your career headed? Do you have other WIPs or projects in the pipeline you would like to mention?

I have had three picture books released in Australia over the last two years. Boo Loves Books was originally released by New Frontier Publishing Australia, and they also released it in the UK, New Zealand and now it has been released in the US. My fourth picture book comes out in Australia, March 2021. After I signed with literary agent Essie White of Storm Literary in 2019 after meeting her at the SCBWI conference in Sydney, Australia, she sold my first picture book biography which is due out at the end of 2021 with The Innovation Press. I’m very lucky to have an agent who is happy to represent me just for those. I write picture book biographies and also fiction. Several stories are out on submission and I have just sent Essie my latest PB biography. I intend to keep writing picture books. It’s what I love to do.

Please share your favorite books that have inspired you and served as mentor texts. Pick one classic and one contemporary book. What is it about them that moved you?

Classic – ‘Goodnight Moon’ by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd. I adore the mood created in the story and the gentle lyrical language. It’s also quite a mysterious book which sets it apart from others.

Contemporary – ‘Windows’ by Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale. I love this simple yet gentle story of a boy walking through his neighborhood at night. It’s lyrical (I love lyrical) with minimal word count and it has a warm comforting ending.

What is the best (one) piece of advice you would give to other writers? 

Read your work out loud – OFTEN! Listen to its rhythm, voice and page turns. Rework the parts you are not happy with.

And a bonus question just for kicks! If you could be any flavor of ice cream, which one would you be and why??

Licorice because it’s a bit different and I love it.


Kaye Baillie completed a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing in 2005. Her favourite subject was Writing for Children and she eventually switched from her role as an executive assistant to children’s author. Her first picture book Message in a Sock won in the History Category in the Northern Lights Book Awards USA (2019) and was shortlisted in the Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards and the NSW Premier’s History Awards (2019). She has a passion for telling stories about remarkable people.

In 2020 Kaye had two picture books released. The Friendly Games with MidnightSun Publishing and Boo Loves Books with New Frontier Publishing.

In 2021 Kaye has two picture books due for release. When the Waterhole Dries Up with Windy Hollow Books and her USA debut Olive Dennis, Train Engineer with The Innovation Press.

She is an active member and the Assistant Co-ordinator of SCBWI Victoria, Australia and is a member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Kaye lives in a Victorian coastal town with her family.


Twitter Kaye Baillie

Website Kaye Baillie for book purchase

SCBWBI Bookstop Page

37 thoughts on “Author Kaye Baillie on the Power of Revision plus a GIVEAWAY

    katiefischerwrites said:
    November 27, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing. It was especially encouraging how you’re making it work with both fiction and non-fiction projects.

    Liked by 1 person

    savoringeverymoment said:
    November 23, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    I love that concept for a story. And great advice for writers. I have a rhyming pb story and I’m really struggling to get the meter exactly right. I need to get more comfortable reading it aloud. It’s hard when everyone is home all day every day 😉 Would really benefit from a critique! =)

    Liked by 1 person

    rozanark said:
    November 23, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    What an inspiring journey! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    dedradavis03 said:
    November 22, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    I love her inspiring story and I can’t wait to read this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    amyrsinn said:
    November 19, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    What an adorable book! … I would love a critique – I have a picture book ready – and I have 2 publishers who are interested!

    Liked by 1 person

    kimberleesy said:
    November 19, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey Kaye – I love your spirit of perseverance and the reminder that critiquing and refining are so essential before releasing your babies to the world! Excited for your 2021 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    seschipper said:
    November 18, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    Great idea for a a PB! Boo Loves Books is on my list to read! I also think the suggestion to read your work out loud is excellent! (Our dog’s name is Hank, but my nick name for him is “Boo”! He is delightful!!) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Carlisle Malone said:
    November 18, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    I love the sound of the book (dog lover here)! Added to my to be bought list!

    Liked by 2 people

      Kaye Baillie said:
      November 19, 2020 at 2:06 am

      Thanks, Carlisle! Dogs are special for sure.


    rosecappelli said:
    November 18, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Kaye. Looking forward to reading your book!

    Liked by 2 people

    Andrew Hacket said:
    November 18, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    I love hearing about the journey to publication and I LOVE the message of the book.

    Liked by 2 people

      Kaye Baillie said:
      November 19, 2020 at 2:07 am

      I’m glad you liked it, Andrew. Thankyou.


    Jennifer Raudenbush said:
    November 18, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the inspirational post on Kaye’s journey!

    Liked by 2 people

    Cristina Raymer said:
    November 18, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing this interview! I love reading about others’ journey to publication and great advice about reading aloud. I always try to read my stories aloud as much as possible and it truly helps.

    Liked by 2 people

      Kaye Baillie said:
      November 19, 2020 at 2:08 am

      I love reading publication journeys too, Cristina. Thanks for reading.


    amanookian2014 said:
    November 18, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    So encouraging to hear of each author’s journey to publication. Our critique groups are so vital in this process. Thank you Lydia and Kaye for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

      Kaye Baillie said:
      November 19, 2020 at 2:10 am

      Critique groups are so important. Something I learned a bit further down the track. Thanks for reading!


    Josh Cohen said:
    November 18, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to read this one. Also, completely agree with Kaye about Windows by Julia Denos – such a simple but comforting story.

    Liked by 2 people

      Kaye Baillie said:
      November 19, 2020 at 2:11 am

      Thanks, Josh. Yes, Windows is one of those books that feels fresh each time I read it.


    claireannette1 said:
    November 18, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    I love the title and everything about this book!

    Liked by 2 people

    sareenmclay said:
    November 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing your route to publishing and writing tips, Kaye. Your book looks so lovely, am looking forward to reading it!

    Liked by 2 people

    Ann Harrell said:
    November 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    This book does sound delightful. I love the choices Kaye made – weaving in the anxiety piece with the story about reading to shelter pets. A win-win!

    Liked by 2 people

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      November 18, 2020 at 1:35 pm

      Right. I think we need more books about anxiety, so children can identity and learn to deal with it.

      Liked by 2 people

      Kaye Baillie said:
      November 19, 2020 at 2:12 am

      Thankyou, Ann. Boo sure tugs at the heartstrings.


    Lindsey Hobson said:
    November 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    What a lovely idea for a picture book! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s