About Linda Salisbury
Books have always been an important part of my life. When I was four, and before I started school in Mahwah, New Jersey, one of my grandmothers, a fourth-grade nature teacher in Dayton, Ohio, sent me a box of books. It contained about Greek mythology or fairy tales such as East of the Sun, and West of the Moon, and mysteries. Impatient that Mother was busy with my younger sisters and had less time for me, I taught myself to read so that I could enjoy those boxed treasures. I knew then that I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write books.
I dictated my first story at about the same age. Those were the days before we had a television set. When we weren’t making up games outside, or reading, we listened to our radio shows. One of my favorites was Tom Mix, a cowboy hero. So, one dark and stormy night (really), I made up my own episode of Tom Mix and my father typed it.
My personal library increased dramatically when I was in high school and paperback books were both affordable and popular. (I still have a number of them.) My desire to be an author was also fueled by watching Helen Oakley, one of my favorite children’s authors, typing in her home office in Manhasset, New York. (Her daughters Val and Deb were my friends.) So, while in high school I wrote and illustrated two picture books (The Donkey and the Daisies, and The Decline of Benjamin Jump) and sent them to a publisher. In less time than it took to write them, I received polite rejection slips.
On to more reading and writing through a degree in English at Oberlin College, then a fortunate series of circumstances led to an exciting career in journalism and my first two collections of columns (Good-bye Tomato, Florida, and Read My Lips: No New Pets!) plus a book about our county in Florida (The Breezy Guide to Charlotte County) and another on publishing (Smart Self-Publishing).
I still had my dream of writing a novel, and that dream came true when I retired from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, where through the years I had been a reporter, bureau chief (small bureau), editorial writer, feature writer, columnist and community news editor. We packed boxes, and made many trips from Florida to Virginia where we were building our new house, with a lovely writing and music room for me. And I wrote and wrote and wrote on my laptop while my husband, Jim, drove. I took notes on what I saw along the way from the interstates into theLake Anna area where my Bailey Fish Adventure series and a year later, I held in my hands a copy of The Wild Women of Lake Anna, illustrated by my talented son, Christopher Grotke the first in the for-now eight-book series.
I’m not done writing for kids (it’s much too much fun), but with boxes containing fourteen years of newspaper columns that had not been published in a book, it was time for a new collection. Thanks to Diane McFarlin, publisher of theSarasota Herald-Tribune, I received permission to use reader and personal favorites in But You Don’t Look Funny.
At the same time, my first adult novel, Mother’s: A novel of hoarding, friending and mischief had taken over my writing life to my great satisfaction and pleasure.
Dreams do come true. It’s a matter of hard work, honing skills, listening to criticism, and grabbing at unexpected opportunities, no matter what your age.
And, not letting a pink rejection slip hold you back when you have The Dream.