REGION - Using real-life inspirations and a lot of imagination, children’s author Lindsay Barrett George has written several books about her encounters with animals and nonhuman objects for nearly 30 years.
    An area resident, George says writing about her life’s experiences is a way of making sense of things. Often, human behavior provides a narrative for stories, she explains as was the case with her first book about her family’s adoption of a baby goose in the mid-1980’s. Calling the book a, “no-brainer,” her family found a baby goose and after a 10 month friendship, Boomer the goose found a mate. “William and Boomer,” hit the shelves in 1987 and George has gone on to write other stories and series that reflect on events in her life.
    An artist turned writer, George says the book field was not in her “radar,” although she has always enjoyed drawing. Actually, in college she was a math major, she explains because she didn’t know anything about the art field. With the encouragement of a professor, she went onto get a Masters degree in print making, where her plan was to be a printer during the day and sell her art at night. That didn’t work however, she says because having the right connections is critical.
    As a printer, George was working 12 hour days and although she loved her job, she wanted a 9:00 to 5:00 career. To get that job, George expanded her skills and learned how to do layout, which led to an entry position at William Morrow as a layout artist. With a career plan now in the book field, George went on to marry her late husband Bill. Together, the couple moved to Pennsylvania, where Bill wrote the books and George illustrated and designed them which she says was a, “piece of cake.”
    The more one learns about writing, George says the more of a rhythm that’s developed for writing for children. Starting as an artist, George says she joined the field, “through the art and design backdoor.”
    An important element when writing for children, George says is having a character that changes. She explains that books are character driven, and the character that the reader meets on page one, must evolve by the end of the story. Also, with the art, she says it mustn’t be complicated as it is not based on real life.
    Writing for children, George admits is challenging because the plot has to have a strong concept. Plus, the text must be simple and there has to be plenty of room for art. But, for George, she says this is actually good because she does not consider herself to be a “writer’s writer.” Even after writing 13 books, she considers words to be, “terrifying.”
    Someday, George says she may attempt a graphic novel, but because writing for children isn’t easy, she plans to stay with her present focus. When writing for children, George says the story is based on the moment, whereas writing for adults is world building.  
    Books, George says are able to access one’s imagination, which is huge because that is a person’s most private place. For George, books that really affect her tend to be about home and friendship. The best books for a reader, she says are the ones readers remember because of an emotional connection. The reason for writing, she says is to create that connection and if an author can’t do that, the book fails.
    As an only child, George says animals played a big part in her life. Dogs, were her siblings and today, any animal makes her melt. With her books, George says animals “parallel what I’m doing” and animals are her “inclination,” because they “sort of guide what you write.”
    Currently, George is working on a story about a dog, that visits earth from outer space. That idea, evolved from a conversation she had with a fan two years ago, at a book signing. A 57 word story, George says the point of the tale is to tell children that they aren’t alone.
    George’s sixth grade teacher told her she couldn’t write. After that, it took her sometime to realize her teacher was wrong. That, she says, shows how much power teachers have. But, it is important that people practice because that is the key to getting better. She acknowledges that a person must have some talent, but really “we’re all talented.” In 2014, George says a good doesn’t mean anything, because everything has been done already. Instead, that idea has to be recreated with the author’s own voice.
    As a children’s author, George says she feels very honored to write for kids. By being an author and artist, two things of which she loves, it couldn’t get better. If a person finds something they love, George says to keep with it and forget the critics. “If you believe that you can, then you can.”