Ask the Author: Rosaline Bush
I finished reading The Journal of Skipper Catt, Esq. last week. The author, Rosaline Bush, lives down the road from me and I had been present last year when she shared with us that the book had been published and a box had been shipped to her. I’ve been interested in reading it since then, and this month I finally got around to asking if I could have a copy. I did tell her that when I had finished it, I would like to come back and ask her some questions.
I was a little nervous sitting there on her living room floor while my boys played with her cat toys. I confessed that I’d never done an interview before, and wasn’t quiet sure of the questions I should ask. Ms. Bush was very kind, and asked the questions for me; and then she answered them.
What was your inspiration for The Journal of Skipper Catt, Esq.? It’s an autobiography, of sorts; Skipper is based on a cat that I had thirteen years ago—a lot of that really happened.
How did you get interested in writing? I taught school (what grades) for a long time and used to make up stories, with spelling lists. When I was teaching we’d write plays from the stories. . . we liked to do creative things. Sometimes I’d give them a line and each child would add one or two lines until we’d gone around the room, and we’d make a story like that.
What books did you read as a child and how have they influenced your own writing? I love fairy tales, mysteries and happy endings. I read The Secret Garden and Nancy Drew. I’m still partial to children’s books.
How did you come to settle down in Lynchburg? I was living in Fredricksburg, near my daughter, and she had a job offer down here. I came with her and my grandson. I had taught school in Danville for almost 30 years, so I was familiar with the area. What I love about Lynchburg is how friendly everyone is.
Skipper Catt left us hanging, will there be a sequel? Yes, probably—there are more stories to tell. A lot of these stories were written for my grandson; I’d write and send them by email.
I noticed that there was no illustrator credited, did you do the drawings yourself? I did. I started drawing by drawing people’s heads, especially girls—profiles, you know?
How important is it for children to read stories? Very important! I found in teaching, the more a child is read to, and then reads on his own, the better he will do in school. Reading is required in every subject—even math! Especially if he reads the classics—Tom Sawyer, Anne of Green Gables; and folk tales are really important because they teach you about the culture, and the past.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing for young writers to know or do? Read. A lot. Pick out the kind of writing that you like, if you like fiction or nonfiction for example. Read what you’d like to write.