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Linda reading

I can't remember a time when I didn't make up stories. For a long time, these stories remained in my head, but I could always pull one out and tell it to myself if I was waiting in an airport or doctor's office.

I was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1949, and moved to Calgary when I was five. We lived in what is now central Calgary, but was then on the outskirts. There were caves in the hills where my sisters and brother and I could pretend we were cave dwellers or robbers, and marshy pussy-willowed hollows that became dangerous quicksand in my imagination. It is this memory of make-belief games that led to my picture book, Sir Cassie to the Rescue.

Neighbours used to look out of their windows and shake their heads, marvelling that I didn't bump into a lamp-post as I walked down the street with my nose buried in a book, and I was one of those awful students who usually had an open novel hidden beneath my math and science texts. Visits to the library opened doors into adventure and enchantment and introduced me to fascinating characters, so it's no wonder that after receiving a B.A. with Distinction from the University of Calgary in 1969, I went to the University of Alberta to obtain a Library Science degree. My work as a children's librarian, first in Truro, NS, then in Saskatoon, SK, and finally in Grande Prairie, AB, allowed me to indulge in my love of stories through reading picture books, telling stories and putting on puppet plays for children. However, it wasn't until I enrolled in the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College in Boston to get an M.A. in Children's Literature, that I set aside my fear of that blank white page and that I would never be good enough to write "The Great Canadian Novel", and became serious about writing. It was there that I took a writing course from Nancy Bond and realized that writing is an essential part of my life that makes me feel fully alive.

From 1984-2001, I worked as a children's librarian at the public library in Grande Prairie, Alberta. During that time, I wrote short stories and my first novels. In 2001, I took an early retirement and now spend my time writing and doing volunteer work helping organize the Wordspinner Literary Festival, serving on the board of the Children's Literature Roundtable, and working with a variety of social justice groups. Part of my love for fantasy comes from the fact that it's a genre that involves characters, not only in the problems and issues of their own lives, but in those of the world beyond. I have always believed individuals can make a difference, an attitude that even led me to run as a New Democrat candidate in the Alberta provincial election of 1997.

My interests include reading, walking and travelling. Readers of The Minstrel's Daughter will not be surprised to learn that I love cats.

Linda Smith
enjoys petting a
friend's cat.

cat lover

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