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Linda Skeers Writes about Amazing Women

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Linda Skeers loves to write and read about strong, courageous women. She has highlighted 52 of them in her new collective biography Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels. Some of those women have found a small spot in history books. Many others will be new to readers.

Women Who Dared is Linda’s second collective biography. Her first, Toy Makers, is about the creators of well-known toys including Legos, Lionel trains, and Barbie. She has also written two picture books, The Impossible Patriotism Project and Tutus Aren’t My Style. Although Linda is hard at work on a second book about amazing women, she took some time to talk to us  about writing.

On September 10 from 1-2 p.m., Linda is hosting a book launch at Cedar Rapids Barnes & Noble. Along with a presentation and book signing, there will be cake and a writing contest for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. She'll also be presenting and signing at this fall's SCBWI-Iowa conference.


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Q. Can you give us some background about Women Who Dared? How did it all come about?
A. The word that comes to mind to explain how this series came about is serendipity! I was on the faculty at a writer’s conference and so was Sourcebooks editor Kelly Barrales-Saylor. We got talking and realized we both loved learning about amazing – but lesser-known – women in history. She asked me to send her some ideas for a nonfiction series about women and after some research, I sent her a list of daredevils, adventurers and rebels. She then asked me to write a sample chapter about one woman. I did and she responded with an offer for a 3-book series!

Q. How did you decide what women to include in your first book? Do you have any favorites?
A. Deciding who to include was tough! I didn’t want to write about women that people already knew — but finding information on women NOT well known was like a treasure hunt! I dug through newspaper archives, magazines and books. I also searched websites for women inducted into Halls of Fame, clubs, and associations for everything from circus performers to oceanographers. I researched hundreds of women but finally managed to narrow it down to 52. The first woman I wrote about is one of my favorites – Annie Edson Taylor who was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to tell about it! Every time I wrote about someone they became my favorite. Until I wrote about the next one!

Q. What challenges did you face in telling the stories of these women in only 400 words?
A. For some of the women, there just wasn’t a lot of information available so sticking to 400 words wasn’t a problem. For others, it was incredibly difficult! First drafts were way too long and I had to keep cutting and cutting which was painful! I tried to include the most interesting and unusual facts to give readers a glimpse into the lives and legacies of these incredible women.

Q. What is a typical writing day for you like? Do you write every day?
A. I’ve tried to stick to a daily writing schedule but it just doesn’t work for me. I usually write in short bursts and feel most productive in the morning and early afternoon. That changes when I’m working on a deadline. Then I work from about 9am to 9pm – sometimes in my pajamas!

Q. What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
A. Probably the best writing advice I’ve been given is just to keep at it. Keep working on your craft. Keep reading. And most importantly, just keep writing!

You can learn more about Linda on her website at

Thanks to Barb Kramer for writing this interview article.
Barb is the author of 27+ children's books, a member SCBWI-Iowa, and an avid blogger.
Check out her website: