Get to Know Kaye Baillie and Great Big Softie!

April 19th, 2022

We are celebrating the MONSTROUS release of 
the stunning new picture book, Great Big Softie!

We had a chat with the wonderfully talented Kaye Baillie about her new book! 

Tell us about Great Big Softie!

I think everyone has tried to fit in with the popular group, even when that course of action doesn’t really speak to who we are. Often when we go against our internal voice, it feels uncomfortable. In Great Big Softie, Elliot is a kind-hearted monster who tries to fit in with his monster friends by bursting into a gift shop, helping himself to churros in the park and making a massive splash at the local pool. When he scares a little girl, he soon discovers that abandoning his true self, might not be so good after all.

Where did the inspiration for Great Big Softie come from?

Stories can begin in many ways. An idea for a title, a character, perhaps a setting. For Great Big Softie I drafted the story around a funny line that popped into my head. ‘Mind the glassware, sweetie.’ Writing is a mysterious thing. I enjoyed saying the line to myself which made me chuckle. I started brainstorming about who ‘sweetie’ might be and why he doesn’t like being called ‘sweetie’. The story came together that way.

What did you enjoy the most about writing Great Big Softie?

I couldn’t help laughing at the scenes where Elliot wreaks havoc. Although it’s not much fun for the characters he upsets, the illustrations show what a silly and funny part of the story this is.

Where do you like to write?

In my little studio in the back yard. It’s all mine. I have a desk and computer and an old typewriter. I have two bookcases filled with picture books. There is a little deck which has a grapevine which is shady in the summer.

What is the best part of writing books for children?

Experiencing the magic of turning your thoughts into a story with characters and situations that feel real. Then hoping that children will enjoy your story. Picture books are extremely versatile and can centre around any topic imaginable. Seeing the illustrations is one of the best parts also.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy baking (and eating) desserts. I love apple or berry crumbles, sticky date puddings, lemon curd cakes. I also love birdwatching. It’s a treat to see black cockatoos fly over the house with their eerie squeaking cries and big loping wings.

What would you like young readers and their caregivers to take away from Great Big Softie?

I hope through this story that young readers and caregivers will see that fitting in is a very personal thing. It is not about being accepted by the biggest or most popular group, especially if that means going against what’s in your heart. Fitting in should feel like wearing your most comfortable pair of slippers.

What is your favourite book at the moment?

Eliza Vanda’s Button Box by Emily Rodda. Emily is a brilliant author and I love her stories which often contain a bit of magic.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!

I have the old garage door from my childhood home in my little studio. I also have a piece of linoleum from my childhood home in a frame.

Thank you Kaye for answering all of our curious questions! 
You can find Kaye on Instagram @bailliekaye Twitter @kayebaillie 
and on her website:

Great Big Softie

Elliot is a GREAT BIG SOFTIE. But to fit in with the other monsters he decides to perform some MONSTROUS deeds. After scaring a little girl on her bike, he must decide whether to continue being MONSTROUS or follow his heart.

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Tags: interview, kids books, picture book, children's book

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