3 Questions with Jeanne Bender
Who is Lindie Lou and how did her story come to fruition?
Lindie Lou is the main character of the Lindie Lou Adventure Series books. She is a traveling puppy who visits unique places around the world. While on her incredible journeys, Lindie Lou learns life lessons along the way.
Lindie Lou is my “real life” cocker spaniel. Her real name is La Petite Lindie Lou. We experience unique travel adventures while we see the world together. At one point I decided to share our adventures with others. I chose to write a children’s book series with Lindie Lou as the main character because in real life she is inquisitive, curious, embraces new things, loves people, is gentle, brave, and persistent.
When Lindie Lou was a puppy, she traveled by airplane from St. Louis to her forever home in Seattle. I was at the airport waiting for her. We lived on a lake and took long walks in our neighborhood. While on our walks, I gave Lindie Lou the nickname “Lala” and I hummed to her. Eventually, this turned into a song I wrote called the “Lindie Lou Song.” Later on, I began writing the Lindie Lou Adventure Series children’s books. Children can experience something new in each of Lindie Lou’s adventures.
While writing Flying High, the first book in the series, a group of elementary school teachers were asked what kind of book they preferred for their students. The overwhelming response was a beginning chapter book that could also be used as a read-a-loud. While developing the format of the books, my editor and I decided to use color illustrations and creative fonts to appeal to a larger audience. The books are now being used with English Language Learner (ELL) Students, Striving Readers, and young Gifted Readers.
What inspired you to become a children’s writer?
I have always been a daydreamer. When I daydream, I shut out everyone and everything around me. If someone tries to talk to me, I don’t even hear them. This has been true my whole life. One day I decided to put some of my daydreams on paper. They came out in the form of short stories and poems when I was in the second grade.
After several months of writing, I gathered up enough nerve to ask my teacher what she thought of my writings. To my surprise, she liked them. She was even impressed. She helped me with my spelling, which to this day is atrocious. I kept writing and she kept helping me. The titles of my stories were quite grown up for a second grader. In many of my early works I questioned subjects including life, war, peace, love, and friendship. Most of my writings ended with answers to these subjects. Thus, I was learning my own life lessons through my writing.
Later, as I developed into an author, I was traveling quite a bit. A friend of mine, who was much older and wasn’t traveling anymore, asked me to send her letters about my experiences. She asked me to tell her what I saw, heard, what things looked like, and encouraged me to use all my senses to describe my journeys. She loved the stories and encouraged me to send more. Eventually, I was emailing them to friends and family as well. I was then encouraged to write travel books.
Because of my love for children and my adorable puppy Lindie Lou, I decided to write children’s books. I am also contacted by older readers, parents, and grandparents who tell me how much they love my stories and the life lessons they teach.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
My favorite part of the writing process is “the adventure”. I enjoy allowing my imagination take over while my hands fly over the keyboard. I follow the characters who, because of circumstances in the story, develop on their own. An adventure in the book can lead a character to act, think, or do something completely different than I imagined early on. I often find myself sitting back and laughing at how a character suddenly has taken on a life of its own.
I follow an outline, but the personalities of my characters evolve during the process. The more interesting, clever, wacky, adorable, sassy, mysterious, or cute my characters become, the more I like to write about them.
Every place I write about I’ve traveled to. This is very important to me. I am not just researching on the Internet. I’ve been to St. Louis (book 1, Flying High); Seattle (book 2, Up in Space); Des Moines (book 3, Harvest Time); New York City (book 4, Big City Magic… coming out 2019); Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland (book 5, On Ice… coming out in 2020).
Because my books are written as realistic fiction, many of my characters are based on real people. One of the characters in book three, Harvest Time, is named Ronda. She transforms from a wacky farmer into a wise woman who teaches readers how farm families feed the world. My real-life friend Ronda invited me to her farm during harvest time. Her passion for farming opened my eyes and inspired the message of this book.
Young readers learn through Lindie Lou’s adventures, which are written at a second-grade reading level, and are based on true stories.
I love to write and am happiest when I’m writing.
To me, writing books is a euphoric journey from beginning to the end.
About Jeanne Bender
Jeanne Bender was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the second oldest of eight children. Bender grew up loving adventures. As an adult, during her successful career in real estate, Bender reserved time to travel. After rekindling her love of writing, Bender started studying literary content with a renowned professor in Seattle, Washington and then continued her education at Oxford University in the UK. Now that she’s retired, Bender writes about her journeys in the Lindie Lou Adventure Series for children. She has presented her journey to thousands of children across the United States and Mexico. Bender lives in Seattle in the summer and San Diego in the winter.