If I put my gerbil in my doll house… and other things!
Bailey Thompson looks at life through a different set of lenses.
Which is terrific for the rest of us.
She’s about to publish her first book, Yellow Socks and Blood Spots, about a pregnant, unpartnered teenage girl who has a big decision to make. It will be published under a pseudonym (Jade Cumberland) because her real passion is kids’ books. Today being what it is, Bailey knows as her kids books get out there, googling her name may bring up Yellow Socks… and that’s not a kids book.
She went through i-universe, an online self-publishing company. “I wrote the first chapter of Yellow Socks and was hooked to write this book. It took me a year. “It will be published May 15 in hard cover, soft cover, ebook and online,” she says. “I worked with i-universe and they did an editorial evaluation of my plot, and sent me amazing tips,” she says. They will print the book as required, too.
But it’s the gerbils that really have her attention right now. Owner of two gerbils, Bailey has always played with the wee animals and then one day went to the basement and retrieved the victorian dollhouse she’d had as a child. “I remembered when I was little that I really wanted to be able to get into my dollhouse and play in it,” she says. “And then I thought the gerbils could do that. She whipped out her camera, shot them on green screen, imposed them into the dollhouse and now she’s got six books, all that teach important life lessons, and all starring Mocha and Petri (father and son gerbils) who get into adventures.
The gerbil books, The Discovery, Trapped, and Melvin and the Metamorphasis Hat (which explores hats all through history) are all geared to the 3 to 8 age group. Bailey has written illustrators royalty contracts with three graphic designers who’ve helped with each book.
She has three additional books in development.
And then, and then… she came upon a small publisher in British Columbia who looked at her work and the quantity she’s producing and suggested she start her own publishing company so she can publish her books and others from young authors. So Gerbil Meets Mouse Publishing was born.
Bailey right now is taking a gap year, that year between high school and college where she ‘coasts’ a bit while she thinks about what she wants to do with her life. No ‘coasting’ for this young woman though. As she looks back at her years at Innisdale Secondary School, she’s grateful for her teacher, Lisa Swain, who took her seriously. “She connected me with the author Lawrence Hill (The Book of Negros) and he was incredibly helpful. He gave me a ton of advice and asked me to stay in touch.”
Being entrepreneurial is second nature to Bailey. She ran a green products business in high school called Green Like a Frog. But she found her best sales were online where people didn’t know how young she was. It was hard to get fellow students to take her seriously.
With confidence comes direction, and Bailey has a solid direction these days. She’s grateful for her part time job at the remarkable health facility, Bodystream, and credits the owners’ support with giving her tremendous initiative.
Amazing stuff, from this 18 year old. And to think it all started with a gerbil!