Call it dumb luck or beginners luck, but when my first try at writing resulted in a fifty-dollar check for a twenty-five word true story I sent to a romance publication–about our talented dog Puff, it gave me reason to pause. Then when another $50 dollars arrived that same year for a small filler I wrote for a celebrity tab–about our adventurous bird Petey, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but not necessarily in the pet department.
I began by writing for our two youngest children. My captive audience enjoyed my silly fairytales of beautiful blond princesses in high castles, and the farfetched science fiction yarns I labored over; unfortunately a multitude of children’s book editors did not, but it was not my nature to give up. I continued to hone my intended avocation day and night, hacking out story after story for the kids, who delighted in illustrating my works. When our youngest daughter shared the books with her second grade class, her teacher encouraged me to send more. I was so happy and envisioned myself a prolific author of children’s literature. Right.
I was never lucky enough to sell any of my fairytales, but the kids and I had a great time bonding, and all my practice eventually paid-off when I was able to sell a few short fictional pieces to a local magazine owned by a printing company–for a whopping $5.00 per story. I was elated and kept going and later sold human interest features and wrote advertising for several Tampa Bay publications, and for considerably more pay.
I got my first real writer’s position writing features for a small hometown newspaper. This was ideal for a mother of four. I did my interviews and photo shoots when the kids were in school, and typed out the finished product as they slept. I made about $40 a week for two articles and $5 for each photo the newspaper printed. It was a labor of love, but I was getting priceless experience which later resulted in a better correspondent’s job at another neighborhood newspaper.
Three years later, a story I wrote for that newspaper concerning a contemporary doll artist in our area completely shifted my focus from hometown news to contemporary artist doll news, all because I was truly inspired by this particular artists’ story. Soon, I was submitting articles on my own (about the art of so many of Florida’s extraordinary doll artists) to an array of the contemporary doll collector magazines on the market. In the process I became an avid doll and collectible toy enthusiast. In time, I quit writing for the newspaper to devote the whole of my writing expertise to the doll world. Twelve years later I continue to write about dolls and toys which incidentally pays several hundred dollars more for each article then what I made as a correspondent on the newspapers team.
Happily, I found my niche (and it wasn’t writing about dogs or birds, but dolls). Today I have written over a hundred articles encompassing the far-reaching, multi-faceted doll and toy industry and I seldom have to leave my home office to do it.
Linda White-Francis’ most recent article can be read in the November, 2004 issue of Dolls Magazine, titled Homespun Historical Treasures, concerning doll artist Christine LeFever of Ohio and her papier-mache dolls. Linda has been a contributor to other doll and toy publications such as: Contemporary Doll Collector, Doll Reader, Barbie Bazaar, Toy Shop, Warman’s Today’s Collector, Doll World, Doll Castle News, Collector’s Mart and two online doll e-zines: virtualdolls.com and idolls.com. In May, 2001 Linda was the subject of a Tampa Tribune feature story titled Journalist pens news about dolls, toys, by Megan Hussey. She has also interviewed such notables as: diet guru Richard Simmons, actress Morgan Brittany of the Dallas TV series, and artist/author Holly Hobbie. All of these celebrities are or were at one time connected to the doll and toy world.