Q&A; A Lily Bailey Book

Posted on: September 15th, 2022

In this week’s blog, Orchard interviewed Lily Bailey, author of When I see Blue, an authentic and affecting story about living life with OCD. Lily Bailey is a mental health advocate who hosts #OCDTalkHour every Wednesday on her Twitter page @LilyBaileyUK

  1. Hi Lily, tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m an author based in South East London, where I live with my husband Josh and dog Rocky. My first writing job was as a local news journalist in Surrey before transitioning into writing books. I’m a massive animal lover, and in my spare time, I enjoy swimming, reading, and watching Doctor Who.

  1. In your own words – what is When I see Blue about?

When I See Blue is about a 12-year-old boy called Ben, who’s moving to a new school. Ben hasn’t always found it easy to fit in, but he’s determined things will be different this time. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when you feel like your brain is the nosiest place on earth! Ben has OCD, but he doesn’t have a name for his experience yet. He just knows he has to follow a lot of rules to stop bad things from happening, and that he’d really love it if his head would be quiet for just a second… 

  1. What inspired you to write When I see Blue?

I had previously written a book for adults about my own experiences of living with OCD. People would often tell me that they would love me to write something that children and young people with OCD could read, and I kept thinking about how much I would have liked to have seen a character like me in children’s literature when I was younger. I guess you could say that When I See Blue is the book I wanted and needed as a child. 

  1. Can all ages read this book?

Yes! The book is aimed towards 9-12-year-olds, but I’ve been hearing from teens and adults who have also been enjoying it. I read quite a lot of middle-grade books for research purposes when I was writing it, and I realized how much I loved and missed reading fiction for younger readers. If you’re stuck in a reading rut, I would highly recommend giving it a go – not just When I See Blue, but the genre as a whole! 

  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge for children with OCD?

Although GPs and mental health professionals are becoming better at recognizing the symptoms of OCD, there are still children and young people who go for years without getting a diagnosis and support. It’s hard enough living with OCD, but one of the scariest parts is not having a name for what you’re going through, or why you can’t stop doing the things you do. Even for children who do get a diagnosis, waiting lists for referrals can often be incredibly long and involve challenging eligibility criteria, and the help received can often be time-limited. I really wish we had more consistent funding and services here in the UK. If you are a child or young person with OCD, I see you and I am cheering for you from a far. 

  1. Do you have any other upcoming books/projects coming up?

Hachette Children’s Group signed a two-book deal with me, which means I have the privilege of getting to write another book for kids, which I’m working on at the moment… So watch this space!

Thank you, Lily! If you want to read When I see Blue you can buy it here.

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