Celebrating her birthday on April 29th, award-winning British author and educator Jill Paton Walsh started writing at the ripe old age of 26 and hasn't stopped since. "The people I write about are real to me," she says. "I seem able to hear them talking in my head. I don't make up what they say, I just listen and write it down." It can take as long as three years to write a book like Emperor's Winding Street (1974). "I had to learn Greek to read background." Walsh reports. Others such as Babylon (1982) come from her inner musing to the page in a very short amount of time. She keeps a notebook with her at all times, scribbling things down as they come to her. "If I ever need an idea I can go lucky-dipping in my notebook."