Saturday, December 21, 2013
Interview With Jodie Bailey, Author of Crossfire
Today we have the honor of hosting Jodie Bailey, author of Crossfire and Freefall by Love Inspired. Jodie is Tarheel born and bred. After fifteen years as a military spouse, she's proud to be a retired military spouse settled back in North Carolina with her husband and daughter. She is the author of the military suspense novel Freefall and is a contributor to Edie Melson's devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home. She was a 2010 finalist in the Spacecoast Authors of Romance Launching a Star competition for her unpublished romance Going in Circles. Her latest novel, Crossfire, releases on January 1, 2014. While not writing, she teaches middle schoolers to love writing as much as she does (if she's lucky that day and they're actually listening...). Jodie loves to bake, ride the Harley with her husband, and fish the Outer Banks with their daughter. You can find her on the web at www.jodiebailey.com.
I first met Jodie Bailey at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’sConference. We were taking an afternoon continuing class together. I sat right next to her . . . and her plethora of pens. Did I mention she loves pens? Well, any office supply :-) Most people get paper and pencil or a computer set up in front of them. With Jodie, it is a supply of pens. Funny how first impressions stick. We became fast friends, but I’ll always remember that cute quirk! Jodie, congratulations on your newest release, Crossfire. Thank you for stopping by to visit with us today! What was your inspiration behind writing Crossfire?
HA! The pens! I did have a lot of them, didn’t I? Still do. I just am careful not to carry so many with me nowadays :-) Crossfire really didn’t have an inspiration. The fun part of military suspense is brainstorming with my husband. He comes up with ideas that work their way into the books. The “God thing” about Crossfire is really weird, though. In the first draft, one character had a twin brother who died of an overdose and, of course, Andrea had become a counselor after her brother died of an overdose fueled by PTSD. The day after I learned my first book, Freefall, had sold, one of my former students suffering from PTSD died of a drug overdose. He was survived by his parents, twin brother, and sister who also became a rehab counselor. We were kind of rocked by the “coincidences.” Some things changed in the final draft, but as I worked on revisions, Aaron was never far from my mind.
Sad, yet neat God-incident for crafting Crossfire. Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
It sounds cliché, but God. I write because God says write. And because I love to create. Ideas come from crazy places. My brain works in a weird way when it comes to suspense. There was a scene in Freefall where Cassy finds her ex in her closet. I was opening the door to pull out a coat and thought, “What if a woman found someone in her closet, only he was the good guy and not the bad guy?” There’s a scene in Crossfire inspired by me sitting in my car waiting on my husband one day and thinking, “What if someone was watching me and I didn’t know it?” My characters sort of grow as I write the first draft. It used to be different, the characters showed up and then the story grew, but now it’s reversed. I learn about them as I put them in situations and see how they respond..
What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities (full-time wife and mother as well as middle school English teacher)?
Time. Seems there’s never enough. I write during my planning period at school, when I’m alone, but that means I do a lot of schoolwork at home while my husband watches TV beside me. My house is quite often messier than I wish it was. :-)
Sounds like you time manage well! Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Funny enough, the conference where we met. I was so ignorant of the publishing world, and I had just started learning how conferences and agents and editors worked. I had subbed to a few agents, but then I found Chip MacGregor’s blog and knew I wanted to work with him. I am the kind of person who wants to be told straight up what’s going on. If it’s bad, I want to hear it, and he struck me as that type of agent. When I found out he’d be at Blue Ridge, I decided to go. And on the way there, God told me absolutely, positively NOT to pitch my book. At all. Period. Go. Learn. Meet. See. Do not pitch. I was floored, but I did what He said. I had a blast. No stress. I met lots of people. And I got to sit down with Chip and have him help me put a proposal together. I also accidentally threw a pen at his head during our meeting. Sometimes, I think that’s why he read my proposal when I sent it to him a few months later, because I was the chick who tried to spear him with a pen. Anyway, I learned that God is guiding this journey and, even when it seems weird and makes no sense, obedience is what He wants. I signed on with Sandra Bishop at MacGregor Literary later that year, and I love working with her. She knows exactly what I need and sees things in me that I don’t see. It’s because of her that Freefall and Crossfire were even written.
What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
Everybody who knows me says, “You write like you talk.” It is me on the page. And I always try to make a very strong heroine. I like to write about the girls who are tough and realizing they might not be as tough as they thought. I like to explore our weaknesses and the way God uses them to heal us.
You do write like you talk, a very engaging voice to read! Time for a fun question . . . You are headed to a deserted Island and can bring only two things with you, what do you bring?
I’ll skip the obvious one about my Bible and say my MacBook with a never ending power supply. I can entertain myself forever if I can make up stories. And food. Is there a way to stock a freezer with beef on a deserted island?
No, you can't stock a freezer ~ there is no electricity! Maybe you'd learn how to fish? I can't believe you didn't mention bringing chocolate . . . Please tell us about future releases.
Of course, Crossfire comes out on January 1. On October 1, there’s something a little different coming. Abingdon Press’s is publishing Quilted by Christmas for their Quilts of Love line. No murders, drug dealers, or kidnappings in that one. :-) It’s the story of Taryn McKenna, who carries a secret that she must confront face to face when Justin Callahan comes back to town… and Taryn finds he’s the only one who can help her finish her cousin’s heirloom wedding quilt before the New Year’s wedding.
That story sounds awesome! Jodie, thank you for your time today, it was fun! And congratulations again on your newest novel, Crossfire.