Monday, December 10, 2012
Looking Out the Window: Love Inspired Suspense Author Jodi Bailey Talks about Her New Book, Freefall, Her Writing Life and How She Came to Write a Military Romantic Suspese. She'll Give Away a Copy
To win a copy of Freefall leave a comment and an email address below.
Welcome, Jodi. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, let me see. I’m a native North Carolinian and SO proud of that! Until I married my Army husband and we moved and moved and moved, I never realized how important home really is. I returned to teaching last year after an eight-year break. I love to cook and to read (and, oddly enough, to read cookbooks). My favorite place in the whole world is Frisco, NC, and if we ever somehow magically get rich, I’m so moving there and planting myself on an ocean-front deck. I laugh too loud and I probably don’t cry enough, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’m going to talk way too much.
Lots of writers also love to read. How about you? Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
The joke in my family is that I read everything. When I was about six, my grandmother found me reading the dictionary because there was nothing else readily available. I can remember, under my grandmother’s living room cabinet, she kept Reader’s Digests from as far back as the sixties. I think I read every single one of them. That’s the reason I think there is so much useless trivia in my head today.
I bet that trivia comes in handy when you’re writing. Would you tell us why you write?
Because I don’t know how not to. As long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil, I’ve written stories. I used to get my friends on the phone and just pull stories off the top of my head. No planning. No idea where I was going. Just story after story. I could never figure out why they couldn’t reciprocate. It was only a couple of years ago that it hit me we’re all wired differently, and not everyone can turn a thirty-second TV commercial into a two-hour drama in their heads.
Tell us about your latest book.
Freefall is a military romantic suspense set at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Division Parachute Officer for the 82nd Airborne has been framed to look like she’s running a smuggling operation. In order to save herself, she’s going to have to team up with her ex-husband, whom she’d rather forget ever existed. Or… would she?
That sounds like a good mystery and love story. What inspired you to write this particular book?
My agent said to me one day, “Have you ever thought about writing a military suspense?” I told her no way. But then this scene popped in my head. Then another. And another. And then my husband got involved and started giving me ideas. Before I knew it, I was halfway done and obligated to finish because, once I bring a character to life, I have to see them through to the end. If I don’t, it’s like I killed them. Yes. I feel that kind of guilt.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Usually, it’s one scene that suddenly leaps up. I’ll be sitting around and pop! There’s this quick flash of something. It gets bigger. I start to wonder what happened before and after. The next thing you know, it’s growing. For Freefall, it was this flash of a woman coming home, opening the closet door, and finding a man in there. Only he wasn’t there to hurt her. It gathered steam from there.
What themes do you write about?
I have noticed grace is huge for me. I have four completed books and two in progress, and every single one of them deals with forgiveness and accepting grace. They are all different versions of that theme, but it seems I can’t get away from it.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
Can you hear me laughing? Before I went back to teaching, I sat down at the computer when my daughter went to school and I didn’t get up until she came home. Boy, do I miss those days! Now, I snatch moments when I can. We recently cut a deal. We come home from school and she works on homework while I lock myself in my office and write for an hour or so until her daddy comes home.
Do you put yourself in your books?
Every female character has something of me—or the me I want to be—in her. They’re sarcastic. They’re dealing with “my” stuff. They’re tougher on the outside than they are on the inside. They’re in massive need of grace. They have a tough thing in their past. But are they autobiographical? No. I say they’re “spiritually autobiographical.”
If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be? What shocking thing might that character say? Why?
In my very first book, my beta readers and I ALL fell in love with the MC’s best friend/cousin Ryan. He ran away with his scenes. I had not planned to write a book two, but he and another character practically begged me. It’s my favorite book I’ve written so far because he is so unafraid to be himself, so honest and downright cute. I wish he could be in every book, because writing him is such fun. There is no telling what he’d say, because he has this way of calling it like he sees it. He’d probably start interviewing me.
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
Well… I went to ACFW conference in 2010, and I thought I really had it together. I already knew a few better-known authors, so I figured I’d be able to handle myself without turning into crazy fan-girl. And then I walked around a corner and ran almost smack into the author who turned me on to Christian fiction in the first place. I was totally not expecting her to be there, and I grabbed her by the arm and just totally went out-of-my-head, call-the-cops, crazy-fan-girl on her. My head was saying, “Shut up!” and my mouth was just out of control. Poor thing practically ran away from me. I really wanted to chase her down and yell, “I’m not crazy!” but that wouldn’t have helped, I’m sure.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Thank you for having me! This has been so much fun.
It’s my pleasure, Jodi.
Jodie Bailey has been weaving stories since she learned how to hold a pencil. When she grew tall enough to reach the desktop, her grandmother plugged in the family’s old yellow typewriter and let her spend hours writing such literary gems as “Ann Goes to the Fair.” Later, Jodie developed a sense of plot by making up stories for her friends… and wondering why it was they couldn’t seem to come up with any good plots in return. It was only recently she learned that everyone doesn’t make up whole other lives for fun in their spare time.
She is an Army wife, a mom, and a teacher who believes Mountain Dew, dark chocolate and a trip to the Outer Banks will cure all ills. In her spare time, she reads cookbooks, rides motorcycles, and searches for the perfect cup of coffee. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband and her daughter.
Visit Jodi at: http://jodiebailey.com/