Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NASCAR, military and murder? Interview with Jodie Bailey

With one accusation, Army officer Cassidy Matthews's name, reputation--and life--are on the line. A Special Forces soldier insists that Cassy's Fort Bragg-based unit is smuggling drugs. And the accuser? It's Cassy's handsome, stubborn ex-husband, Major Shane Logan. 
Shane knows Cassy is innocent, which is why he's sure she's being set up to take the fall. Proving it, though, means working together...and trying to ignore the feelings they still share.
The closer they get—to the truth and to each other—the more the danger grows from a ruthless criminal who'll stop at nothing to destroy them both.
Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After fifteen years as a military spouse, she's proud to be a retired military spouse settled in North Carolina with her husband and daughter.
She is the author of the military suspense novels Freefall and Crossfire (coming January 2014), from Love Inspired Suspense, and is a contributor to Edie Melson's devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home.
While not working on her next novel, 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 or on Facebook or Twitter.
Ten Questions with Author Jodie Bailey
What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?
Freefall is my first book. What makes it different? I wanted a heroine who matched the hero’s abilities in every way…but still needed him. The question in my mind was, “What happens when you’ve always been tough, always handled things yourself, and you’re suddenly in a situation where you need help?”
As an Army wife, I also knew I wanted my protagonists to be soldiers and to touch on how constant separation affects relationships, and how God at the center can make those times apart a good thing.
What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?
My agent asked me if I’d ever considered writing suspense and I said no. A couple of days later, I had this picture of a woman coming home, opening her closet door, and finding a man there. The problem?  He was there to help not harm, but the last thing she wanted was his help. The image wouldn’t leave me alone, so I wrote that scene. Then another. And another. Oh, to get visions that clear all of the time!
Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?
I can’t change the fact I have hazel eyes. I can’t change the fact I have brown hair. I can’t change the fact that God made me a writer. Honestly, I don’t know what else I would do.
Even when I wasn’t writing “for real,” I was constantly writing. It’s impossible to stop!  I wander around like I’ve lost something when I’m not writing, and nothing else gets down, because I feel like there’s something else I should be doing. :)
How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research? What’s been your most memorable research experience?
I once read a popular CBA author’s description of my favorite place on earth, and she got one major, major detail wrong that let me know she’d never been there and had probably never even bothered to look at a picture either. I never read another one of her books. That’s something I don’t ever want to do, insult a place someone loves by getting it wrong.
I try to set books in places I’ve been. If not, I visit. Freefall is set on the military base near where I grew up. Crossfire, which is coming out in January, is on a military base where we once lived. I have two unpublished books that take place in NASCAR, so we took a long weekend and went to Mooresville, NC to visit the race shops. I want the details to be right. 
Probably my most memorable experience was researching the unpublished NASCAR book. I emailed a few race shops to ask questions, and the only one to answer was one of the biggest dogs out there. I nearly fell over. 
I exchanged a few emails with their Director of Communications and then, one day, he said, “Hey, come down to Atlanta and I’ll let you shadow one of our PR people for the day.” I wound up all over the “behind the scenes” of NASCAR, absolutely floored by God’s provision in getting me places I would never have dared ask permission to go. That was definitely memorable!
For Freefall specifically, I went to the rigger shed and met the man who does Cassy’s job. It was a day off for him, but he invited me and took me to see everything I needed to see, walked me through his schedule and his duties, and let me talk to a few of the riggers.
But the craziest part? I had a handful of guys sitting in that office helping me figure out how to realistically portray the crime in the novel. Obviously, we didn’t go into national security details, but it was enough to make it “real.” And it was awesome.
Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
Honestly, “it takes a village.”  There would be too many to list here.  It would be a seven-part blog post.
What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?
Everything. I was so ignorant when I started. I thought, “If you write it, they will come.” Write a book, publish it… Uhm, no. I had no idea about agents and submission processes and marketing! I finished my first book, edited it with a Beta reader, went online and went, “Oh boy.”
But I think it was necessary for me to do it that way. If I’d known all of the rules ahead of time, it would have paralyzed me, and I’d have never finished that first novel. It’s never been published and may never be, but my agent saw something in it that she liked.
My biggest lesson? Trust God. He’ll take you places you never dreamed.
If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?
Writing-for-fun Self: You have always loved writing. It’s been an outlet and a joy, because you did it for fun. You’ll always love it, but when it becomes your job, you will realize that some days, writing is a sheer act of sweat-inducing willpower.   
At some point, you will hate, loathe, and despise your book. Push past that, because that’s when amazing things happen. That’s when the sacrifice of self happens and God takes over. 
There will be days when it will be just you and Him, and the only reason words will get on the page is because He says they have to. What you will hear from readers is that the words written on those days are the ones that resonate most. Trust God. Even when it feels like the words aren’t there.
Now to have some fun with travel…
What’s your favorite place you have visited?
I love, love, love the southern end of Hatteras Island, NC. I may not live there, but something about it screams home to me. I know God is everywhere, but I almost feel like the veil is a little bit thinner on a certain strip of beach where Jesus and I walk together. 
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?
Y’all, I’d be right back on Hatteras. Hands down. Every time. Tell me I can go anywhere, and I’ll plant myself right in that sand. Though if you forced me to choose somewhere else, I’d like to see Scotland and Ireland. My family’s roots run deep there. 
And now a fun tidbit—if there was one special travel destination just for writers and you were the founder of it, what would the name be and would it be located?
My uncle used to have this great house down at (guess where!) the southern end of Hatteras. It was on the narrow part of the island, so you could see surf and sound. The sunsets? My word, the sunsets. Windows everywhere. Porches galore. No spot without a view.
There was a great, conversational den with a fireplace that just invited talks. And every time we went down there, I’d look at the dining room, windows on three sides, sunlight abounding, with a humongous square table that felt like it would seat twenty. I’d always think, “Man. What an awesome place to plant a group of writers and just write and talk and brainstorm together.”
I’d buy that house back, build an identical one next to it, name it “Inspiration,” and never, ever leave. Come one, come all! My aunt is a gourmet cook who never met a recipe she didn’t try. I’d hire her. The men in my family would take you fishing if you needed to get out of the house. My other aunt would lead you on kayaking expeditions if you needed some exercise. There is no way you could walk through those doors without feeling the itch from your spirit straight down to your fingers.
I had a BLAST! Thanks, Morgan!

1 comment:

  1. Morgan, thanks so much! I really enjoyed the interview. The questions were fun! (I do need to correct myself though, because the author I mentioned above who made the glaring geographic error was ABA and not CBA. My fault!) Thanks, girl!