tour button here
This virtual book tour is presented by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.
Welcome to The Wormhole and my stop on the tour.
It is my pleasure to feature Frankie Y. Bailey and The Red Queen Dies.
Frankie has joined us for an interview:
? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think that must have been about the time – when I was about 15 or so – when I saw an ad for the Famous Writers School (a correspondence school). I filled out the form and mailed it. And to my parents’ surprise – and, I suspect, dismay – a sales rep from the school turned up at our door. I don’t remember how the conversation went, but somehow he convinced them to enroll me in their correspondence course. I still have the folder with handwritten feedback from the instructors about the short stories that I submitted. I also still have the textbooks we used.
But I don’t think I ever thought of writing as a career. I intended to become a veterinarian. In fact, I was pre-vet when I started my freshman year at VA Tech. Later, I switched to a double major in Psychology and English. I should say that my career aptitude test did indicate I shared characteristics with military officers and writers. I spent three years in the Army before starting grad school in criminal justice. Eventually, I returned to my roots and began to write, hoping I would be published.
? How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
If one doesn’t count summer jobs and a job after college in a department store, then only one job as an Army food inspector (I wrote my first two books during that time) and then my present job as a university professor (when I began to write to be published).
? How long does it take you to write a book?
It took me five years to write the first mystery (but the second to be published). Nine months to write the book that became the first published book in my Lizzie Stuart series. Varied amounts of time to write the other three in the series. Now, with my Hannah McCabe series, I will be on a book a year cycle. However, I should note that I also write “scholarly” non-fiction. My mystery writing cycle overlaps with that. So it’s difficult for me to give you a straight-forward answer. It depends on the book and the deadline. I work on fiction and non-fiction at the same time.
? What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I think probably needing to have a title before I can write and “warming up” by writing the first fifty pages (if it’s a novel) over and over again until it feels right.
? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
From my work as a criminal justice professor. My areas of research are crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture. So I’m constantly exposed to material that can provide ideas and inspiration. But I sometimes also get an idea from overhearing a conversation or seeing something interesting.
? How do you decide what you want to write about?
I decide based on whether the idea excites me enough so that I think I will want to keep on writing even when I hit the inevitable rough spots in the process.
? What books have most influenced your life?
That’s hard to say. I’ve read all my life. I love Shakespeare and the classics (as an English major). I read lots of nonfiction. There is no one book that changed my life – unless it was Dr. Joyce Brother’s How to Get Whatever You Want Out of Life. That book provided me with a way of thinking about my interests and how to combine them in a way that would make me happy and also allow me to earn a living.
? What are you reading right now?
Several different books – mainly nonfiction as research for the second book in the new series. Books about funeral directors, death and dying, superstitions. I’m also re-reading the novels that my undergrad students are reading for our class. I just finished Shane. Next up The Great Gatsby.
? What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Reading, browsing interior design books as I think renovations on my old house, travel – the usual stuff.
? What is your favorite comfort food?
I love food. It’s hard to pick a favorite – right now I’m thinking of cinnamon rolls. But I love fried oysters. I also love fruits and veggies.
? What do you think makes a good story?
Great characters and an interesting setting.
? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
I’m not going to answer that because I have too many friends who are authors. But the author who was influential in my decision to become a mystery writer was the late Richard Martin Stern. I loved the characters in his Johnny Ortiz series, particularly Cassandra Enright, a biracial anthropologist. I wrote to tell him so, and he responding with a lovely note.
Fun random questions:
· dogs or cats? Dogs – although I thinking of getting a Maine coon cat
· Coffee or tea? Tea
· Dark or milk chocolate? Dark
· Rocks or flowers? Flowers
· Night or day? Night
· Favorite color? Blue
· Crayons or markers? Markers
Pens or pencils? Pens
FRANKIE Y. BAILEY is an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). Bailey is the author of mysteries as well as non-fiction titles that explore the intersections of crime, history, and popular culture. Bailey is a Macavity Award-winner and has been nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards. A past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime, she is on the Albany Bouchercon 2013 planning committee.