It’s kind of winding, but here it goes… My agent Sandra and I were talking about the Titanic. I mentioned that my grandmother had relatives on board and that it was something that had always fascinated me, something about which I have stacks and stacks of research. She suggested I try writing a novel for the 100th anniversary. I decided to do a split contemporary/historical, and had the first draft of the contemporary part down in about a month. When it came to the historical… two months of typing and writing and researching and sweating… and I had two pages to show for it. I shelved the entire thing. Two years later, Sandra suggested I pitch the contemporary half of the story to Abingdon for their Quilts of Love series. Only Taryn, Jemma, and the most basic shell of that story remains in Quilted by Christmas, but QBC wouldn’t exist without that beginning.
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Jemma. In 2009, I lost my grandmother, who was really more a mother figure in my life. When I sat down to write the story that would become QBC, she had only been gone a year. Jemma began to morph into my grandmothers, both the one I’d lost and the one who is still living. It was very, very hard at times, because Jemma would take off and do or say something just like my grandmother, and I’d have to sit back and breathe through it. By the end, though, it was healing and, to me at least, beautiful.
What started you on your writing journey?
I’m not sure it ever started, just that it always was. I’ve written stories my whole life, took on a second major in writing in college just because I loved it. It was my junior creative writing teacher and my senior English teacher who most encouraged me, but I didn’t take it seriously until my husband was deployed to Iraq in 2006. I was sitting in a Beth Moore Bible study thinking how awesome it was that she got to write about Jesus and talk about Jesus FOR A LIVING. I tell people God hit me with a Bible and said, “Duh.” From there, I focused on one story and learning the process.
Facebook. ‘Nuff said.
What is your favorite season of the year?
Fall! Sweatshirts, blue jeans, the memories of Friday night football games when I was in high school, that first hint of fireplace smoke in the air… And the beach is never better than in the fall!
What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I grew up in the country and spent the largest chunk of my childhood at my grandmother’s house. I think my favorite parts are the sounds of cicadas at night, the way the light comes through the windows, the smell of all of the flowers in the spring… and the dogwoods! Dozens! We live in the house now, and the very best part is the memories.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
Reconciliation is a huge them in my stories. Reconciliation with others, with God… It’s about that restoration of relationship. That’s what Jesus did for us when you really look at it.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Along with Susan Sleeman and Debby Giuisti, I have a novella in Love Inspired Suspense’s Holiday Defenders also releasing this month. There are also two more coming, but I don’t have dates yet.
Thanks for sharing with us today!
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Jodie Bailey is giving away a copy of Quilted By Love. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.