Interviews, Reviews, and More
Q: When did you start writing?
A: I started working on my first novel in the summer of 2009, but I’ve been writing professionally for nearly twenty years.
Q: What did you do before becoming a novelist?
A: I worked as an editor for nearly ten years. I started as a marketing assistant and transitioned to copywriter and then to an editor. Additionally, I worked for a few years in newspaper and in advertising. Current title/position: Associate Professor of English and Director of Composition. I’ve been teaching college writing courses since Fall 2007.
Q: Where did you study?
A: I studied writing for young adults at Murray State University, earning the MFA in fiction. I then continued my graduate studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I explored the cross-fertilization of creative writing and composition. Part of my dissertation is written as a young adult novel, showing how evidence can be revealed in writers’ self reports.
Q: Tell me a little about how you got into YA novels, and why that is the genre you choose to write in.
A: Writing a novel was something I always wanted to do. But it wasn’t until I began working on my MFA in fiction that I really started writing fiction. It was a community of writers that gave me the courage to put my work out there. What began as an idea for a YA novel transformed into a reality because of that community’s support and encouragement. And as far as choosing YA—maybe it comes from working with young adults on a daily basis. Even though I teach students within that age group, I learn so much from them every single day.
Q: Are the experiences in your books based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A: Some of the events in Girl in the Middle are loosely based on my own experiences in high school; however, they are more of a blending and morphing of actual events. None of the characters are based on actual people, but rather on a blending of many personality types.
Q: What books have most influenced your life most?
A: Catcher in the Rye , Night, and anything by Judy Blume
Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A: Judy Blume and John Hughes. Hughes was a screenwriter and producer, but it was his collection of films in the 80s and 90s that have influenced my writing the most. I wanted to recreate the innocent, angsty teen stories that spoke to me when I was a teen: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful. These screenplays are timeless expressions of art as well as quirky, real coming of age stories.
Q: Is it difficult balancing work with writing?
A: Yes! I try my best to balance my professional life and home life. It takes a lot of sacrifice on my part as well as my family’s. Many times I work into the early hours of the morning as the kids sleep just to finish a chapter.
Q: What advice do you have for someone working on writing a book?
A: Don’t write to publish or to become famous. Write because you have a story to tell.
About The Broken One:
Q: When did you start working on The Broken One? Where did the inspiration for the book come from?
A: I started working on the novel in the spring of 2014 after hearing of a local tragedy. Like my first novel, Girl in the Middle, I was inspired by an event that left me asking why and how—how does someone come to terms with an untimely death? We all process life events in different ways—I write. It took me about a year to write the novel and another to finish the editing process.
Girl in the Middle Book Review from Ashley Jellison
July 21, 2014
My Thoughts: I fell in love with this book. I actually knew that I had to read it for a blog tour and so, taking a break from my writing, I thought I'd start. After not moving for way too long, I finished the book. One sitting. That's how great it is. I can honestly say I wasn't expecting anything that happened. It kept me on my toes and satisfied. Nothing was predictable. I was suspecting some grisly murder, but no worries, it's clean. There is also a really cute romance in the book. I don't really love reading romance, but this was fantastic. The characters were well thought out and quite relate-able. The diction was strong, but not unnecessarily wordy and annoying. The descriptions were realistic. Every word made me want to read another page. All in all, this was a phenomenal debut novel. I will definitely look forward to anything else Ms. Bailey writes.
Pros: Plot, characters, cover, EVERYTHING
Cons: There is not really a huge climax, which actually appealed to me more. It may bug other readers, I'm not sure.
Rating: 5 stars! So easy to rate this one.
Waking Under Water
Crina K (Reviewer)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Full Text: I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Sixteen-year-old Mia is thrust into a new and unfamiliar environment far from the comforts of home. She's gotten into some trouble, and her parents don't know what else to do, so they send her to a private boarding school. It's Mia's last chance to straighten up, and she's doing the best she can to take advantage of this fresh start. Unfortunately there are people and circumstances against her, and her instance is always to run. It was a refreshing and enjoyable read because Mia reads as a vet realistic and relatable character. She was a popular girl before, but at Galt she's not anymore. She gets to see and experience what it means to be bullied by the "it" crowd and how it can really hurt people. This was a very well written story with wonderful description. Every time I had to put it down, I kept finding myself wondering how Mia was doing.
The Broken One
Kayley Fletcher (Reviewer)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Full Text: (I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review) The Broken One is about a girl named Farris whose best friend Kelsey passes away and the emotions and events which take place afterwards which Farris must deal with. After a year has gone by Farris still cannot get over what has happened with so many unanswered questions preventing her from moving on with her life. I really liked the character of Farris as I found her to be relatable and very realistic and I really sympathized with her for all that she has gone through, finding myself rooting for her to get some closure and find happiness again. The other characters in the book were also very interesting and complex. This 180 page book focuses on grief, friendship, love and family which kept me turning the pages and reading the whole thing in a single sitting. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend to anyone who wants a short, easy and touching read.
The Broken One: Michelle Quinn's review May 31, 2016
it was amazing
Read in May, 2016
After her best friend is murdered, Farris needs to learn how to live without her. And after a year of pushing everyone she knew away, Lane who used to be her friend suddenly decides to talk and to her and gives her a letter from her best friend's murderer.
The Broken One is an unique and real approach to someone dealing with the issues Farris has. People might think to compare it to I Was Here by Gayle Forman, but this is so much more realistic and heartbreaking,especially the main character and her of dealing. One thing that I adored about her is that she does not change her mind easily as many characters do (even though, in real life, no one really changes his/her mind as fast as YA characters).
A book that made me feel like no book had in a long time.
English professor publishes first novel
JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 8, 2013– Students often think professors’ jobs are limited to teaching, tutoring and occasionally speaking at seminars and conferences.
But professors are often employed in personal projects, such as research, or in the case of Christine Bailey, novel writing.
“Girl in the Middle” is Bailey’s debut novel and features Skye, a 15-year-old who finds herself wishing for a different life. When her sister goes missing, Skye’s world is turned upside down, and things begin to change in unexpected ways.
Bailey, director of composition support in Union University’s English department, was accepted to the Master of Fine Arts program at Murray State University in July 2009 and began work on the book, a piece then called “Fifteen,” in the workshops.
The initial drafting of the manuscript, which was originally written entirely as diary entries, continued into 2011. The manuscript went through almost two years of revising and editing and was published in September 2013.
“My favorite parts of the process were the workshops in my MFA program and the feedback from my editing class last fall,” Bailey said. “Writing is often a solitary process; it’s easy to forget that your readers don’t know them like you do, so it’s important to have a writing community that makes you take a step back. They can help you look at your writing in a fresh way, and it helps you make your characters and scenes sharper.”
Bailey has been writing since she can remember, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before this story was written. Inspired by her own teenaged-experience, she set out to write.
“I just knew that it was a story, a time in my own life, that I wanted to revisit, so I knew that the book needed to be written,” Bailey said. “It’s one of those things that has always been there. Even as an adult, I’ve always thought about my experience as an adolescent, especially because my own experience in that stage of life was difficult. Writing this book was something that I needed to do.”
Bailey is working on her dissertation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She will defend her dissertation in April and plans to graduate in May. She is also working on a scholarly article that studies identity narratives in the composition classroom.
As for further creative works, Bailey hopes to write a fantastical story geared toward a 10-12-year age group after the remaining two books in her current series are finished. The novel is published by Vinspire Publishing, LLC, and is available for purchase at online retailers such as Amazon.com.
JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 26, 2015 —Christine Bailey, assistant professor of English at Union University, has recently published her second novel, “Waking Under Water,” a young adult novel that explores a teen coming to terms with a difficult medical diagnosis.
“Waking Under Water” features 16-year-old Mia, who has made one bad decision after another. As a result, Mia’s parents do the unthinkable—they send her away to boarding school. It’s in this new place she is once again drawn to the risk-takers. Then her body begins to betray her, and the subsequent diagnosis could change her life forever.
“’Waking Under Water’ explores a heavy topic but does so in a way that is nuanced and not defeating,” Union University librarian Melissa Moore said. “Mia has problems, but she also has hope. A life-altering medical diagnosis brings challenge and uncertainty but not paralyzing fear or despair. Mia is able to weigh her options, consult with those she trusts, and make decisions about her future.”
Inspired by her own teenage experiences, Bailey’s new release as well as her debut novel “Girl in the Middle” both touch upon tough issues—a type of narrative in YA literature typically called a “problem” novel. “Writing a problem novel that does not overwhelm the main character (or reader) with hopelessness is no easy feat, yet this is just what Bailey manages to do,” Moore said.
Bailey began work on the book during her doctoral program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. As part of her dissertation research, Bailey asked students to write poems to reflect their identities—to consider what issues young adults were wrestling with today. From there, Bailey created specific character types for the novel based on her research.
Bailey’s third book, “The Broken One” (forthcoming, 2016) and also YA, explores love, loss, and a beautiful awakening after a tragedy. As for further works, Bailey is currently writing her fourth novel and is also collaborating on a scholarly book chapter, which explores creative writing research and pedagogy. She blogs weekly at cibailey.com about current social trends, YA books to read, and all things related to writing.