Introducing the extraordinarily talented Carrie Bailey.
I have to admit this was a fun interview!
Branli: Tell us about yourself, where do you currently live? What are your hobbies outside of writing?
Carrie: I’ve been in North Carolina for three months. Before that, New Zealand. Before that, Portland, Oregon. Before that, Santiago, Chile…. It can be disorienting to move regularly on a global scale. Cultural differences go a lot deeper than what you eat or who you have to kiss on the cheek or what side of the road you drive on. Even protocol for standing in a queue varies between countries.
In Raleigh, tellers and clerks tend to think I’m dense, because I keep walking up to the counter when I should know they’re going to call me when they’re good and ready. Of course, in Wellington tellers thought similar. What a tall poppy! (that’s kiwi for different) Why doesn’t walk up to the counter when she sees an opening? She just stands there like she’s special.
Most people are forgiving once they realize I’m not local and one thing that is standard all over the world though is that people drink coffee. So people must be generally good everywhere you go by my reasoning.
In Chile, I order café cortados. In New Zealand, it’s a long black with extra water,* but I do have other dimensions as a fully realizable person. I illustrate books. I play the wooden flute, but I like to tell myself that coffee drinking is a legitimate hobby, too.
Did you know coffee is the second largest industry in the world behind oil?
Branli: Tell us about your new release? What is it about?
Carrie: Bungle of Oz. It’s an Oz book written in the tradition established by Frank L. Baum, no modern updates, just whimsy and weird creatures. Bungle, the glass cat is the protagonist. Made from crystal and sprinkled with the Powder of Life in Baum’s Patchwork Girl of Oz, she has a ruby heart and pink marble brains that you can see work.
In my story, Bungle accidently collides with the Paradox Potion and chips her foot. It’s a major challenge to her vanity to cope with the injury and she has to find her creator, the Crooked Magician, in order to be cured. The story takes her to the Land of Ev with the assistance of an extremely tall munchkin, named Igi, who was working in the palace of the Emerald City where Bungle lives. In Ev, Bungle is faced with the choice to live with her damage or become a real cat. This upsets her and she pouts for a few chapters while Igi stops a local civil war and finds a new job working along side his heartthrob, Winsome Winnie.
Branli: What books are you reading now?
I am reading Ulric’s Mate by Leona Bushman and Hysteria by D A Botta.
Branli: State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers?
I don’t drink a lot of coffee, at most three cups per day. But, I drink it all day long. It gets cold. I still drink it. I just talk about drinking coffee a lot.
Did you know that coffee has more anti-oxidants than blueberries?
Branli: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that it’s important to check your facts BEFORE you write. I had read an article that claimed Ruth Plumly, the author of the Oz books written between 1920 and 1940 had condoned slavery in her book The Silver Princess of Oz. Apparently, Plumly created a character called Jinnicky, the Red Jinn, and then gave him black-skinned slaves that were commanded by a dinner bell. In the article, the author claimed that a rebellion by the slaves had been quashed and that Plumly was a mad racist.
Since The Silver Princess of Oz had just entered the public domain, I decided to put an end to slavery in Oz. I immediately made a character, Igi, who had escaped bondage. Then, I had him go back and liberate the rest of the slaves. Satisfied with myself, I bought a copy of The Silver Princess of Oz and I read it feeling fully prepared to deal with the offensive material. Unfortunately, I discovered that just as I had failed to do my research before I wrote…so had the author of that scandalous article.
From actually reading the novel, it was clear that the book’s illustrations were racist-looking ink drawings of thick-lipped black men in the style common to the 1800s and early 1900s while the characters Plumly described were Arabic. A bit of a disconnection there. And if you considered the origin of the myths about Jinns, more commonly called genies here, Plumly’s intent becomes clearer. In Arabic mythology, Jinns are usually slaves. In Plumly’s book, Jinnicky is the slave owner and his men are his would-have-been masters. And they didn’t rebel. A classic villain that no one could sympathize with conquered them and they were saved from tyranny by the Red Jinn.
I ended up altering the story line to fit Plumly’s trajectory rather than the impression that the illustrations give a reader. Next time, I think I’ll do my research first.
Branli: Do you have any thing specific that you want to say to your readers?
The reason I’ve lived in foreign countries and traveled around is because I’m looking to meet people who “get me” and I find them everywhere.
Which means, I am approachable. If you like my writing, email me at bailey.carrie.e [at] gmail.com. Ask me anything. I’m always open to honest feedback and I love to get to know people. I don’t always have time, but I often do.
Branli: What books have most influenced your life most?
The Year 1000 is possibly my favorite book of all time. It’s non-fiction. It describes life as it was lived on a daily basis in Europe in, guess when? The year 1000. Reading this book was the closest thing I’ve gotten to time travel.**
Did you know that legend says coffee was discovered in 9th century Ethiopia when a shepherd saw his rambunctious goats dancing after they ate some green berries?
*Travler’s Tip: Never buy an “americano” in New Zealand. They will serve you a slightly watered down long black. This is because it is incompressible for them to think you would want to drink weak coffee. The only solution is to buy a long black and ask for one full cup of hot water. Then, when they’re not looking, combine the two.
**Time Traveler’s Tip: Don’t go back further than the 9th century and then, only go to Ethiopia.