Fall into the captivating world of acclaimed author Bridget E. Baker! As the release date for the third entry in her romantasy series approaches in September, we’re excited that Bridget E. Baker answered our 20 Questions, providing insights into her writing process, inspirations, and more.
So, whether you’re a long-time fan or a curious reader, join us on this enchanting journey into another realm… the imagination of one very imaginative author!
1. Your best virtue as an author.
I think the thing that makes me the best as an author is my insight into humans and why they do what they do. Sure, I think I have good story ideas. And also, I like to think that I’ve honed my prose until it shines. I also write very fast, which helps me write more stories, quicker. But I think the most important thing an author can have is an ability to understand people’s motivations. It helps my plot be more than just a string of events. It helps the ideas I have for the story events become the very thing that turns that dagger in my main character’s heart. So I’m sticking with my answer: insight into human being’s inner reasons/greed/goodness, etc.
2. Your most quirky author habit.
I think the strangest thing I do as an author is cry while writing something sad or difficult. My job is pretty strange when you think about it. First, I make up a person who I wish I knew. Then I develop them into someone I really love, someone who comes alive on the page… and then I torture them horribly. (Is it really YA fantasy if the main character’s parents are alive and happy?! I mean, a teenager with living, intelligent, and caring parents is NOT going to do much that’s interesting. I will tell you that right now…Loading the dishwasher, doing their homework, and going to bed at ten p.m. does not a good story make.) So while I’m torturing them, this person I’ve made up, I will literally be sitting in my chair, bawling like a baby. My husband thinks I’ve lost my mind, but it’s happened in nearly every book at some point… What can I say? Like any hottie who drives a classic Camaro, I like to hurt the ones I love. (Kidding, kidding—about the classic car drivers being bad. I do like to hurt the fictious ones I love…)
3. Your favorite quality in a protagonist.
I like my protagonists to have remarkable insight. Someone commented in a review recently that my characters have an unbelievable amount of emotional maturity and insight by the end of my books. They said it would be more realistic if they were more emotionally constipated. (Okay, that’s been paraphrased into my words…) But here’s the thing! I encounter loads and loads of people in real life who aren’t able to articulate how they feel. The last thing I need is more of what I deal with in my own kitchen on the pages of a book. So, I like to have plots and characters in my stories that do not rely on a misunderstanding or miscommunication. I like there to be real, difficult issues that have to be solved, and I like the people leading my books to be insightful people who are stuck dealing with a decision between two GOOD things or two BAD things.
4. Your favorite quality in an antagonist.
My antagonists are always the protagonist in their own story. I love complicated and misunderstood villains. In fact, I have only a bare handful of “bad guys” who are just plain bad. Usually as you learn more about them, your heart bleeds for them and their misguided, tortured little soul. In my Birthright Series, my three main antagonists all get their own books in which you find out WHY they did the bad things they did and whether or not they can be redeemed.
5. If you could ask any other author, past or present, a question who would it be and what would you ask?
I would like to talk to Shakespeare. I want to know what moved him. He was really one of the most iconic shapers of “story” in our entire past, and so many of the story archetypes he created live on today in various forms. I’d like to know what motivated, inspired, and kept him going. Was it fame? Was it fear? Greed? Or did stories just tickle inside his brain? BOY would talking to him be EPIC. (For me. I doubt he’d think much of me. HA!)
6. When you aren’t writing, you are:
Oh man, what am I not doing when I’m not writing? My biggest struggle is carving out time to write down all the stories that are running amok in my head. I have five kids who all still live at home (7-16). We have six horses, thirty chickens, three cats, and three dogs. I ride every day. And I work out every day. I homeschool my two youngest kids. I’m active at church and do a lot of service for our congregation. I love to read, and I’m pretty obsessed with k-dramas. I love to bake cookies. And I sometimes breed our Pomeranian. (They are the cutest puppies!) I also have lots of hobbies like crocheting, quilting, scrapbooking, etc. I have lots of family that lives close, and I go to lunch a few times a month with friends. Oh yeah, and there’s this hot bald guy who keeps showing up and asking to be fed. But for real, my husband does take up a lot of time as well. Don’t worry. He does enough laundry that I forgive him for being a time vortex. Aaaaand I’m a lawyer who still works part time.
7. Your easiest book to write.
All of my books are easy to write. I outline my series before I sit down to write a book, so they always go together more or less as I intend them to go. I always write in first person present, so I feel like all of my characters are my friends who are just chatting away inside my head. The ease or difficulty with which I write always has to do with how many OTHER things I have going on.
8. Your hardest book to write.
9. Your ideal writing place.
I can write anywhere. I write on my bed. Or I write in my kitchen. I write in a window box. Maybe at the grocery store. I write on planes. I can eat them in a house, or with a mouse, or in a box… wait. This might not be my story. (But I do love my Mac Air and I do take it with me everywhere…)
10. Your favorite childhood book.
If you can’t guess this one from my answer to number 9, you aren’t very well versed in children’s books. GREEN EGGS AND HAM, even though I’m totally the kind of kid who would NEVER have eaten them. Sorry, Sam-you-are. I will never eat your green eggs and ham, no matter how they taste.
Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsinger trilogy. My kids are almost as obsessed as I am. I’ve probably reread them a dozen times in the forty-two years I’ve been on this earth. I love them just as much every single time I read through them.
12. Your favorite hero from literature.
That’s a rough one. I think it’s got to be Phédre from Kushiel’s Dart. I’ve literally read every single book Jacqueline Carey has ever written (why has she started writing slower and slower? The people have NEEDS, Jacqueline!!) I jest, of course. Writers have lives, and they have loves, and they have pains, and I just wait and hope and pray for when I get more crack cocaine—er, I mean, stories from the ones I adore.
13. Your favorite villain from literature.
I don’t know whether this counts as “literature” per se, but I’m going with Maleficent, a la Angelina Jolie’s villain flip movies. I just adore her. Everything about her and her portrayal of the beautiful, strong, misunderstood Maleficent.
14. The name of your autobiography.
Jane of all Trades: Master of None 😜
I’m decent at horses. At law. I’m decent at writing romance and writing fantasy. Maybe, I’m a mediocre mom. A mediocre wife. I do a lot of things reasonably well, and I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
15. Your favorite comfort food.
Cookies. I can’t be more specific because I’m shamelessly inconsistent. I’ll like chocolate chip for a few weeks, and then I’ll fall in love with frosted lemon cookies. The next month, I’ll be desperate for peanut butter. And the one after that, I’ll be dying for cowboy cookies. I’m not devoted to any particular cookie, but I am dedicated to them as an edible art form.
16. First thing you do when you finish writing a novel.
I run out of my room and shout, “oh Mommy, oh Daddy, I am a big old fatty.” I dance around the room chanting that. My kids (whoever is awake!) and my husband all cheer. I’m a huge fan of Friends, and there’s an episode of it where Joey runs through the apartment saying that and then without any explanation, just leaves. Chandler then says, “Well I guess he got the part.” Or something along those lines. So once, when I really needed to get a book done for a deadline, I finished it and ran out and said that. My kids and hubby all thought it was so funny that it’s become a bit of a tradition.
17. A secret talent you have.
As a bright red extrovert, I have very few secrets. I will say that very few people know that I can practically pick my nose with my tongue… I’m not sure that’s much of a talent. I can also sing quite well, but anyone who goes to church with me already knows that.
18. Where have you always wanted to travel?
I LOVE traveling and do it a lot. This year alone I made it to Seoul, South Korea, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, Niagara Falls, Canada, Boston, and New York City. But on my list and not yet visited? Iceland. Also, Bora Bora. And finally, China.
19. One tip for aspiring authors?
Hmm, if I have one tip to offer, it’s hit the craft hard. A lot of my friends lament the fact that they didn’t do quite enough polishing before they started publishing. Make sure you are learning the things you need to know to write the most compelling story you can. And don’t scrimp on learning to write clean, clear prose. Nothing stops me faster than klunky or repetitive details and dialogue.
20. Puppies or kittens?
Oh man. I’m a ‘why choose’ girl. I have two Pomeranians, one border collie, a Bengal (rescued), a Maine Coon (rescued), and a rescue cat who we got at two weeks old. (A bobcat killed his mom!) We adore them all. I’m not sure whether I could pick. (But okay, gun to my head, Poms have my heart of hearts… I swear that the puppies are made of three parts fluff and one part awwwww.)
Thanks for inviting me to do this question and answer. I absolutely adore Barnes and Noble and all my Nook readers. <3
About Bridget E. Baker:
Bridget won her first writing contest in second grade with a story about a day in the life of a little spot of air. (Who says you need a good hook?)
She hasn’t stopped writing (or talking) since then, although she was briefly derailed by her pursuit of a legal career. Ultimately, boring words, well, bored her. She quit her job to spend less time counting gobs of ill gotten gains and more time writing stories.
Bridget knows she should pick one genre and write within it, but she can’t seem to choose. With her love of all words, she imagines stories set on Earth as we know it, stories set on Earth as it might be, and stories set on Earth as it might become. She imagines teens ready to take on the world, adults ready to throw in the towel, and everything in between.
Bridget loves her husband and all five of her kids (most days). She has a Border Collie with boundless energy, three amazing quarter horses, backyard chickens, lion’s head rabbits, and two demanding cats. Every day is a balance between playing with kids, riding her horse Leo, helping legal clients, and writing. If her publication speed has slowed down, you can blame the kids and the horse.
She makes cookies all the time, and thinks they should have their own food group. In a possibly misguided attempt at evening the scales between over-consumption and exertion, she kick boxes every day. So if you don’t like her kids, her cookies, or her books, maybe don’t tell her in person.
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