Interview with Barbara Casey
What genre do you write and why?
I write primarily fiction for adults and young adults, but I have also written two nonfiction biographical/true crime books for adults. The most recent—Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly—has been optioned for a television mini-series and major film.
Tell us about your latest book.
The Wish Rider is the second book in The F.I.G. Mysteries. In the first book of the series—The Cadence of Gypsies—I introduced three young girls, the FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius)—orphans, with unusual talents and intelligence quotients in the genius range—who not only struggle because they are so different from the other girls living at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, but because of their individual backgrounds. In The Cadence of Gypsies when they travel to Italy with their teacher, Carolina (who learned on her 18th birthday that she is adopted), to help her learn the truth about her own hidden background, they soon discover that she has a connection to the most mysterious document in the world—the Voynich Manuscript—and that her biological parents were gypsies.
In The Wish Rider, the story focuses on Dara, one of the three FIGs. She was abandoned by her mother in a candy store before she turned five, and she now has reason to believe that her mother is living in New York City. With the help of her best friends—the other two FIGs and Carolina, their teacher—they go to New York City over the summer before they are to begin their freshman year at the universities where they will be attending in the fall. The search takes them to a dangerous, terrifying hidden subculture that challenges all of their abilities and intellectual genius in order to survive.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
I am doing a series of radio appearances and interviews, internet blog/book review tours, and interviews with the media in my local area.
What formats is the book available in?
The Wish Rider is available in paperback and eBook. The publisher also has plans to release it in the near future as a hardback and audio book.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
For me I love the entire process of writing: coming up with the idea, researching what will go into the story, conceiving the characters and then building on their personalities and uniqueness, and then just the actual act of sitting down at my computer and creating. I love the journey of creating a book. If it gets published, that is wonderful; but most of my enjoyment comes from the process.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My website is www.barbaracaseyagency.com. I also have a blog on that site where I talk about writing and offer advice to other writers.
Who is you favourite character in your book and why?
When I first wrote The Cadence of Gypsies, it was with the idea that it would be a stand-alone book. When I finished, however, the FIGs just wouldn’t leave me alone. Apparently the publisher felt the same way, because she asked if I would turn it into a series. Now, with two books completed in the F.I.G. Mysteries and a third book underway, I have a deep understanding and affection for each of my characters. They have basically lived with me now for a few years. If I were to choose one, however, who is my favorite, I guess it would be Jennifer, the FIG who joined the other two at the orphanage when her parents were killed in an automobile accident. She is petite and blond, but hard, angry, prone to acting out, and unwilling to even try to “fit in.” Her talent is in music and art, and that is where her genius lies.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
The Wish Rider has so many unusual elements: mystery, adventure, interesting characters, gypsies, and the unknown. I did a lot of research on the gypsy culture, and studied their ancient beliefs and customs, as well as their use of herbal medicines for healing and spells. I also did a lot of research on Grand Central Terminal in New York City because it plays an important part in the story.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
All of my books are available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Or they can be ordered through any bookstore.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
Right now I am working on two projects that are under contract. One is the third book in The F.I.G. Mysteries. It will be Mackenzie’s story (one of the other FIGs who was placed in an orphanage immediately after she was born) and I am still gathering research for it. The other is another adult nonfiction biographical/true crime book which is in the final editing stage and is scheduled to be released February 15, 2017 (available for pre-order now). It is about the life of JoAnne Chesimard aka Assata Shakur who was sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison for killing a New Jersey State Trooper. She escaped less than three years later and has been living in Cuba.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I live on top of a mountain in northwest Georgia surrounded by natural, virgin woods. My three rescue dogs remind me when I need to stop working and take a break, so we enjoy taking walks through the woods. I also enjoy gardening and find that when I am stuck on an idea that won’t quite work, if I go outside and mess in the shrubs and flowers, it usually gets solved. If I have a bit more time, I love to travel to the small historical towns nearby and go antiquing.
Jo, thank you so much for inviting me. You have asked some wonderful questions, and I have enjoyed being your guest. I wish you and your bloggers all the best.