Author Interview (February 2012)

chrisChris Baldauf graduated from McNeese State University with a BA in English. She is a retired homemaker, writing and living on the river with her husband in Southwest, Louisiana. She is the past president of BWG and active in the club’s Thursday morning critique group. Over the past ten years she has written two novels, a mystery and women’s lit, and is currently working on a series of children’s story books.

1) How did you develop an interest in writing? As an introverted child I played in my imagination more than with other children. My writing blossomed in college (the second time around). When our fourth child was two-yrs-old, I returned to school taking a few classes a semester. Literature and the creative writing courses spurred my flagging imagination and writing gave me permission to play again. I graduated in the same class with our oldest son.

2) Please tell me a little about the novel you’ve written.Autonomy’s Asylum started out as a statement about the charity healthcare system in Louisiana. Frustrated for people I knew who had no voice, I let my imagination create Annie Miller, a bipolar eccentric who suffers with the bureaucracy and inconsistencies that the system generates. Creating Annie as a quirky, fun loving individual with mental illness opened up other issues of co-dependency and personal freedom. It’s been an eye-opening journey and truly a labor of love.

3) How long did it take you to write your current MS? Like my college education, I’m the tortoise type—slow and steady. I developed the story over the past five years and finished the current MS in 2011. I’m in the editing and revision process now. Enrolled in a synopsis workshop through the Writer’s League of Texas, I plan to start querying agents in April.

4) Have you written in any other styles? I started writing a mystery located in Southwest Louisiana, but during the submission process hurricanes devastated the Gulf coast. The project took a back burner for practical reasons, plus in the aftermath of Rita, I felt my fluffy mystery series was irrelevant. Poetry holds a passionate fire in my heart, but fiction is my sanity. Writing gives me the opportunity to articulate in a succinct way.
5) Tell me a little about your blog. Last year debuted, Some Assimilation Required… batteries not included. This was my response to reading and hearing for years at conferences that an author must have an electronic presence. In January I started in earnest to be connected.
6) What writer’s conferences have you attended? My first was in 2004, the annual Agents Conference sponsored by the Writer’s League of Texas. Friendly and organized, it’s pricy. I attended again in 2010, but I would recommend the novice cutting literary teeth on something smaller. The Jambalaya Writer’s Conference held in Houma, LA is an excellent affordable conference. And of course my favorite is the annual Bridge to Publication held in Lake Charles every November, sponsored by the Bayou Writer’s Group.
7) What book have you planted on a coffee table to impress someone? I don’t own a coffee table. Maybe I’ll get one when I’m published—someplace for dust to collect while my creative imaginings go wild hunched over the computer.