Author Interview with Mathis Bailey!
Hi, Mathis Bailey, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website! Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what you enjoy doing, your hobbies and interests.
Hey! My name is Mathis Bailey. I’m originally from Detroit Michigan, and currently living in Toronto. I graduated from Seneca at York University in Broadcast Journalism. I enjoy reading, writing, watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, traveling, and all things dealing with FOOD.
When did you start writing and why?
Funny story. I never thought of myself as a writer, not until my spouses’ best friend asked me to write a food article for his online newspaper publication. He knew I enjoyed journaling my travel experiences and trying out exotic foods. Before I took him up on his offer, I decided to take a creative writing course to brush up on my storytelling, which led me to write my first published novel, Confused Spice. Life is funny.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
My favorite book is my first published novel, Confused Spice. I had a lot of fun writing it. The idea came to me when my husband suggested I should write a gay novel. And I thought…. Why not? I knew what I wanted to write from the jump. The inspiration came to me spontaneously. The idea came to me when my friend exposed me to Buddhism and its practices.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Well, I knew I wanted to stick to the culinary theme, therefore I decided to call my second book Brown Sugar & Spice, which is the sequel to Confused Spice. Both novels involve a lot of cooking and uses of spices. I also wanted it to have some subliminal meaning within the title itself like Confused Spice. So, there’s more than meets the eye.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
Mumtaz Mustafa was the one who designed Brown Sugar & Spice. I was always a fan of her work. So, I knew I wanted her for this project. We bounced ideas back and forth through email and phone. I told her what I wanted, characters in mind, and she brought the vision to life. I was very happy with the outcome. She really did her thing. The inspiration behind it was from the author E. Lynn Harris. I wanted to design something that paid homage to the late author. I always adored his novel covers. They were sexy, classy and eye-catching.
What are some of the themes of your story?
Of course, food. I feel food is the common denominator between people with different backgrounds and beliefs. Things are more fun and relaxed when food is present. Some other themes you might find in my work are Self-discovery, discrimination, sexuality, and homophobia.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book and do you have a system?
I like to read for an hour before I engage into any prolific writing. It’s like eating a balance breakfast before a grueling workout. That’s how I look at it. Reading helps jump start my vocabulary and creative juices. Second thing is coffee. I must have my dark roast coffee, black. It helps me think clearly in the morning. Silence is another must have. I’m totally not one of those fancy writers who writes in cafes. Nope. I can’t have any distractions whatsoever. This might sound crazy, but I need stillness to hear my characters. They are like ghosts whispering faintly in my ear telling me what to write. Freaky, right? I know. But it’s true. I also like to set a word count goal. I strive to hit a thousand words each time. I typically don’t start out with an outline. I just write whatever comes to mind about the story. The outline usually comes into play when things gets messy. However, I believe it’s totally necessary to let a story run amuck at the beginning stages, to find the true nature of it. I don’t strive to be politically correct or perfect in my first and second drafts. My main goal is to get the story down. And I am always ready to cut 50,000 words or more if needed to make the story flow better. A great writer can’t be afraid to edit drastically. “Rewriting is the key to great writing.” I learnt that saying from my Journalism college professor. So, I go by that philosophy.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
From other authors’ work…. I like Raymond. He’s a gay black character in E.Lynn Harris’ novels. I love how Raymond gets in these challenging situations in his love life. I also like Fanny from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. She’s a docile young woman who secretly enjoys dabbling in the high life. But she isn’t the one to be underestimated. I love how she observes life and the people around her and uses it to her advantage. There’s something very haunting, charming and alluring about her character that fascinates me.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Lynn Harris, Jane Austen, Zane, Shamara Ray, Vivek Shraya, Shyam Selvadurai and Toni Morrison….and many more.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
I’m currently working on the third book in the Confused Spice trilogy. It’s coming along famously. I can’t say when it will be released though. Hopefully soon.
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
To eat everything and not gain an ounce.
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
Either London or Paris. Both places are stunning. I visited both cities before and loved to go back. Loved the food, pastries, cafes, people, accents and the old ornate buildings.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
I hope to be a renowned New York Times Bestselling author, with a publishing contract. That would be awesome. Also chillin’ on a Caribbean island in my dreamed vacation home.
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