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English professor publishes first novel

Christine Bailey, director of composition support in Union's English department, has published her first novel,
Christine Bailey, director of composition support in Union's English department, has published her first novel, "Girl in the Middle." (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

JACKSON, Tenn.Oct. 8, 2013 – Students often think professors’ jobs are limited to teaching, tutoring and occasionally speaking at seminars and conferences.

But professors are often employed in personal projects, such as research, or in the case of Christine Bailey, novel writing.

“Girl in the Middle” is Bailey’s debut novel and features Skye, a 15-year-old who finds herself wishing for a different life. When her sister goes missing, Skye’s world is turned upside down, and things begin to change in unexpected ways.

Bailey, director of composition support in Union University’s English department, was accepted to the Master of Fine Arts program at Murray State University in July 2009 and began work on the book, a piece then called “Fifteen,” in the workshops.

The initial drafting of the manuscript, which was originally written entirely as diary entries, continued into 2011. The manuscript went through almost two years of revising and editing and was published in September 2013.

“My favorite parts of the process were the workshops in my MFA program and the feedback from my editing class last fall,” Bailey said. “Writing is often a solitary process; it’s easy to forget that your readers don’t know them like you do, so it’s important to have a writing community that makes you take a step back. They can help you look at your writing in a fresh way, and it helps you make your characters and scenes sharper.”

Bailey has been writing since she can remember, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before this story was written. Inspired by her own teenaged-experience, she set out to write.

“I just knew that it was a story, a time in my own life, that I wanted to revisit, so I knew that the book needed to be written,” Bailey said. “It’s one of those things that has always been there. Even as an adult, I’ve always thought about my experience as an adolescent, especially because my own experience in that stage of life was difficult. Writing this book was something that I needed to do.”

Bailey has plans to write a second and third novel to complete the series.

Bailey is working on her dissertation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She will defend her dissertation in April and plans to graduate in May. She is also working on a scholarly article that studies identity narratives in the composition classroom.

As for further creative works, Bailey hopes to write a fantastical story geared toward a 10-12-year age group after the remaining two books in her current series are finished.

The novel is published by Vinspire Publishing, LLC, and is available for purchase at online retailers such as Amazon.com.

By Allison Bucknell (’14)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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