Carey Baldwin’s first book, Judgment, the opening volume in her series featuring forensic psychiatrist Caity Cassidy and FBI profiler Atticus “Spense” Spenser, is a finalist for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award and the Booksellers Best Award. In addition, Judgment was named “A Best Book of 2014” by Suspense Magazine.
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of her new book, FALLEN, and I know readers will love it. Having met Baldwin at Bouchercon in Long Beach last fall, I know that besides being generous and optimistic, she has grit. She’s worked hard for everything she’s achieved in her life and is insanely supportive of other writers. Baldwin was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work and her latest book for The Big Thrill.
How on earth do you juggle writing and working as a fulltime physician and still write two full-length novels in about a year?
I really don’t do it all. People used to ask me that question even before I became an author because I was a single mother throughout medical school and for most of my career as a physician. The simple truth is that some things have to fall by the wayside, but I try to make sure that my family and my patients never do. It’s mostly sleep and housework that get pushed aside for writing. And boy, do I ever hate the fact that I don’t have time for housework—big sacrifice!
Your fourth book, FALLEN, comes out this month. Tell us about it.
Out of all my books to date, I have to say that FALLEN, the second book in my Cassidy & Spenser thriller series, was the most fun to write. It features two characters I’ve grown to love, an FBI profiler, Atticus Spenser, and a forensic psychiatrist, Caitlin Cassidy. This time the former rivals turned partners-in-crime-fighting are on the trail of a madman known as the Fallen Angel Killer. The setting is Hollywood, so for research purposes, I explored every tourist trap in Tinsel Town, took star tours, and I even learned how wax statues are made. The book is a thriller, but it has some good times built in. I hope readers will enjoy it, because I certainly loved writing it.
You hold two doctoral degrees—one in medicine and one in psychology. Dr. Caitlin Cassidy is a forensic psychiatrist, which begs the question: Is she you?
Ha! Not at all. While many of my life experiences influence what I write, the truth is that both Caity and Spense are much smarter and braver than I am. I’ve tried to make them flawed in ways I hope I’m not, as well as heroic in ways I wish I were. Caity and Spense are people I’d love to have as friends.
Why did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I read every biography in my elementary school library and then had to expand to the local library where I focused on reading about women. The women in those books really existed, and they became my role models. One of them was Louisa May Alcott, and I developed a burning desire to become a writer like her. But I came from a family with struggling financially, and that instilled in me the need to make sure that I could take care of my loved ones. I didn’t allow myself the luxury of writing books until after I had a stable career, my children became adults, and I knew their futures were secure.
Where did you get the idea for the story in FALLEN?
I tend to write about things that scare me. I think it’s my way of overcoming fear. When I was young, I watched a classic movie on television called House of Wax starring Vincent Price. I had nightmares for years about that movie. In FALLEN, the victims’ bodies are dumped in Los Angeles tourist traps. It’s no coincidence that the wax museum plays a significant role in the story.
What’s next for Cassidy and Spenser?
Next up, the pair will travel to Texas to solve the murder of a notorious Dallas socialite in a book appropriately titled Notorious. There, buried sins from the past will turn Spense’s world upside down.
Can you share a secret about your characters?
Sure, the male protagonist, Atticus Spenser, was named in honor of two of my favorite heroes: Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) and Spenser (from Spenser for Hire). Quite a combination, don’t you think?
Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to let people know?
Only that I love sharing my stories with readers. It’s an honor to know they take hours out of their busy lives to spend time in my book’s world. It’s humbling to hear from folks who say they care about the characters and wonder about them after the story ends.
Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered physician by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She lives with her family in the southwestern United States, and in her spare times loves hiking and chasing wildflowers. Learn more about Carey at her website.
About Kristi Belcamino
Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and Italian mama who also bakes a tasty biscotti. Her first novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, is nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Novel.
To learn more about Kristi, please visit her website.