Welcome, one and all, to another author interview! Today, i’m welcoming indie author and blogger Bailey Ordiway to the site.
Hi Bailey! Before we jump into the main interview, can you do a quick introduction for any readers that may not be familiar with you and your work?
Well, my name is Bailey Ordiway. I am an award winning blogger/critic and self published author. I have three published books Blackout, American Holdovers, and Entertainment 100. When I’m not writing I’m usually annoying my wife with movie trivia and running my business.
Your most recent novel, American Holdovers, is based on the true story of a group of people known as ‘holdovers’ – those who sought to join the military but were deemed unfit for duty once they arrived for basic training – and what roles they play on military bases until they are sent home. I must admit, having never been in the military myself, this wasn’t a term that I’d heard before reading the blurb for your book. I also noted in your website profile that, after leaving College, you moved on to pursue a career in the military, but were medically discharged shortly after your career began. What thoughts were going through your head when you found out about the discharge, and how much of American Holdovers is based on your own experiences in this role?
It doesn’t surprise me that you are unfamiliar with the term, Matt. The fact that holdovers are such a well kept secret is a large part of why I wrote the novel. I, as you know, was a holdover in the military at Ft. Jackson. While I was there I kept a very inclusive journal as a kind of coping mechanism so the days wouldn’t blur together. After returning home I had such a difficult time describing the experience to anyone that for not just my sake, but fellow holdovers, I turned my journal into a novel. So, the book itself is completely true, only written in novel form with names changed to make a better read.
You’ve stated before that you don’t hold any animosity towards the military. This is good to see as, given the circumstances, I’m sure that some would cope with the situation in a more negative way. Do you get to keep in touch with any of your former fellow-trainees at all?
To be completely honest it was not always this way. In fact, it took be a long time to not hate the military completely. It was something I had to work through. And we actually all keep in touch. We have a Facebook group with all of us in it where we talk often.
You’ve been writing from a young age, and started your first novel Blackout shortly after finishing High School. You kept at this during your college years and finally released it shortly before your 18th birthday. The story is set in a post war world where a new government has switched off the power, much like Snake Pliskin did at the end of Escape from L.A. What was your primary inspiration for this novel?
This is actually a rather funny story, Matt. I was living in Ohio at the time. I didn’t have internet, TV, games, anything really. On top of that I lived in the middle of nowhere and would always describe the area as an endless wasteland of corn and sadness. So, I knew I wanted it to be set IN Ohio. After that I got the idea for the book itself because I wanted to write something post apocalyptic and futuristic while also not being bogged down by technology, if that makes any sense.
Being your first novel, I would imagine that working on Blackout must represented a learning curve in terms of longform storytelling. What did you find were the most challenging parts of working on the book, especially over the prolonged period of time that you were writing it?
Writing Blackout is when I discovered that I needed to write an outline. Not just any outline though, a highly inclusive, in-depth outline. IF I don’t write an outline my work will be all over the place with large ramblings that lead nowhere.
Both these novels were self-published. What drew you to self-publishing them rather going with a small press? Have you found any particular advantages to taking this route?
Mainly I self published because I wanted to just get my book out there. Being so young while writing the book I never got any offers from houses. Now I’m self publishing to keep my creative freedom. I have gotten a couple offers but all of them wanted final say on everything and that’s not what I wanted. If someone were to approach me with a reasonable offer I’d be happy to take it.
Outside the two novels, you also a third book titled Entertainment 100. This ties in with your aforementioned website in that it’s a collection of reviews previously published on said site. Anyone who reads through your page will see that you critique a number of different types of media, including films, TV, games, and even trailers. Is there any type of media that particularly love to review, or anything that you tend to avoid?
I LOVE to review movie trailers. Movie trailers are either fantastic or terrible and reveal everything, there is not really any in between. They are fun though because it is all speculation when reviewing a trailer. I use to review actors but I tend to avoid that now that my name has gotten a bit bigger and I never want to meet any of them in person and have it be awkward.
Are you working on any other titles at the moment? And if so, are they continuations of your current titles or new works?
I am. The working title for it right now is Double Trouble. It is a compilation of short stories following two brother through their young years through their 20’s. Also, no it is not a continuation. I tend to stay away from writing a series because I don’t want to be STUCK writing anything if I have other things I want to work on.
Your early works were short stories for papers and school magazines. Looking back on them, how would you say that you’ve changed as a writer? Do you tackle different subject matter now, or do you still find inspiration from similar things?
I still find inspiration from similar things and like to write heavier stories, emotionally. I’d say the only thing that has changed really is my grammar isn’t terrible.
Do you find it difficult juggling writing with running the review site? You post quite regularly and I know myself that keeping up with both working on stories and posting multiple times a week can be tough.
Sometimes it is quite difficult, yes. When I really focus on my book for a while it reflects in my frequency of posting. I try to find a happy medium though since, to me my blog is as important as my books.
I am of the view that there’s always more to learn, especially when it comes to creative ventures. That being the case, is there any advice that you’d give to upcoming authors trying to get a footing in the industry?
Honestly? Just write. That is the only advice I can give. Everyone is different in their tradition and style.
I came out here to spend time with my mother who lives out here before I shipped off to basic training. After I got out I just stayed out here. I like it, I do miss Michigan and the great lakes a lot though.
Do you have any unusual hobbies or pass-times, or does the site and writing take up most of your time?
I love drumming, I started playing when I was 11. I’m also part of a DnD group and spend a lot of free time doing that.
If you had to pick, what would be your top five films of all time and why?
Easy! I can give you top 10!
Silver Linings Playbook
The Wolf of Wall Street
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
The Big Short
Finally, I wanted to thank you for joining us today. Whereabouts on the web can everyone find you if they want to contact you or know more? Feel free to link to anything you want.