What's up Write Voicers!
This month I had the pleasure of speaking with Casie Bazay, the author of Not Our Summer, and I wanted to share that conversation with you all.
As some of you may know, this is the second of the Fun Facts series, so I'm still figuring some stuff out (although I think I like the flow of this format). Anyways, enough about me. We're here to talk about Casie Bazay, who has a ton to tell us about herself. And trust me, you're going to want to know what these facts are.
Last, don't worry about book spoilers, there aren't any in here. But I can't say the same about the book review, which you can find here.
Okie doke, let's talk all things Casie Bazay!
Fun Facts Interview
Jaleesa: Hi Casie, thanks for reaching out to me and agreeing to do an interview for The Write Voice.
Casie: Thank you so much for the opportunity to share about myself and my debut novel, Not Our Summer. I really appreciate it!
Jaleesa: Happy to do it. Alright, let's get started! If it's okay, I'd like to begin with your school clubs.
Casie: For sure! As I told you in the email, I was the only student to be in both the French Club and the FFA (Future Farmers of America) in my high school class of over a thousand and that dichotomy pretty much describes me to a T.
Jaleesa: I get that. A lot of your pictures on Instagram show you in nature. What I didn't see was a video of you speaking French to the animals. [Laughs] I'm kidding of course. It's pretty amazing that you were interested in two clubs that seem like polar opposites. So, why those two? Any particular reason to join both?
Casie: I’ve always loved animals, especially horses, so that’s the main reason I joined FFA—so that I could show my horses in the local FFA shows and also hang out with other horse and country kids. I joined the French Club because I took French for four years and really enjoyed it. There’s just something so beautiful about the language and one of my dreams has always been to travel to Paris (someday!) I guess you could say that I’m a country gal with some culture. ;-)
Jaleesa: I love that! So, tell me about fact number two, Oklahoma.
Casie: Right. So, I have lived in Oklahoma my entire life.
Jaleesa: In the same city, or have you moved around to different parts?
Casie: I grew up in Broken Arrow, moved to Stillwater for college (Go Pokes!), then moved to Coweta when I got married, and I now live in the tiny town of Porter (well actually, just outside of it since we live on a farm). All of these towns are within a few hours of each other. Interestingly enough, one reason my family is in Oklahoma is because my ancestors are Chickasaw Indians, who were forced here during the Trail of Tears (Indian Removal Act).
Jaleesa: Wow, it’s so interesting how some people are ready to get out of the state they live in, and others just move from one city to another within the same state. So, in what part of Oklahoma did you became the reigning queen of rodeo, or was that somewhere else?
Casie: No, it was in Oklahoma. I was the Broken Arrow Rooster Days Rodeo Queen for my senior year of high school. It was the only rodeo pageant I ever participated in, but it was pretty cool. I still have my crown and buckle!
Jaleesa: Man, I’d love to see a picture of those! I’ve never been in a pageant, let alone a rodeo. Which makes me wonder, how does one gain that title? And why former?
Casie: It’s basically a pageant, only instead of fashion and public speaking, contestants were judged mainly on horsemanship and ticket sales. This particular pageant was held each year in conjunction with our town festival (Rooster Days) and I won the title for 1994-1995. Today, most rodeo queen pageants are more involved I think, and many have personality interviews, fashion shows, and public speaking aspects as well. I think anything that helps young women to gain confidence in themselves is a great thing though.
Jaleesa: I love that. Confidence is such an important thing to have when you’re young because it follows you into adulthood. But, as a teacher, I’m sure you know that. Why don’t you tell us more about your teaching days?
Casie: Of course! I was a middle school teacher for ten years and have taught many subjects, including 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade science; math, including pre-algebra; geography; and language arts, including English and reading. My favorite was English!
Jaleesa: As it should be! There's so much that you can do with English, and language arts in general, especially when it comes to activities.
Casie: I agree. I always had a lot of fun coming up with projects and assignments for my students. I wasn’t your typical by-the-textbook teacher. I always liked to incorporate fun activities, games, songs, etc. whenever I could. Of course, I also read to my students any chance I could. Kids of all ages love to be read to.
Jaleesa: Most definitely! Fun activities and games are great for college students too. It was one of my go-to’s when I taught college students. And, of course, I’ve had some weird experiences with that. What about you? What's the weirdest experience that you've ever had in the classroom?
Casie: Hmm. There have been some interesting experiences for sure. One time, I had a student get mad at me and come bop me over the head with a rolled-up paper. It didn’t hurt but it was pretty surprising (and funny). The whole class gasped and needless to say, that student was sent to the principal’s office and ended up getting suspended (due to some other behavior issues as well). A few days later, she called me at school, pretending to be her mom. Of course, I knew right away who it was. Very strange experience!
Jaleesa: [Laughs] I don’t know why kids think that it’s so easy to get over on us. But I’m glad that it didn’t hurt. But, okay, we’re almost out of time, and I want to make sure that we get through all your facts. The last thing you told me about was traveling. Care to elaborate some?
Casie: Yes! So, as I told you, I love to travel, and my top two favorite destinations are at opposite corners of the United States: the Pacific Northwest and the Florida Keys (one of which appears in Not Our Summer!).
Jaleesa: I won't ruin which one appeared in the book, but let's just say that I loved that part. The entire book, as a matter of fact.
Casie: Thank you so much. I’m so happy to hear that!
Jaleesa: Well, it’s the truth! I was so engrossed in the story that I finished in a couple of days. But I have to ask: Do you plan on writing another book with the other destination?
Casie: Nature and the outdoors play a big part in all of the books I’ve written. I don’t have any specific plans to write more travel books, but the one I’m working on now takes place in a place very near and dear to my heart. It’s set (for the most part) in the mountains of southeastern Oklahoma, a place I traveled to every Labor Day weekend for an organized trail ride when I was a teenager and young adult.
Jaleesa: This is great timing then since Labor Day weekend is right around the corner! [Laughs] Well, that's it for me. Is there anything else that you would like to tell our readers before we sign off?
Casie: Just that I also offer a range of editing services for newer writers or those who are self-publishing. Please check out my website for more info!
Jaleesa: I think that our readers (and writers) will keep that in mind. Thanks again for coming!
Casie: Thanks again for having me!
Casie Bazay is the author of Not Our Summer Her book is available in bookstores and at the library.
For those interested, she will have a book signing at the Rainforest Event Center on 10 September 2021 in Forks, Washington from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
On 16 October 2021, she will be teaching a course on Internal vs. External Dialogue and doing a book signing at the Craft of Writing Workshop (which is free and hosted by the Tulsa Night Writers) in Tulsa, Oklahoma from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
Last, she will be participating in the Teen Library Program and doing a book signing on 28 October 2021 at the Siloam Springs Library in Siloam Springs, Arkansas from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.
If you're unable to attend these events, then you should definitely visit her website to keep up with events and appearances that may be happening in your hometown.
If you enjoyed this interview and want to know more about her book, check out the review of Not Our Summer by clicking here.
If you'd like to be featured in a fun facts segment, contact The Write Voice!
And, as always, remember to like, subscribe, and comment to The Write Voice. Thanks!