A few years ago, an editor sent me SLEEPING IN EDEN by Nicole Baart to review. I started it on a Friday night — and promptly forgot all weekend plans. I carried it around with me, ignoring my family and reading it at meals. “Must be some book,” my husband said. And it was. She’s an expert plotter and creates real, believable characters that you care about and relate to.
That’s why I’m so anticipating Baart’s next book THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS — a gripping novel about two former best friends and the secrets they can’t escape — which comes out this Tuesday, April 28. Baart stopped by the Ball to tell us more about herself — including the strangest job she’s ever had, and her secret superpower when it comes to sleep.
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
I love Hermione. She’s fierce and brilliant, awkward and elegant. She knows who she is and she plays to her strengths. Hermione is the perfect mix of confidence and femininity, and I love how selfless and loyal she is. I think I like her so much because I can relate to her… I’m totally a type A, firstborn perfectionist.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
I need lots of creative outlets–not just reading and writing. So I love to cook and bake, decorate and refinish/repurpose furniture. Recently I started re-teaching myself to play piano and it has been so much fun. I took years of lessons when I was a kid, but stopped playing twenty years ago. I love music and have always regretted that I didn’t continue to refine that skill. Now I’m relearning everything and loving it!
Where do you love to be?
Liberia. My husband and I founded a non-profit based in Liberia and we love to spend time there. I consider it my second home and long for it between visits.
Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
Yes. And it was very underwhelming. This person was my hero. I thought she was amazing in every way. Unfortunately, in person she came off as quite cold and arrogant, both face-to-face and during a series of presentations she gave. I try to give her the benefit of the doubt: maybe she wasn’t feeling well or was experiencing some private, personal tragedy when we met. But I can say that meeting her continues to serve as a reminder to me–I hope that no matter who I meet or what is going on in my life, I will treat people with dignity and respect and always remember not to take myself so seriously!
What’s the strangest job you ever had?
Working on a dairy. I wanted to be a veterinarian in college and worked for two years as a farm hand on a dairy. I milked cows, dehorned calves, gave immunizations, and drove a tractor. I loved it, but you have to picture me as a skinny, awkward little nineteen-year-old: I certainly didn’t seem like a typical dairyman. People never believe me when I tell them I worked on a dairy.
What’s your secret or not-so-secret superpower?
I can fall asleep in less than five minutes no matter where I am or what’s going on in my life. My husband resents this so much! It’s like I have a switch — I can turn off the world around me and find sleep anywhere.
GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by Noon (EST) on Friday, May 1st to win a copy of THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS. Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!
Nicole Baart is the mother of four children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, Sleeping in Eden. Find out more on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.