For this latest work, Baker was selected the “Writer on Tour” by the Florida Literary Arts Council and will be hosted at Florida colleges in the coming fall and spring.
The idea for The Education of Nancy Adams (2014, Ice Cube Press) came to Baker in St. Augustine, in 1990 while visiting his parents’ home when he saw the graduating class photos of two high schools. One was entirely filled with black faces, the other white. Eight years later he had finished a draft about a high school and its issues of race, gender, bullying, economics and sexual tension. Years later he started a rewrite, switching the narrator to a woman, 37-year-old Nancy Adams, who returns to her Florida hometown high school 20 years after graduation to teach after a disappointing marriage and death of her spouse. Her new boss was her teacher back in 1976, a man she adored. He is married now, she is a childless widow. Nancy Adams is a fascinating personality, “I like to shoot things. That scares some men. A woman with a gun. Too bad it never scared the men it should have."
Although Baker has been publishing short stories since he was a teenager, he was 50 before publishing his first novel. His books include Love and Other Delusions (Ice Cube Books, 2012); A Good Man (Ice Cube Books, 2009); which is a Florida-themed novel that was nominated for "Book of the Year" by the Southeast Independent Booksellers Association; Athens/America (First Coast Books, 2005) and Flamingo Rising (Knopf, 1997), another Florida-themed novel that was one of three finalists for the Barnes and Noble "Great New Voices" award for 1997, a Los Angeles Times "Top 100" book for 1997, and chosen by the Iowa Center for the Book to represent Iowa at the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington. Flamingo Rising was adapted for a Hallmark TV movie in 2001.
Prior to getting his Ph.D. in English, in 1986, Baker’s resume included: a Pizza Hut manager, Pinkerton security guard, emcee at a strip club, ad salesman, sports reporter and hotel desk clerk. He also owned and operated movie theatres throughout Oklahoma and Texas for 15 years.Baker is currently an adjunct instructor of American History at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has lived in Iowa City, Iowa, for the past 30 years where he has played an active role in his community. He and his wife are the parents of two adopted children from Korea.
Meet this “colorful” visiting author and learn more about his work, writing and life experiences at this is a free event made possible by the generosity of the Friends of the Library. Books will be signed and copies are available to purchase.