Ketchup on Eggs by Grace Bailey is shortlisted for the 2022 Author of Tomorrow, 16-21 years.
Ketchup on Eggs: Joseph has some habits that he would rather keep hidden, but his usual coping mechanisms aren’t working like they used to. When he goes on a nerve-wracking date at his old workplace, Joseph is faced with an old enemy that knows what he is hiding. Afraid of his own body, Joseph must break the cycle of his habits to fix the cycle, but he doesn’t know if that’s even possible. His compulsions are always there, waiting for him to let his guard down when he’s vulnerable, and Joseph seems to be a little extra vulnerable lately.
An Interview with Grace:
WNSF: What is your favourite book?
Grace: My favorite book for the longest time has been A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I’m in love with the absolute beauty of that book from the prose to the pictures, and I’m moved to ugly tears every time I read it. Since I am a book fanatic, I also have runner up favorites that I have to mention here (and in every conversation I have): The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and The Gentleman by Forrest Leo.
WNSF: Who is your favourite author? Or one who has inspired you and why?
Grace: I will literally buy anything Brandon Sanderson writes. His world building is world-renowned, but I wish he would write quicker (waiting on that last Mistborn book, my good sir!). Anyone who knows me has probably been recommended a Sanderson book. (Speaking of, have you ever read…)
WNSF: What was your favourite subject at school?
Grace: My favorite subject in high school was statistics but mostly because of my awesome teacher Mr. Kovac. (Hi, Kovac!) He never made me feel stupid and always made me feel like he was in my corner, and he deserves every happiness. Any class with a teacher like that will be your favorite. Upwards and onwards.
WNSF: What does ‘adventure writing’ mean to you? Why did you choose to try your hand at an adventure story?
Grace: Oftentimes we think of adventure as a brave explorer in the depths of a jungle or a strong hero that journeys to save the fate of mankind or something like that. Those stories are just as wonderful as anything else, but sometimes we forget the smaller adventures we face in day to day life. Sometimes a nerve-wrenching date is our adventure for the day, and that’s just as exciting as a jungle excursion and just as worthy of words.
WNSF: If you could ask an author anything, what would you want to know?
Grace: I feel like Joe Abercrombie has some interesting music taste, so I’d ask for a playlist. (But like, his real playlist, you know?)
WNSF: Who would you consider one of your heroes and why?
Grace: I think I’m still looking for my hero, but I know what I look for in heroes. It’s when you don’t say “I told you so” even though you were right, when you keep looking at the person who was interrupted, when you give Grace Bailey your playlist, or when you give up your last french fry even if you really really want it.
WNSF: What is the most adventurous thing you would like to do, or place you would like to visit and why?
Grace: I want to go on a hot air balloon ride so bad! Specifically, a festival - that way I can see the whole sky erupt in color. Just imagine a hundred balloons in the air and the feeling of being a part of something much bigger than yourself. Then I would drop one hundred pieces of paper that say “I know what you did” and die laughing.
WNSF: Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Grace: I find inspiration in what makes me feel. What makes my heart hurt? What makes my head spin in happiness? What makes me laugh so hard my stomach aches? What makes me tense my shoulders in anxiety? If my emotions can be moved by my own words, hopefully others will feel the same, because feeling - in horror of sounding cliche - is what makes you remember you’re still alive.
WNSF: If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
Grace: Simple. I would time travel to later today so I could get Mexican food faster. I will bend space and time to get my enchiladas. More seriously? I would go back to when my mother was a scared and lonely child so she could have a friend in her life that remembered she was there. Then, I would take her to get tacos.
WNSF: What three words would you use to describe your story?
Grace: Relevant. Inclusive. Compelling