South Tampa News Story
Tuesday, May 16, 2006 7:14:00 PM
by Ann Baker
|Reporter Sarah Rothwell recently featured a story on author Ann Baker in the South Tampa News.
Life Inspires Art
Published: Mar 29, 2006
Baker, a Tampa law enforcement deputy, drew from real-life experiences when writing the 274-page novel.
“Writing this book was a way to demonstrate what the world of law enforcement is really like,” she said, relaxing at her Port Tampa home after three 12-hour shifts at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Baker, 48, said her work for the county inspired her to write the book. Friends and colleagues evolved into the story’s characters.
Baker has worked as a dispatcher, traffic homicide investigator and is now a deputy for the department.
“It’s an interesting profession,” she said. “With a lot of crime novels out there, the research is terrible. I wanted to write something entertaining but without all the sensationalism in other books.”
Baker said writing never interested her as a child. She was born in Knoxville, Tenn., and raised in South Florida, where she said her life was disrupted by domestic violence.
Looking for a fresh start, she joined the Navy after high school and became an intelligence specialist stationed in the California desert.
While in the Navy, she met and married her former husband.
The two purchased a Tampa home in 1982 and decided to raise a family. Baker left the Navy to home school her four children. The oldest is now 23 and the youngest 15. She considers their education her proudest accomplishment.
Before Baker entered law enforcement, an English teaching position at Bay View Baptist School led her to discover her passion for fiction. On a whim, she decided to write a play for the school’s drama department.
The positive response from family and friends encouraged her to continue writing.
For many years, writing was mainly a hobby for Baker. Then she took a job as a dispatcher at the sheriff’s office.
She enjoyed the fast-paced profession and wanted to expand her knowledge of the law. In 1997, she enrolled at the Tampa Law Enforcement Academy at Hillsborough Community College.
At night, Baker transferred her experiences to the page. The Morgan McGhee character soon developed.
Like Baker, the character struggles in a difficult marriage and, after a long absence from the workforce, is excited to begin a new career in law enforcement. Unlike Baker, she is a murder suspect and the subject of an eerie stalker.
“People really enjoy reading and I enjoy writing about valid issues in an entertaining way,” Baker said.
She finished the book in 1998 and began shopping for a publisher. She sold the rights to Alpha Publishing but the company stalled printing.
In 2004, the company filed bankruptcy and, frustrated by the situation, Baker decided to start her own publishing company, Avanti Books. She said it was relatively easy and inexpensive.
She bought back the rights for “No Coincidence,” and the first printing consisted of 500 copies.
Baker is already working on the second installment in the Morgan McGhee series, and said the character will become a traffic homicide investigator.
She hopes to spread awareness about issues in the field.
“I think (traffic homicide) is an overlooked area in law enforcement,” she said. “The news largely disregards it because there are no guns involved, but it is heartbreaking for the families.”
Baker said she also hopes to tackle nonfiction and publish the manuscripts of other local writers.
Her paperback novel is available online at BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com and Avantibookpublishing.com.
Article found at: http://southtampa.tbo.com/southtampa/MGBH27TQDLE.html