SILOAM SPRINGS – “Not Our Summer”, a new book by author Casie Bazay takes place partly in the Siloam Springs area.
Bazay used Siloam Springs as the home of Becka Cowles, one of the main characters in the book, as well as her grandfather, Eli Walker, whose will states that Becka and her distant cousin KJ Walker of Colcord, Okla., Are to visiting several places around the nation during their summer vacation in order to claim their legacy, Bazay said.
The author has stated that not only are the two characters from Siloam Springs, but also that certain scenes in the book take place there. Bazay said she used Cathy’s Corner and Pour Jons restaurants as the backdrop for the scenes in the book.
Bazay has lived in Northeast Oklahoma her entire life, so she has passed through Siloam Springs several times, she said.
In 2020, Bazay stopped by Siloam Springs to research locations for “Not Our Summer,” she said. The author testified that she visited Pour Jons and the surrounding area.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pour Jons lobby was closed to the public, but Bazay said she had her coffee at the window and went to Twin Springs Park to drink her drink.
Bazay was unable to visit Cathy’s Corner but researched the menu and tried to describe the restaurant accurately, she said.
With Pour Jons, Bazay went to see the high school and also went to Colcord to get a feel for this city.
“I wanted to see the distance between the cities,” said Bazay, a native of Porter, Okla.
Bazay was once an English teacher, but decided to become a stay-at-home mom in 2010, she said.
When Bazay made the decision to stay home, she started freelance work focusing on horses, she said.
Although she devotes a lot of her time to her books, Bazay still works as a freelance and talks about horse health care as well as the balance between writing and motherhood and creative writing for teens, according to casiebazay.com.
“Not Our Summer” is Bazay’s first published novel, but not the first she’s written, Bazay said.
The author started submitting books to different agents, she said.
When she ran out of agents to submit a book, she started at the top of the list with another book. Eventually, she found an agent and publisher willing to take on “Not Our Summer,” she said.
The book was released on May 11 and was number 1 on Oklahoma’s bestseller list, Bazay said.
The list was published in The Oklahoman on May 23 and is based on the total number of book sales at Best Books in Edmond, Okla .; Brace Books and More in Ponca City, Oklahoma; Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City; and Magic City Books in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the list shows.
Her next novel will be set elsewhere, but Bazay has said she could revisit the area if she decides to write a sequel or spin off of “Not Our Summer.” After the release of “Not Our Summer”, Bazay said she took a short break from writing to focus on the release.
On June 26, Bazay will be the keynote speaker at a conference for young adult novelists at Bookish in Fort Smith, she said.
While not scheduled for signings in the area, Bazay said she would like to have a signing in Siloam Springs.
“I hope this book inspires young adults to keep reading,” Bazay said.
Marc Hayot can be contacted by email at [email protected] .