We asked 2023 Texas Book Festival Author Chandler Baker a few questions about herself and her featured Festival title Cutting Teeth.
TBF: Why did you write your featured book? (What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?)
CB: “I came up with the idea for Cutting Teeth at a time when I was feeling very drained by motherhood, nibbled away by the demands of raising two small children. My kids are four and a half years apart, so around that time I’d been starting to regain some independence as my daughter was approaching five, my son was born and I felt like I’d been pulled by the hair back into babyhood and subsequently toddlerdom. It felt like such a paradox. How could I be willing to do anything for these two children who I found so magnificent but who also drove me to exhaustion and madness? So I had the idea of little kids who crave their parents’ blood and, almost as if the writing manifested it, my son became the dreaded class biter. Truly, he was never mad or doing it out of anger, but he just developed a taste for human flesh one day and he was like a shark in the water. The book is dedicated to him and he was a huge source of inspiration as I worked on it.”
TBF: What is the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? What did you love about it?
CB: “Sign Here by Claudia Lux – I love authors who take big, creative swings, and who are willing to lean into a weird idea. In Sign Here, the character, Peyote Trip is literally narrating from the mundanely irritating bowels of hell. His voice is just pitch perfect. It is both very dark and very funny. My book club had a great time debating the ending, which is always a good sign.”
TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading and who gave it to you? What inspired your love of reading/writing?
CB: “The first book I remember reading was The Hobbit. I’d listened to the book on tape literally dozens of times before I first picked it up. My dad gave it to me. He’s a voracious reader and I took after him. I also had an elementary school librarian who made a point to always pull me aside and keep me in a steady supply of books she knew would pique my interest. I was an early and intense reader back then!”
Chandler Baker lives in Austin with her husband and toddler, where she also works as a corporate attorney. She is the author of several young adult novels and her adult debut, Whisper Network, was a New York Times bestseller and Reese’s Book Club pick. The Husbands was a USA Today bestseller and a Good Morning America Book Club pick. Cutting Teeth is her third novel for adults. You can see Baker at the 2023 Texas Book Festival this November 11–12!