History professor releases second novel

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In the busy day-to-day hustle of classes, it is easy for many students to forget that their professors have research, projects and lives that they live outside of the classroom.
Unknown to many of students on campus, Carolyn Baugh, Ph.D., an associate professor in Gannon University’s history department, is a novelist who released her second novel in a suspense series on July 11.
The Nora Khalil Series follows a strong, independent American-born Muslim woman who works to keep cities safe as an FBI agent.
The first novel in the series titled “Quicksand” was released in 2015. In this novel, Nora tries to keep the city streets of Philadelphia safe while also attempting to honor the expectations of her Egyptian-American family.
After turning in the final drafts of “Quicksand,” Baugh’s publisher Forge, a division of the Macmillan Publishing Group, asked her to write a sequel.
The second novel in the series, “Shoreline,” picks up with Nora after she is assigned to the FBI office in Erie.
When a series of violent acts are committed by a well-connected group of domestic terrorists, Erie erupts into chaos, and the eyes of the nation are upon the city.
Nora and her team are challenged with the task of defusing the terrorist situation before the group goes national.
Although Baugh said that the character of Nora was not based on herself, many of the settings in the novels are from places Baugh knows well.
“To some extent you have to write what you know, so setting books in Cairo or Philly or Erie makes them feel more authentic to me,” she said.
Baugh also added that some of the snarky remarks coming from Nora are things that she might also say.
Baugh was inspired to write this fictional series due to the lack of strong, female Muslim characters in modern American fiction.
During her time at the University of Pennsylvania where she received a master’s and doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Baugh spent time getting to know many independent Muslim women who were products of Arab, Pakistani or Indian immigrant families.
“They were not only cool, tough Americans but also culturally Muslim — so Nora is what I imagined it would be like if a hybrid version of these women starred in an adventure/thriller,” Baugh said.
“Shoreline” embraces the current political environment with discussions inspired by the recent election and the fabric of our nation.
“I wanted people to worry about the fact that after Obama was elected there was an 800 percent rise in armed militia groups in this country,” she said. “I wanted people to worry about the nastiness of the national discussion on race and immigration during and since the recent election, and how that nastiness could potentially encourage these groups.
“So, yeah, it looks like I just wanted to stress people out as much as I was about the whole thing. So, I enlisted Nora’s help.”
Baugh said that she would not mind eventually writing another novel for the Nora Khalil series, if she is able to find time between teaching, publishing academic literature and being a dedicated mother.
For more information about the Nora Khalil series and Baugh’s other works, visit www.carolynbaugh.com.

OLIVIA BURGER
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