I first learned of Author D. F. Bailey when I read his book Bone Maker, which was featured on Book Cave. This book is the first in his Will Finch series—thrilling mysteries with twists that will keep you guessing and breathless until the end.
Books by D. F. Bailey
Will Finch Trilogy
A Chat with D. F. Bailey
Book Cave: Okay, to start off, let's talk about the bonus book you've given us to offer to readers on Book Cave: Fire Eyes. Tell us a little about it and what inspired it.
F. Bailey: I wrote Fire Eyes after I’d worked for over two years in a child psychiatric hospital. The main character, Billy Deerborn, is a sort of composite of several patients I encountered. The first lines of the story came to me following a sleepless night that I’d spent volunteering at the local Crisis Line. The process was dream-like. Surreal.
Book Cave: What was your favorite part of Fire Eyes to write?
F. Bailey: The favorite part is always the same for me no matter what I’m writing. Once the narrative feels as though it’s alive, I enter a near trance-like state, and the book begins to write itself. The characters speak and the action unfolds with a sort of internal inevitability. It’s a marvelous, other-world experience. And quite addictive.
Book Cave: Interesting. I'm really excited to read it. Okay, here’s the question you knew I was going to ask: how did you start writing? And how long ago?
D. F. Bailey: I started writing when I was nine or ten. On rainy days, or when I was bored, I’d sit in my room writing little non-fiction “books” on a variety of topics—for example, how the universe started. I wrote my first novel when I was twenty-five and another when I was twenty-eight. They were never published (and never will be). They served as my apprentice novels, part of the 10,000 hours you spend in order to learn how to do anything worthwhile.
Book Cave: Haha. I think a lot of authors have novels like those hidden away. Can you tell us a little about your writing process and what a typical day looks like?
D. F. Bailey: After breakfast and a read through the newspaper, I wander over to my home office and begin to write around 10:00. I usually review the previous day’s work and make edits as I go. Then I pick up the threads of the narrative and plow forward and usually write for about two or three hours. After lunch I might take a walk to a local cafe and write there for another hour. In the evenings I tend to deal with the publishing part of my life—social media, cover designs, marketing and sales—or occasionally press on with the writing itself.
Book Cave: That sounds like a good, productive process. How does your family feel about your writing?
D. F. Bailey: You’d have to ask them, but I think they take some pride in what I do.
Book Cave: Okay, let's take a closer look at your style of writing. What do you think most characterizes your writing?
D. F. Bailey: I write what I call Psychological Realism. The prose style is very lean, but not minimalist. I purposely avoid literary similes and artifice, which I find distracting. My goal is to create a reading experience in which the words become invisible and readers feel they are immersed in the story as if they are living it.
Book Cave: Have you ever borrowed from real life for your books?
D. F. Bailey: Oh yes. Every novel is based on real life—either mine or someone I've encountered. My most autobiographical novel is Healing The Dead.
Book Cave: Do you ever get writer’s block?
D. F. Bailey: Yes. I encountered writer’s block a long time ago when I tried to “force” a new novel by trying to write a best-seller using a plotted approach that was entirely mapped out. Instead of discovering the novel, I tried to invent it. Big difference. The novel failed—just ran out of juice—and I went through a lapse of 15 years between publishing my third and fourth novels. But that period was also a busy time for me as the father of two children carrying a full-time job.
Book Cave: Wow, that's a long time. What did you do to work past it?
D. F. Bailey: Eventually I felt the urge to write again. I wrote The Good Lie purely on instinct with no idea where it was headed. Finally I trusted my artistic intuition again. That, I suppose, is my muse.
Book Cave: Well, I'm certainly glad you started writing again. What book are you working on now?
D. F. Bailey: I’m writing Death Shadow, the fourth book in a crime novel series that begins with The Finch Trilogy. I guess I’m about halfway through a first draft.
Book Cave: An author's writing is often influenced by the books they read. What do you like to read in your free time?
D. F. Bailey: I’m an omnivorous, promiscuous reader. Fiction, non-fiction, how-to books, poetry, and tons of magazine articles. Right now I’m very fond of Michael Connolly and Martin Cruz Smith. I read all their stuff. Also Patricia Highsmith.
Book Cave: Impressive lineup. So, if you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
D. F. Bailey: I taught creative writing at the local university and became a program coordinator in the fine arts faculty for 22 years. Apart from office politics, it was as close to an ideal job as I could hope for.
Book Cave: Okay, since we offer ebooks here at Book Cave, we're always curious to know, do you read ebooks or print?
D. F. Bailey: I read both. I also collect autographed first-edition fiction. It took me a long time to come around to digital books, but within two weeks of purchasing a Kindle, I realized that this small tablet with its little glass window provided a link to virtually every book that has been published. In minutes I can download almost any text from Homer to John Grisham.
Book Cave: What do you think might be the future of reading/writing?
D. F. Bailey: I think ebooks will become the norm within the next ten years. Specialty texts and collectibles will still find their way into print, but I expect the advances in digital books will continue and the benefits will be embraced by most readers and become their preferred medium.
Thank you for taking some time to tell us about your life and your writing, D. F. Bailey.
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