As Oak Bay author D.F. Bailey embarks on his eighth crime novel, he’s open to suggestions on a name for his female villain.
“The contest idea came about because I was trying to find a better way to engage directly with my readers,” said Don Bailey. “Email is a great one-way broadcast system to communicate with people, but often feedback doesn’t come back.”
To his surprise, the “Name the Lady Villain” contest caught quick attention and within two days he had dozens of entries. “The villain’s going to be a female so I thought, let’s put it out there. Some (suggestions) are what you might expect, like Cruella or Faustina, and I don’t want to be that transparent. But there have been some pretty interesting ones,” he said. “A character’s name has to reflect some kind of cultural sensibility. What I’m looking for is a name that suggests darkness in life and I think there are some out there we’re going to find.”
He’s also open to not using one of the suggestions, but figures with the numbers coming in there will likely be a winner – who gets a free copy of one of his books.
Bailey’s first novel came out in 1987 before the proliferation of the internet. “My first three books came out the traditional manner,” he said. They also garnered acclaim, awards and film options (that never came to fruition). Then around 2000 things changed, one publisher went into receivership and the other pared back operations.
“I thought, I’m not going to let the ebook defeat me,” he said.
Within two weeks the author was smitten with the e-reader he’d purchased. “I realized this little thing that fit in the palm of my hand could access pretty much any book that had ever been written,” he said. “It’s a total revolution in the way books are written, read, sold and so on.”
His last four novels have all been ebooks. The last three, Bone Maker, Stone Eater and Lone Hunter, comprise the Finch Trilogy, which came out in December. As he embarked on his fourth book in the Finch series, he embraced the side benefit of the internet – interaction with his audience – which grew into the current contest.
“Before, when I was strictly print, I had very little interaction with people who read my stuff. Now I get email and people post reviews on Amazon frequently. The writer-reader relationship is so much closer in the digital era than it was in the print era,” he said.
He plans to bring all seven books into hard copy this year and make them available on Amazon. Download the first book in his second crime series, Bone Maker for free at dfbailey.com.
Feb. 14 is the deadline to email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org to name the female antagonist.