Interview with Shaun Bailey

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Flint, Michigan and raised in nearby Grand Blanc Township. This influences my writing tremendously, because it's the root of both my fascination with boomtowns and my affinity for the environment, respectively. I studied the latter at Michigan State University, and it was there I began studying authors' work, meeting would be authors, and writing in my senior year. Greater Flint is also where I adopted the blue-collar work ethic of my grandfather, father, uncles and cousins, almost all of whom are current or former autoworkers. And it's where Author, Ben Hamper showed me even a local rivethead can strike a chord with millions of readers.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favorite books are John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath", "Cannery Row", and "The Pearl"; Pietro di Donato's "Christ in Concrete"; and Stephen King's "The Shining".

I enjoyed these books so much because they chronicle working-class folks struggling to survive despite compelling vices, and in entertaining fashion.

Is this not why we as a species tell stories?
What do you read for pleasure?
I often find myself reading books as research, so it's a rare treat to actually read for pleasure. Recent examples include Michael Punke's "The Revenant" and my first crime novel: Dennis Lehane's "Live by Night." But in my opinion, nothing cleanses the palate quite like a story by John Steinbeck.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was inspired to become an independent author by the punk band Fugazi. The reason is they rejected mainstream record labels for the sake of their fans' wallets, among other reasons. Yet they were highly successful by virtue of their superior art. I take comfort in this, perhaps because my career's origin is rooted in grassroots marketing and communications.
How do you approach cover design?
I believe a book cover is a work of art one uses to sell the art which lies beneath. This is why I hired a professional whom I asked to seek inspiration in Diego Rivera's world-renowned murals entitled "Detroit Industry", as seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The reason is I felt Rivera's murals conveyed the mix of artistic styles I was seeking. These include the machine aesthetic; the Southwest, site of the Hoover Dam; and Southeast Michigan, where my roots run shallow but strong.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing the summer before my senior year of college. This followed a chance encounter with an Australian student to whom I lent my desktop computer. Little did I know he needed it to write short stories. It was during this friendship that I realized my generation had its own stories to tell, and they could come from unexpected people and places.
Describe your desk
My desk is simple, like the Amish craftsmen who built it in nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It measures about five feet long by three feet wide, it's made of oak, and it has a cabinet for a PC tower that is empty, much like its surface. Instead it's home to a laptop computer, an additional keyboard, and a placemat for the many meals required to craft long-form stories.
Published 2017-07-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mud Puddlers
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 77,370. Language: American English. Published: June 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Historical » USA
William Black isn’t content pouring Hoover Dam's concrete. He’s more concerned with running an underground lottery complete with runners, middle men—the works. The only thing standing in his way is the boomtown's mayor. He'd love nothing more than to send Black to the very back of the bread line, or worse. He could cement Black's legacy as a warning to every gangster intent on creating Sin City.