Professor releases sixth novel

Whitney Allen

Beyond the four walls of the classroom, faculty members engage in their field through research and publications. David Bell is among those who practice what they preach.

Bell is a creative writing associate professor at WKU. 

Bell released “The Forgotten Girl,” his newest novel, last week. “The Forgotten Girl” marks the sixth novel from the professor. The thriller unveils a long-held secret about the disappearance of a young boy on the night of his high school graduation. 

Bell’s previous books are also thrillers.  

“They all tend to deal with ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances,” Bell said.

Bell has always been intrigued by mystery and crime. It’s an interest that meshed with his passion for writing.

“I always was interested in books and reading and storytelling,” Bell said. “At some point it made sense that I would try to write my own stories and get them published.” 

Bell’s process of generating an idea for a novel to its final revisions takes about a year. His interest in missing persons cases has helped inspire pieces of his stories along the way. 

“Sometimes I’ll take things directly from life and sometimes its just all wholly made up out of my head,” Bell said.

English Department Head Rob Hale noted Bell’s motivation. Hale said Bell’s “hunkering down” to write over breaks has allowed him to publish books at such a fast rate.

“He’s got an amazing work ethic, and that’s what it takes,” Hale said.

Bell has also taken this opportunity to give back. With the release of “The Forgotten Girl,” he held a fundraiser for Barren River Area Safe Space, a local domestic violence shelter. At the book launch at the Bob Kirby branch of the Warren County Library last week, $750 was raised for the shelter. 

Bell hopes to serve as an example for his creative writing students who aspire to become published authors.

“Hopefully they can see that they have a professor who is practicing what he preaches,” Bell said. “I do know something about writing and getting a book published. Maybe that gives me a little credibility with the students.” 

Along with being self-motivated, Hale said promoting the product is a key to success as a writer.

“(Bell) knows how to market his work really well,” Hale said. “To be a professional writer, you can’t just go hide in a cave and write your books. You have to help create an audience.”

Bell has spent the past week promoting his book regionally with book readings and signings at the local libraries in Cincinnati, Fort Knox and Louisville. 

Hale said he tries to create a schedule that is helpful for Bell to have time to write. 

“I think I’m lucky that my day job and my writing go hand in hand,” Bell said.

Bell has managed to find a balance between his books and his students.

“Sometimes you’ll get someone who’s a good writer and maybe an okay teacher,” Hale said. “Or a great teacher and an okay writer, but he excels at both of those.”