WKU professor kills his darlings in his 11th suspense novel

“Kill All Your Darlings” is the latest suspense novel by WKU English professor and USA Today bestselling author, David Bell. Photo courtesy of David Bell.

Debra Murray, Digital News Editor

A professor named Connor Nye passes off his presumably dead student’s manuscript as his own only to see the student later alive, suddenly threatening to expose him. Nye’s problems only worsen when the details of his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman, connect him to a past murder. 

“Kill All Your Darlings” follows Nye as he tries to prove his innocence and figure out if he should come clean about his first novel. 

No, this didn’t happen in Cherry Hall, it’s the plot of the book, “Kill Your Darlings,” the eleventh novel written by WKU english professor and USA Today bestselling author, David Bell.

While “Kill All Your Darlings” is not specifically inspired by WKU, Bell said the novel involves sexual harassment of students by professors which is “a problem at all academic institutions, and I hope the book sheds a light on this issue as it entertains.”

In Bell’s 13 years at WKU, he has published a suspense novel almost every year. His first novel, “Cemetery Girl,” was in 2011. The novel was awarded the Le Prix Polar International de Cognac for the best crime novel of the year in 2013. 

“I always wanted to be a writer to some extent,” Bell said. “I wrote some stories when I was a little kid and I wrote a little when I was in high school. I really didn’t get serious about writing until I was in my 20s and I was out of college. I really decided that I wanted to try to do this as a profession and get published.” 

“The Hiding Place” reveals how a town handles new evidence in a child’s murder. “The Request” follow a person offering to do a favor for a friend with no expectations of becoming involved in a woman’s murder. 

“The Request” is a suspense novel written by WKU professor and USA Today bestselling author, David Bell. The novel was the 10th suspense by Bell, published in 2020. Photo courtesy of David Bell.

“The inspiration always comes from a hodgepodge of places,” Bell said. “Sometimes there are real cases that I’ve heard about or read about that are some measure of inspiration for what I write.”

As a professor, Bell said he manages both teaching and writing by setting aside time each day to focus on each. 

Bell teaches several creative writing and english courses, and has helped students publish their own works. 

“A few have even gone on to publish books with major publishers,” Bell said. “But they are talented in their own right, and professors just have to guide them in the right direction.”

“I always make a detailed outline first, and I spend a lot of time making the detailed outline,” Bell said. “Then I made the first draft. I work on that a little bit and then it goes to my editor. There’s some more revising with my editor so the whole process takes 9 to 12 months, all things considered.” 

Bell uses social media and his website to host virtual events and communicate with his readers. 

“Being an author today pretty much requires someone to be on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter,” Bell said. “All of those things are exclusively devoted to talking about my books.” 

In honor of his new book, Bell will be speaking and signing copies for a Warren County Public Library event at the Capitol on Aug. 12, at 6 p.m. He will also be at several other local and national events that are listed on his website.

Digital News Editor Debra Murray can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @debramurrayy