WKU English professor releases new book, The Finalist


Courtesy of David Bell

Makaio Smith, Staff Writer

The Finalists is a chilling and profound look at the lengths both students and colleges will go to survive in a resource-starved academic world.’ The Finalist book description said. David Bell, an English professor at WKU, is the author of this recently published book.

On a beautiful spring day, six college students with nothing in common besides a desperate inability to pay for school gather to compete for the prestigious Hyde Fellowship. The competitive selection process for a prized college scholarship turns deadly in the latest thriller from USA Today bestselling author David Bell,” The Finalist book description said.The competitive selection process for a prized college scholarship turns deadly in the latest thriller from USA Today bestselling author David Bell.”

Bell shares his time with being an author and a professor. Besides being on campus, Bell finds time to write for himself daily.

“I always tell my students this, ‘You don’t have to write all 400 pages at one time, you just have to write a couple pages or a page a day,’” Bell said. “A little at a time gets the job done and that’s the way I’ve always approached it.” 

While usually the classes he teaches focus on how to write, Bell also tries to teach his students how the book writing industry works in case any of his students show interest in pursuing a career in the book industry.. 

“If someone is young and they’re thinking about maybe pursuing a career as a writer, they should know everything about it,” Bell said. “It is a business, it’s not just ‘Hey I sit back and I’m creative and I have a good time.’ It’s collaborating with other people, thinking about the marketplace, promoting yourself, and a lot of rejection.”

When teaching Bell talks about his own experiences that he’s had in the profession to his students. He does this so his students will have a full view of what it’s like to be a professional writer.

“When he speaks of craft or the industry, he does so with authority and experience,” Nancy Dinan, assistant English professor at WKU, said. “He shares this knowledge in a generous and nurturing way.”

Bell tries to challenge his students’ writing so that they aren’t writing how they have always written. He helps his students accomplish that by giving them exercises that challenge them to try something new. He also tries to let his students write freely and without a lot of restrictions.

“I think students should be allowed to write whatever they want to write,” Bell said. “ I just try to give them guidelines about what I think an effective story is.”

Bell knew he wanted to be an author from a young age since books have always been a part of life.

“When I was a kid my parents read a lot and took me to the library so I was always reading,” Bell said. “It really grew out of my love for reading and books. When I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, that was what I was most interested in.”

Bell didn’t know if he would enjoy teaching or want to teach but, while he was in graduate  school he found that he enjoyed teaching school. He liked the combination of teaching and writing at the same time. 

“Students are excited to take Dr. Bell’s classes,” said Dinan. “He’s a working writer, and prolific, as well, so the kind of model they hope to follow.

Makaio Smith can be reached at [email protected].