David Bell is the author of the new novel Layover. His other novels include Somebody's Daughter. He is an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University, and he lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Q: You've said you got the idea for Layover from an interaction you saw at the Nashville airport. How did that incident lead to the creation of your characters Morgan and Joshua?
A: I saw a man and a woman having a very intimate conversation at the bar while I was waiting for a plane. That's the great thing about being a writer...it's okay to eavesdrop and spy. Suddenly the woman stood up, kissed the man passionately, and left. When she was gone, I heard the man tell the bartender that he'd just met the woman in line at the gift shop, and he was never going to see her again. I had to write a story about that!
Q: The novel takes place in various locations, including airports. How important is setting to you in your work?
A: Setting, of course, is a huge component of any novel. Where we are affects us in all kinds of ways.
In Layover, the characters spend a lot of time in airports and planes and hotels, places that seem unreal in a way. You're not home, you're not at your destination. People are freer to share secrets and take risks in those kinds of places. There's also an abandoned amusement park, but I'll let the readers find out about that for themselves...
Q: How did you decide on your point-of-view characters for this novel?
A: It's Joshua's story, so it felt right for him to tell his portion of the story in first person. Since there are so many things going on that he doesn't fully understand, it made sense to give his very limited perspective.
But I also include the point of view of Kimberly Givens, the detective trying to figure everything out. She's a single mom and a little older than Joshua, so she gives the story a very different perspective as she juggles raising a child with investigating a disappearance.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?
A: That random, brief encounters can have enormous consequences. That everybody has a story or a secret, and when you see that person sitting next to you on a plane or in an airport you never know what's going on in their life. Also, Joshua is trying to figure out who he wants to be, and his experiences in Layover help clarify what the rest of his life is going to look like.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm hard at work in a new thriller tentatively called The Request. It's about a guy who tries to carry out a simple request for an old friend...and finds himself in more trouble than he could ever have imagined.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I'll be on tour for Layover in July, so follow me on social media and see where I'll be. I'd love to meet and talk to readers while I'm out on the road.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with David Bell.