Area resident Robert Bailey debuted his first novel “Love and Murder on the Nolichucky” in early July.
Bailey said he’s been writing off and on his entire life. “I have a number of other books in the works, and this is just the first novel I’ve finished,” he said. “It’s not the last I hope.”
Bailey said his book is about a young couple, Sam Bradley and Charlene Gerard, and set in the East Tennessee area in the 1960s.
“They begin their journey as young lovers sustained by their mutual Cherokee spirituality,” he said. “The main character is Sam Bradley, and he’s had a fairly tragic life.”
Bailey said one of the young lovers will evolve into the suspected murderer of the other. “The question is, will one drop of Cherokee blood sustain them and help them survive,” he said.
In his first chapters, Bailey introduces the source of his characters’ Cherokee spirituality. “That Cherokee spirituality is kind of a focus throughout the book,” he said.
The book’s cover is a painting by local artist and close family friend Pepper Martin.
“She’s done some artwork for my wife previously, and at one time she did a painting for the annual art show at the Reynolds Homestead,” Bailey said. “It was a portrait of me, and I think it won public favorite.”
Bailey said that one lady told him that she would buy the book just for the pretty cover. “Which is kind of contrary to the old saying of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’” he said, chuckling.
About eight years ago, Bailey also published “Random Thoughts from the Gunkroom,” a book of poetry.
To help promote his book, Bailey has scheduled a series of readings and signings through early October. “I’ll read primarily from my poetry book, and just give a brief introduction to what ‘Love and Murder on the Nolichucky’ is about,” he said, adding that copies will be available for purchase at the signings.
He will be at the Blue Ridge Regional Library Stuart site on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and at the Reynolds Homestead on Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Bailey will also be one of more than a dozen authors present at the Sept. 17 Spencer Penn Book Fair. Other tentative dates have not finalized for Sept. and Oct.
Bailey’s novel is available on Amazon as a paperback and an e-book. His poetry book is available on from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Copies of both books can be found at the Stuart branch of the Blue Ridge Regional Library.