If you aren’t reading Robert Bailey’s books, you’re missing out in a big way.
Best known for his McMurtrie and Drake legal thrillers, Bailey’s latest novel, Legacy of Lies (a spinoff of that series), follows Bocephus “Bo” Haynes, a small-town attorney who takes on prejudice and corruption when a friend of his, who happens to be the District Attorney, is arrested following the murder of her husband—and he agrees to defend her in court.
Twisting and turning its way towards a stunning final act, Bailey’s latest offering falls somewhere between John Grisham and Robert Dugoni, and one thing’s for sure . . . if you enjoy either of those writers, you have to check this book out.
Just after Legacy of Lies was released (it currently has over 900 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.4/5 stars), Robert Bailey agreed to go on the record for our Five Questions segment, and I asked him about everything from how he came up with the story idea for this book to what his writing process is like and everything in between.
Check out the full Q&A below, then make sure to order your copy of Legacy of Lies, now available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
TRBS: First and foremost, I really enjoyed this book. It reads so fast and grabs you right out of the gate. I Was really blown away. How did you come up with the story idea for this one?
Bailey: Thank you! Legacy of Lies is a spinoff of my McMurtrie & Drake series. I wanted a compelling reason that would bring McMurtrie & Drake supporting character, Bocephus Haynes, back to his home town of Pulaski, Tennessee. Having Bo’s friend, prosecutor Helen Lewis (also a character in the prior series), charged with capital murder in her own county was the perfect vehicle.
TRBS: What sort of research did you have to do before actually sitting down to write?
Bailey: As I don’t do much criminal work and I don’t practice law in Tennessee, I had to do some research regarding the typical layout of a criminal trial in Tennessee as well as the sentencing guidelines for certain crimes that are mentioned in the story. Also, the book is set in the real-life town of Pulaski, Tennessee, and I visited Pulaski several times to make sure I had the correct names of streets, restaurants, etc.
TRBS: What is your writing process like? Do you outline, make it up as you go? Do you have a target word count you try to hit each day?
Bailey: I start with a fairly loose synopsis—a clear beginning, a general way I want the story to end, and a few subplots I want to explore in the middle. Then I just blow and go until I reach “The End.” I try to write the first draft of the story as fast as possible, knowing that I can always go back and tweak and fix things once I have a completed story. My target word count is 1,000 words a day when I’m writing a first draft. As I get closer to the end (and closer to my deadline-ha!), that count will typically rise.
TRBS: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what books are currently on your TBR list?
Bailey: I love Michael Connelly, C.J. Box, Stephen King, John Sandford, Greg Iles, John Grisham, Scott Turow, Harlan Coben, and Lee Child just to name a few. I’m anxious to read Connelly’s Fair Warning and Turow’s The Last Trial, both of which came out at the same time as Legacy of Lies.
TRBS: Lastly, what’s next from you?
Bailey: In October of this year, my first foray into inspirational fiction, The Golfer’s Carol, will be released from Putnam. The story features a man contemplating suicide, who is given a wonderful gift: four rounds of golf with his four heroes. The book mixes elements from It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and Field of Dreams. My next legal thriller, The Wrong Side (Bocephus Haynes #2) comes out in May 2021 from Thomas & Mercer, and I’m working on the manuscript as we speak.
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.