Beneath the Covers Past

Dehanna Bailee Interview
 Review: True Nature

Onward and Upward
An Interview with Dehanna Bailee
By Suzie Housley
June 2001

Dehanna Bailee began writing while she was still in high school.  She used it as an outlet for  "teenage angst" that all youth experience. Once she graduated into the "real world", she fell away from her hobby of writing and worked mainly on surviving the reality of life.  It was not until she purchased her first computer a few years ago, she was once again greeted with a sense to create which was brought on by the blank white sheet of cyber paper.  It seemed to beckon and call to her, that she knew she alone could fill it with words. So, to answer its call, she began slowly with only little bits and pieces here and there, brief moments stolen in the quiet of the night. Ever so slowly, it started to develop from the small fragments of her ideas, until finally her first book was completed.

What motivated her into a writing career is based on her belief all of us carry stories within ourselves. We each live and breathe events, have images within our minds; it is only what happens to those thoughts, which makes us different. Others may sing, or dance, or draw their secrets. At this point in her life, the images have chosen to come out in the written word.  She enjoys the way that an idea grows and blossoms, the way the characters come to life beneath her hand. Also she enjoys the struggle in making point one and point two come together in the last chapter, twist a plot with the stroke of the key, or change an emotion with just the turn of the page.

She feels there are many benefits in being an ebook author.  For any who plan to have any international presence, while keeping in mind the inherent problems involved with shipping fees and currency exchange rates for a single book, the e-book option provides a reasonable answer for any author.  Also, the ability for consumers to have that certain "instant gratification" sensation in not having to wait for their book to arrive in mail.


Suzie Housley: Please tell us a little about the story - but don't give anything away.

Dehanna Bailee:  My book is a paranormal romance set in the modern era. The basic theme of the story is a young woman's search to find out why she has been plagued by seizures since her teens. The focus is mostly on the search for her cure, and the growing relationship between the two main characters.

It's a story about Kailen James and her search to find a cure for her affliction. Although she had been through the medical establishment, the doctors could find nothing physically wrong with her. She travels to New Orleans, and immediately falls in love with the city. During her stay there, she meets a gentleman by the name of Marc Foteneau. Although she questions his motives, she realizes he may be the only person who is able to take her to someone who could possibly help her. Kailen and Marc travel together into the backwoods of Louisiana, meeting several interesting characters along the way, where the truth she finds may not be what she wants to hear. Struggling with a reality without reason, Kailen soon finds she must battle with her own destiny, fighting for both her freedom and her own life.

Suzie Housley: What do you love most about being a writer?

Dehanna Bailee:  I think I like creating the story the best. It is a wonderful experience to be able to create something that others may one day find pleasure in. I like to 'live' the story as it grows and takes me with it. I appreciate how writing helps you to see the little things you might otherwise pass by in real life. I enjoy the respite that writing offers me from the everyday hassles of the 'real' world.

Suzie Housley: What is the greatest challenge you have faced in your career as an author

Dehanna Bailee:  For me, the greatest obstacle is probably my own self-criticism. I do not think anything I write will ever be completely finished; I could edit constantly. I never had much belief in my own ability and to place my work out there in the 'big bad world' has been a difficult thing. I mean, I think that writing is such a personal part of one's self, most writers probably have that feeling at least once. I suppose that is what motivates me to try to create something different then what is out there already. I just have to remind myself when I am feeling as if everything I wrote that day just needs to be thrust into my recycle bin, that there is no real wrong in writing fiction.

Suzie Housley: Who has influenced you the most in terms of developing your personal writing style.

Dehanna Bailee:  Honestly, I don't even know if I write with a style. I only write as is comes, editing the story later when the flow has ended. I find this works best for me. It is almost like watching a movie in my head and then writing a narrative on what I have observed. I try to write the story how I would enjoy reading it myself. I like detail about the area but not so much it drags on forever. I enjoy depth in a conversation, although personally I cannot stand it when the conversation just rambles, endlessly reciting every tiny detail. I believe the average reader can follow the flow and gist of the plot easily, even when given less information. I feel it gives the reader room to allow their imagination to roam.

Suzie Housley: Research is imperative in any novel, that is a given fact, but can you tell us what sort of research you had to do for this particular novel.

Dehanna Bailee:  Since I based this book in a place where I had once lived, I did not really have to do much research. The places I describe, and some of the events that take place, are things I have seen or experienced in my own life. I did do a small amount of investigation about seizures, and their effects, but that was only to touch on the subject enough to supply a realistic base.

Suzie Housley: What process do you go through in coming up with your main characters? (i.e., what they look like, their background, mannerisms, etc.)

Dehanna Bailee:  I try to pick up my characters mannerisms and traits from situations I see in real life. I try to remember things like the way a young child may drag their toes in the dirt when being reprimanded; or how animated a person becomes when they are really excited about something. Stance and facial expression say a lot how a person feels, and I try to place those movements into the characters as much as possible.

I try to base backgrounds on ones I am familiar with in my own life. I believe it would be somewhat difficult for me to write about a character in the corporate world. Most of my characters are low-paid struggling survivors. That is something can I can relate to and the biggest trait I try to pass along in my characters is their fallibility. 

They are far from perfect, nor will they ever attain perfection. I think it is easier to believe an imperfect character who makes mistakes and feels guilt and failure, than to have a strong character who never does anything wrong. I think that makes creating the character harder though for you have to try to make the solutions to challenges as real as possible.

In "True Nature" one of the main characters, Marc, was created first. Actually, the book started much differently when I first began, and although the flow was not working well from the original point of view, the character was strong enough to move into Kailen's story. I wanted him to be believable, wise in ways the world, and honorable. I knew how I wanted Kailen to be right from the beginning. I wanted a youthful personality, naïve, but strong enough to be able to handle the reality of the story. I wanted her attractive, but not vain or secure in her appearance, a natural beauty, unaware of her own assets and talents.

Suzie Housley: How do you work around your family obligations when writing. Do you have set writing times?

Dehanna Bailee:  Obligations - Boy, that is a big word. I write when the opportunity presents itself. My schedule can be very unpredictable. The demands of my family come first. I know there will be a time when I will be able to pursue my interests in more depth, but as of right now, my writing has to be secondary. I have found myself writing only a paragraph or two at a time, squeezing those last few moments out before I have to race off to do something else. Then at other times, I am up late into the wee hours of the night with my cat staring at me with this look on his face like, "Are you ever coming to bed?" I did try at one time to set up writing times, but right now, it is not going to happen. I really do not know if it is even possible to schedule one's creativity anyway. You write when you have time to write.

Suzie Housley: What are you are you working on next?

Dehanna Bailee:  I am currently working on two books.  The first one I have been putting most of my effort into right now is totally new romance. It hasn't been titled as of yet. I hope to get an excerpt up in the next few months at my web site with the first chapter, and hopefully, I will get some feed back. I do not want to give too much away since it is a somewhat far reaching idea to start out with. Let me put it this way; it has a woman biologist/scientist, heroes who could be called cowboys, and a little Jurassic Park-ish theme thrown in for full measure.

The second one, which is still in an outline lying on the floor, is the second book for the True Nature series. I have had a decent response from the first book so far, and hope to continue that story. I haven't settled on which characters I want to carry through, but I have the basic ideas mapped out. I am waiting until I can focus my full attention to that story. It is difficult to bounce back and forth between the two, plus do the other small projects I have right now.

Suzie Housley: Do you think you might like to write in another genre? If 
so which one?

Dehanna Bailee:  I like writing in the Romance genre. I like stories with that little bit of extra in there, the tension between the characters, the endless hope of finding that one true love. If I were to try to write in another genre, I honestly wouldn't even know where to begin. I guess I could try to do straight fiction, but even then I think I probably have romance in there somewhere anyway, so I better just stay where I am comfortable right now.

Suzie Housley: How much of your own personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Dehanna Bailee:  I think that some of my characters reflect my personality quite well. I like my characters to be basically good people, maybe confused, sometimes mean, even at times deeply ignorant, but still they are just people like you and me. I do draw some traits and habits from other people I meet or know, but overall, many of the deeper qualities I think are my own. I can write about hurt, guilt, and insecurity fairly well, for I have experienced those feelings many times in my own life. Just as I have experienced the sheer joy, bliss, and exhilaration that comes with living every day. I think you have to draw from your own experiences to create believable characters. There is only so much that can be made-up. To me, that means I need to know how bad it hurts to lose someone before I can accurately portray the feeling.

Suzie Housley: Was your first manuscript accepted or did you have to go back to the drawing board a few times?

Dehanna Bailee: I did not submit my manuscript to any conventional publishing company. I looked around for several months, checking into different companies and inquiring to other authors about the positives and negatives of both the conventional publishing and print-on-demand/ebook industries. After considering all my options, I chose to move directly into the print-on-demand/ebook industry.

The main thing, other than the heaping pile of rejection slips, which kept me from going into the conventional publishing arena, was the timeframe involved with submitting and waiting for replies. I did not want to wait for years and years just for the mere possibility of being accepted to some publishing house that really could care less about me or my work. Not that I have anything against conventional publishers, it just isn't my choice to go that direction right now. I have never really conformed to what society says "do or don't do", and I do not think I have any intentions of starting now. I have always blazed my own trail, maybe setting the woods on fire in the process, but still, I walk my own path in this life.  I knew coming into this game that there was some stigma about being a 'self-published' or independent author. I tried to prepare for the questions that might be asked, and of course, the closed doors from some book dealers. 

But overall, when it comes down to it, to me, it doesn't really matter what other authors think, or what the high and mighty conventional publishing houses deem, the only thing that matters is what the readers think. If they think it is a good book, if they are willing to put out their hard-earned money for this little known authors work, then that to me says it all. If one person says to me 'I really enjoyed reading your book' or 'Where's the next one?' I have done my job.  Lastly, before I get off this subject, I do want to add that I was very happy to find Great Unpublished. The staff there has been more than helpful, and very responsive, to me as an author. I searched several print-on-demand services, still do today as the new ones come available, but I have not found one to date that has offered me the services that I feel I need right now, other than GU. The best thing that I have personally observed about this publishing group is that they are willing to grow and move forward. They haven't just started this business with a basic idea and then let the cards fall where they may. They have continually shown a true desire to help the authors they are associated with, and regularly offer new programs and opportunities.

Suzie Housley: What comes first for you when writing a novel- story, character, or setting?

Dehanna Bailee: When I write I usually begin with the basic idea of the story. I mean, you 
have to start some place, right? It is important to me to understand the concept of the overall plot, know roughly where the story is going and how I am going to get there. I think it would be hard to just start with a couple characters and not have a good story behind them. Most of my ideas grow from something I have seen or read. It's like I will see something and kind of go, ‘Wow that would make a good book'.  I can then develop the characters around that basic premise, I feel once you have a good thread going the characters will show themselves. If I am working in a good groove, they might just jump in and say 'Hey, what about me here?' and I'll go, 'Oh, yeah, this will work', and the story moves along. I think it is a good thing to try to introduce a menagerie of characters in a story. I mean, you want to have the waitress, the cashier, the teller, and the idiot that cuts you off in traffic. I think that creates a solid base for the rest of the main characters. It helps you to strengthen their personalities in the eyes of the reader to have this natural interaction between different characters.

The setting usually just intermingles with the other two parts. I usually know roughly where I want to base a story in, like in the South, or in the country. However, for an exact location, that usually comes as I move deeper into the story. I don't want to tie a good story down by saying, 'Oh, I can't do that for it isn't done that way in this part of the country, or so forth.' I think that unless I am trying to create an exact area, or time, I need to allow myself the freedom for movement in the story line until I am completely sure where it is going.

Suzie Housley: Would you like to write in any other time period? Say historical or regencies or maybe fantasy?

Dehanna Bailee:  If I were to pick from those you listed, the one that would probably 
interest me the most to maybe write about one day would be fantasy. I think it would be wonderful to create all of the mythological and surreal characters that fantasy allows a writer the freedom to develop. The thing about that choice is I could really warp the ties to reality then. I don't know where I would go with that option, but I am sure it would be one heck of a ride.

Suzie Housley:   How can fans get in touch with you? 

Dehanna Bailee:  I would love to hear from any of my fans.  They can contact me through the following:


Web Page:


TRUE NATURE by Dehanna Bailee 
Great Unpublished- March 2001
ISBN:  1588981851- Paperback 
$15.00 US

Reviewed by  Suzie Housley,

Dehanna Bailee’s unique storytelling ability shines through in her debut novel True Nature.  Readers will quickly be entranced by the hardships and triumphs experienced throughout this novel.

Orphaned at a young age due to a plane crash, Kailen Jame’s life has been no bed of roses.  Suffering from incurable seizures, she is determined to seek out a cure to rid her of the mysterious disease that plagues her life.  Her research leads her to the dark mysterious city of New Orleans.  When she learns of a woman, who lives in a remote parish, who may possess the knowledge needed to help solve the mystery of her illness she asks Marc Foteneau to guide her to the unfamiliar territory.  Hoping her journey will be successful; she is unprepared for the feelings, which are quickly developing between her and Marc.

Marc Foteneau volunteers his services to be a guide to Kailen James.  He is determined to help lead Kailen to the answer, which he hope will be the cure for her puzzling disease.  In Kailen he sees the woman who has the power to make his future complete.  Will he be able to cure Kailen and create a future for them?

True Nature is a beautiful example of two heart felt characters whose lives are filled with many obstacles and challenges which prevent them from their ultimate destiny.  Readers will bask in the glory when these two memorable characters become one.  The gripping emotions will have you shedding tears when this one ends.


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