The six-foot-six sporty figure waiting for me in the lobby of St Lucia’s Bay Gardens hotel could not be missed. I immediately recognised Eliot Hartford Bailey though my more vivid recollection of him was of a plump baby thirty years previously.
He had come across for an interview from his tourism business-place in Rodney Bay; but someone’s Granny got to him before me, and was chattering away.
Hey I’ve got a plane to catch!
I didn’t really say that of course. Instead I let my mind drift back to the exquisite taste of the perfectly ripe julie mango that I had just lunched on; so all was well in my world.
Take your time lady; I’ll just chill.
She eventually shunted off and Eliot and I got chatting as we sunk into the plush sofas in the bright and airy hotel lobby.
He kept on his fashionable, dark wrap around sunglasses that cyclists favour. So still racing motorbikes? Not, he assured me, since breaking a full set of bones in a bad accident. Now his adrenaline-fix comes on four wheels, the sea and the basketball court (no surprise there).
This guy is an enigma: businessman, sportsman and now novelist. What makes him tick?
So Eliot, you are young, written a novel: Chasing a Miracle, and manage your own successful business; how come?
First there was the effort that my parents put into ‘growing’ me correctly. I always dreamed of being an entrepreneur and have had to work really hard at developing my business. But story-telling; well that came naturally. Life is really what you make it and I believe in working hard while you are young in the hope of achieving a better future. I am passionate about being a pioneer, being unique and making a difference.
Great recipe for success. Oprah Winfry once gave you a pep talk; didn’t she?
Yes, briefly long ago. Oprah loves St Lucia and named the island as one of the top five places you must visit before you die. She was here for the Jazz festival when I spotted her. Being quite young then, and bold, I walked straight through the crowd of what I now understand was her security to say hello. She could have ignored me but instead chose to have a conversation. She asked me my name; I answered her and followed it up with ‘I would like to be on TV like you one day’ – To which she replied: work hard, stay focused, nothing is impossible. If you believe, you can achieve (or something along those lines) and that was it.
You also got some advice from another but rather mysterious lady.
Yes, an unexplainable experience. One that opened my eyes to the universe, God and the energies that exist within this universe. I have always questioned everything and try to find answers for myself through dedicated research. During the writing of this book I was playing around a lot with a theory on ‘intelligent energy’ and how that fits into the whole idea of God as it has been presented to man in the past. I feel that questioning led me to be visited at my office by a lady whom I had never met or seen before. She claimed to have been sent by the Holy Spirit with a message from God himself… Needless to say this revelation shocked all of my staff members. After speaking with me for about 15 minutes, she left and not one of my staff (myself included) could remember what she looked like as soon as she walked out. This is over a year ago now and I have never seen nor heard from her again.
Wow, awesome! Was that a miracle?
I believe that people use the word ‘miracle’ too loosely nowadays and proclaim as miracles even occurrences that have clear scientific explanations. I do believe in miracles but I believe the true explanation is yet to be uncovered and that’s what this book seeks to investigate. It pits a scientist whose main focus is on debunking miracles against some cases that he just can’t seem to find a scientific explanation for; so he starts to widen his gaze.
St Lucia is noted for its strong engagement with the supernatural: its traditions of spiritually, its Catholicism and its Obeah; has that influenced you?
You know this is an interesting question that I never gave much thought to. But honestly, subliminally it could have influenced the topic of choice somehow in some-way.
Your novel has an interesting story-line with a refreshingly original take on miracles and the supernatural that many readers see as a fun read. What were you really trying to achieve?
I wanted to create an enjoyable story that was relevant to everyone and could touch or inspire. In this the first book in an intended trilogy of the same name, I sought to create a world and characters within that world who are totally believable and readers can relate to. Quite a few of the situations/occurrences are based on true events that have taken place around the world at different times. I was trying to achieve a story that could inspire people and give them hope … one that could cause them to question the events that take place around them on a daily basis and one that could grow into something bigger than just words on a page.
What next for Eliot H Bailey?
I am really appreciative for all the positive feedback from readers. I have been approached by a few people already in regard to writing the story into a screenplay but I am waiting for the right time or right person to come along before I jump on that. Good luck Eliot.
‘Chasing A Miracle’ is the debut novel of St Lucia born Eliot H Bailey www.eliothbailey.com published by Createspace October 2013 and distributed by Amazon.
Article by Edwin Laurent