Each of his novels has a different industrial or commercial setting and includes, in addition to dramatic human conflict, carefully researched information about the way that particular environment and system functions and how these affect society and its inhabitants.
Critics often dismissed Hailey's success as the result of a formulaic "potboiler" style, in which he caused an ordinary character to become involved in a crisis, then increased the suspense by switching among multiple related plot lines.
Hailey would spend approximately one year researching a subject, followed by six months reviewing his notes and, finally, about 18 months writing the book.
Many of his books reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and more than 170 million copies have been sold worldwide in 40 languages. Many have been made into movies and Hotel was made into a long-running television series. Airport became a successful film with dramatic visual effects.
A Canadian citizen whose children live in Canada and California, Hailey made his home in Lyford Cay, an exclusive residential resort on New Providence Island in the Bahamas with his second wife Sheila.
In 2002, Hailey told John Marquis, editor of the Bahamas' principal daily newspaper The Tribune, that he was lucky in having supportive parents who encouraged him to believe in himself. Brought up in a working-class home, Hailey never lost the common touch following his phenomenal success. 'I have worked hard, but I have also been very lucky,' he said.
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