Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. In 2016, her debut novel,’It Started At Sunset Cottage’, was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Her novels are often serialised in four parts ahead of the full book publication. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).
- To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
Hi *waves* Thanks for having me on your blog.
I live in Warwickshire with my husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. I have been jotting down stories as far back as I can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that I finished a full length novel. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s new writer’s scheme and after meeting my editor at the RNA conference I was lucky enough to sign with HarperCollins. My debut novel was published in February 2015 and since then I have had four best sellers and two novels short listed for the RNA Contemporary Romance Novel of the Year.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
My first thought is to include my favourite authors – Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson. However, these are all in the same genre and the joy of a book club is being able to read a variety of authors. So I would also invite Gail Honeyman because I loved ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ and A.J. Pearce who wrote Dear Mrs Bird for the same reason. I might invite B.A. Paris because her writing is brilliant but she’d have to promise not to scare me. Can I throw in Gary Barlow too? I know technically he’s not an author but there was an autobiography and he is rather lovely.
- Is there anything that you would change about your writing journey?
I would have started it a lot earlier. I never thought for a moment that people like me became authors so it was just a hobby for many years. If only I’d known I didn’t suck at it I could have been doing the job I love for much longer.
- What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
It’s from ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music’ by Jane Lovering – “You know you’re in for a bad day when the Devil eats your last HobNob”.
- What’s your favourite book of all time?
One? Just one favourite book? That’s mean. Okay, let’s go with ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’.
- If you could rewrite any book, what would it be?
‘The Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel, because I loved the story until the last section when it brought the whole tiger experience into question. I’d end it where the tiger walks away.
- What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
The shiny new idea stage where there are lots and lots of post-it notes.
- Why did you decide to write female fiction?
It wasn’t a conscious decision it’s just where my characters took me and my publishers put a label on it.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
‘Harry Potter’ omnibus edition if there is such a thing but if not book 3 ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ and the latest Jill Mansell novel because I always save her books for holidays.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
I think specifics will be personal to each writer but I believe all writers can benefit by surrounding themselves with like minded people. Only other writers know what it’s like and they are an incredibly supportive bunch. So my advice is to look up organisations for your genre and local groups and seek out your tribe.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
Plenty of custard creams.
- And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website.
My new novel ‘A Walk in Wildflower Park’ is out on 27th June and will be available from Amazon. It’s my fifth romantic comedy and I can’t wait to hear what readers think.