Interview with Julia Bell

What is your writing process?
With the first draft, often frenetic. Once I'm absorbed in a story, I forget the time, forget to eat and other things. Characters, plots and chapters flow from me. Once the first draft is down, I can catch my breath and start on the second draft. That's when the really hard work begins.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
As a child I read a lot of Enid Blyton; The Famous Five etc. I remember writing to her and telling her that I wrote short stories. Her handwriting was terrible and I couldn't read it. My auntie had to decipher it. However, I went on to write historical romances rather than stories of adventure.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a wonderful illustrator who seems to be able to capture my ideas in the image. In my current book (available on Amazon very shortly), I actually included the image of a bride walking through garden gates in my story. I thought it an intriguing image and portrayed the essence of the story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I've enjoyed reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. The books I read tend to be like the books I write. Romances are character driven and although I like some action, I do like to get to know the folk in the story. I want to feel what they feel. The only books I've read that have not been historical romances are the Brother Cadfael stories by Ellis Peters. I bought the entire series. But as you've noticed, I still go for the historical stories rather than contemporary.
What do you read for pleasure?
I have forty books on my Kindle and about three or four printed books still to read. I'm attracted by the front cover and blurb if it's historical and hints at a mystery or tragedy in the story.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle. My son bought it and didn't like it, so I purloined it.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I like to have freebie days for my books. I think offering a book free allows a reader to get a 'taste' of my writing and stories. And it's great when I get sales from a free promotion.
Describe your desk
I sit in the corner of my living room which I proudly call my 'office'. I have a computer table more than a desk and to the side of me is a five-shelf bookcase holding all my research material and files containing my stories.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was a R.A.F kid so I did travel all over attending quite a number of different schools. I think being the 'new girl' continually, made me aware of the feelings of the folk around me. I had to adjust all the time to people's reaction to me, since I always seemed to be among strangers. I can read non-verbal behaviour and facial expressions very well. This was all an excellent apprenticeship for becoming an author.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote short stories as a child. I even managed to get one published in the junior section of the library magazine. Work and family then took up the next twenty years and I didn't start writing seriously until I was turned forty. Life begins and all that...
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book (due out very soon) is based on one of William Wordworth's poems. When Lucy ceased to be is a line taken from that poem and I thought it intriguing enough to tell the story of a girl called Lucy who loses her identity with dire consequences. And I used that line for the title of the book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When you're not published traditionally the next best thing is to become independent. To be able to get my stories out there for folk to read has been a wonderful experience.
Published 2016-02-23.
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