Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Real-Life Author Interview: Angela Bell

I'd like to introduce my good writing friend, Angela Bell! :) She is a homeschool graduate and lives with her family and 3 dogs in Texas! :) You can got to her wonderful blog here.
So, Angela, it's great to have you here on the Inkpen Authoress! How are you this fine morning? :)

I'm doing quite well. Thank you for having me!
Tell us a little about your latest writing project!

Right now, I am working on a science fiction novel currently titled The Remnant. It's a sequel to my first completed manuscript and follows my heroine, Yakira, as she struggles to trust a power she cannot see in order to save her planet from an ancient enemy.

What is your number one, brilliant piece of advice for other aspiring authors?

My number one piece of advice would be to learn the writing craft. Study books about writing rules and techniques, maybe see if there's an author/writer in your area who would be willing to meet with you and share their wisdom, and read as many good fiction books as you can, both classics and new releases. Once you've learned the basics, if you're serious about pursuing publication, attended writer's conferences. Writer's conferences are expensive, but the wealth of knowledge and chance to pitch your story to editors and agents is well worth it. Plus, you get to meet other writers! :-)

Are you seeking to become a published author yourself, or do you write for fun?

My writing started out as a hobby and then over time developed into a passion. I am now pursuing publication and dream of seeing one of my books in print!

How do you get inspiration for your stories?

There isn't a particular thing that I do to get story inspiration. I just sort of live life, pay attention, and take notes. Historical people and events, lessons and experiences from my own life, and scripture have all inspired my stories over the years.

Are your characters inspired by real-life people, your imagination, or a little of both?

A little of both. Some of my characters are loosely based on friends, family, or people I have observed in various places. Other characters reflect different sides of my own personality, and the rest are pure imagination. :-)

Do you have a favorite spot to write? (If you have to sit at the computer desk you might just skip this question! :D)

I hope one day to have my own office dedicated to writing. It would have an antique desk, shelves lined with books, and a large bay window so I could gaze at my beautiful garden when the words refuse to come. However, that office is still a dream, so . . . I write on my bed with my computer perched on a cushioned lap desk. ;-)

Do you work best in peace and quiet or with background noise and action?

When I write I need total silence in order to concentrate. However, I can’t sit still for too long or my creativity becomes stagnant. After working a few hours, I usually take a break and move around to revive my imagination.

Which area would you say you're strongest in as a writer? Plot, dialog, characterization, action, showing vs. telling, description, etc?

I think my strengths would be Showing vs. Telling and staying in one Point of View at a time.

Which area is hardest for you?

Plot. I organize the events of a book on worksheets, but I have to constantly return to my notes to remember what's supposed to happen next. And I usually have to make plot changes during the writing process because my first idea either wasn't the best or wasn't plausible.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

This list could go on forever, but I will limit myself to the first five that come to mind. Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Bryan Davis, and Frank Peretti.

Do you agree with the old adage, "Write what you know"?

To an extent, yes. You should definitely be familiar with what you're writing about (history, emotions, story world, etc.) so that it feels real to the reader. However, if authors limited themselves only to what they knew, then we would miss out on fanciful stories like The Chronicles of Narnia or Winnie the Pooh. Knowledge is good, but no story is worth reading if it is void of imagination.

Any tried and true tips as far as technique goes?

One helpful technique that I've recently learned is the Cause and Effect rule. For example, "Rachel shivered as the cold wind blew." The cause and effect in that sentence are out of order. The cold wind blowing (cause) should come before the shivering (effect). So the sentence should go like, "As the cold wind blew with a fierce howl, Rachel shivered." See the difference? That attention to detail is what separates good writers from great writers. :-)

What is your remedy for Writer's Block? :)

I have a couple tricks to chase away writer's block. 1. Play the What if Game? - What if this happend? What if my character did this? Etc. I play around with different "what ifs" until I find the scenario that works best. 2. Randomness - My writing mentor, Teri Dawn Smith, gave me a game cube with different letters on it. If I get stuck, I roll the cube and then come up with ideas based on the letter I rolled.

And now for your last, and most challenging question: Why is a raven like a writing-desk? :)

Even though the Mad Hatter's riddle is meant to have no answer, a raven and a writing desk both remind me of Edgar Allan Poe. ;-)

What a great interview! Thanks so much, Angela! :) It was great having you! ~Rachel


Teri Dawn Smith said...

Great to have news of you, Angela! I'm glad you still use the randomness tip!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by, Miss Teri.

Your randomness tip has proven to be the most effective way from me to conquer writer's block. :-)

JeanetteEdgar said...

Great interview writer friends! I can't wait to play the randomness game myself.

Anonymous said...

Tolkien's one of my favorites, too. :) Love the Lord of the Rings!

Good luck getting published, Angela! By the way, I did a post on my blog about writing to publishing companies, etc. I wrote a query letter to a publishing company about a novel I wrote and actually got a reply, so I thought I'd share what I've learned! If you'd like, you can see my post here:

I hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading my interview, Jeanette. I'm sure you'll love the randomness game! :-)

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you, Taylor! Thank you for reading my interview. :-)

I'll be sure to check out your blog.