Pump Up Your Book Chats with Kathy BellAuthor Interviews, Featured — By Tracee Gleichner on October 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm
Canadian author Kathy Bell has called the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron area home for her entire life but has found books a wonderful way to travel through time and around the world. She lives on 60 acres with an amazing view of the Owen Sound city skyline in one direction and the sheer cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment in the other. Writing only became possible after checking off most other things on the to-do list of her life: marry high school sweetheart (check); get an awesome career as a high school science teacher (check); have four wonderful kids (check); build her dream home (check); be a successful entrepreneur (check); breed Canada’s top winning bulldog (check); get a herd of horses (check). With all of these activities providing fodder for her fertile imagination, she began writing with one hand cradling a fussy baby while the other pecked at the keyboard.
Her first novel, Regression, peaked at number seventeen on the Amazon Science Fiction and Fantasy bestseller list as a new release, and remained on the charts for twenty-eight days.
About Regression: Book One of the Infinion Series
Fourteen-year-old Adya Jordan swears that before her head injury she was a forty-year-old mother of six. Is she going crazy, or did she really live through an entirely different life? 1985 is nothing like she remembers, although her first day of high school certainly is! A typical girl with atypical genes, Adya tries to recapture her old life, hiding her growing conviction that she has done this before. Memories of the man she loved and a family she adored haunt her, even though her future husband doesn’t even know she exists. Accidentally discovering the secretive Three Eleven Corporation might know more about her situation than she does, she is convinced the twenty-eight men heading up the company are responsible for the changes in her world. Adya finds her way into their ranks, journeying to the tropical island headquarters to begin an orientation into their prestigious internship program. The Three Eleven Company controls the development and distribution of Twenty-first Century technology brought with them from the future. Charged with the task of preparing the world for an impending disaster, each member of the team uses his scientific background to create a solution for a problem the planet does not know it is facing. They don’t have time to deal with a feisty young girl poking around. Banished to the frozen Canadian Shield for asking too many questions of CEO Abraham Fairfield, Adya finds the men in the underground city of Sanctum are interested in more than just her genes as they search for the answer to her presence in the timeline. In the end, Adya encounters a choice no mother should ever face: save her children…or everyone else.
Q: Can you tell us why you wrote your book?
Writing Regression was more a matter of opportunity than resulting from a sense of purpose. I was spending late nights rocking our fussy fourth child and learned to type quite quickly with only one hand. Reaching the end of the Internet, I had to find my own entertainment and began to draft the manuscript which evolved into Regression.
Q: Which part of the book was the hardest to write?
I do not recall any specific part being harder to write. I actually can read through sections and not remember composing them at all! The words just flow when I have the time to compose, so I suppose the hardest thing for me about writing the book was finding the time in my busy life to write at all.
Q: Does your book have an underlying message that readers should know about?
I admit to getting on a soapbox about the tendency to use technology as a diversion rather than a tool, especially for our children. As parents, it is easy to fall into the trap of giving the kids television to watch, video games to play, and computers to interact with, forgetting to give them ourselves. The distraction of technology can begin to consume incredible amounts of time which could be spent with family or on something meaningful.
Q: Do you remember when the writing bug hit?
When I was a child I wrote little stories, which became longer novellas as I hit my teens. I had no intention of publishing any of them, but I still have the hand-written drafts. I made no attempt at writing fiction again until reaching most of my life goals, which left me creative energy to try something new.
Q: What’s the most frustrating thing about becoming a published author and what’s the most rewarding?
Hearing someone say they could not stop thinking about your book is amazing. Knowing that there is not enough time to tell everyone everywhere about your book is annoying.
Q: Do you have a writing tip you’d like to share?
Write like you live. For me, that means only writing the meat of the story, rather than buttering it up with all of the background and scenes. I only tend to include what is necessary to tell the tale, and in my life I only tend to notice what is relevant to my life and necessary to making my day progress. Someone who stops and smells the roses would write differently than I do, and so they should.
On Family and Home:
Q: Would you like to tell us about your home life? Where you live? Family? Pets?
I’m fortunate enough to have met all of my goals in this respect. I live in my dream home of my own design, on a hobby farm filled with Arabian horses and bulldogs, which I breed. I have four incredible children – three girls and a boy – and married my high school sweetheart. We settled into the area our families have lived in for generations, so have strong ties to the region. We swim in Lake Huron in the summer, snowmobile along the Niagara Escarpment in the winter, and enjoy all the seasons with our family.
Q: Where’s your favorite place to write at home?
Because I am composing right onto the computer, my only place to write is in the living room where we have it set up. I do not like typing on laptop keyboards, but am considering a laptop with keyboard attached, and then would likely write on my deck off the master bedroom which overlooks our acreage and the Niagara Escarpment.
Q: What do you do to get away from it all?
My home and family IS my retreat from it all, my stress relief, and my sanctuary. So, when I need to get away from it all, I go for a walk on our property or curl up in a deck chair and watch the birds fly overhead while the horses graze in the field below me.
Q: Were you the kind of child who always had a book in her/his hand?
Absolutely. Even had I been growing up in this digital age like my children are, I think I would still have devoured literature just as they do. I would much rather stay in with a book than go out for a night on the town.
Q: Can you remember your favorite book?
The Black Stallion, and the plethora of other books in that series by Walter Farley, is the book which stands at the head of the line for inspiring my love of reading when I was a young child.
Q: Do you remember writing stories when you were a child?
Yes, I was constantly penning short stories and poems until I went to University. Life just seemed to be too busy after that to manage to compose, until I found the muse and opportunity with the birth of my fourth child.
On Book Promotion:
Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promoting your book?
I contacted book stores hoping to do signings, and also booked booths at markets and book fairs.
Q: Are you familiar with the social networks and do you actively participate?
I do have accounts with Twitter (@kathybellauthor), Facebook (TheInfinionSeries), Amazon, WordPress (KathyBellAuthor), and I do some promotion with them. My time is so tight, though, and the returns not huge, that I do not spend more than a few minutes with them per day.
Q: How do you think book promotion has changed over the years?
To be honest, book signings do not generate great excitement even for well-established authors…I was at a conference recently with bestselling authors Julie Czerneda and Robert J. Sawyer, and found attendance at their bookstore readings and signings was not exceptional. I have made the decision to focus my efforts on electronic sales and promotion. As an author, I make greater royalties from digital sales anyway!
On Other Fun Stuff:
Q: If you had one wish, what would that be?
Hmm…I am so blessed with so many wonderful things, but have also had to work very hard to get them, that I tend not to make or dream about wishes! I suppose my wish would be that I make the right choices to get my children to grow up into happy, productive adults.
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world other than where you are right now, where would that place be?
I would love to tour the Mediterranean region because I find ancient history fascinating and want to touch buildings which have stood for thousands of years.
Q: Your book has just been awarded a Pulitzer. Who would you thank?
It would have to be my family, and I would thank them for their patience and support in allowing me to chase a dream and make it reality!