Pump Up Your Book Chats with Elizabeth Bellows

Elizabeth Bellow for PUYB Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat.

Over the years she learned that the insecurities she carried around were a waste of time. Elizabeth still prefers a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into her writing providing a sense of joy and true purpose.

You can visit Elizabeth’s website at www.azraspithbooks.com

On Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit

Q: Can you tell us why you wrote your book?

I started writing with the intention of creating stories to read to my son. The Azra’s Pith series evolved from there. It became a wonderful outlet for my imagination.

Q: Which part of the book was the hardest to write?

Alexander struggles through some painful issues. He lost his mother when he was a baby and never knew her. It was tough to tell the story of her passing and his reaction to it.

Q: Does your book have an underlying message that readers should know about?

Alexander’s journey is one of self discovery. When faced with adversity his character was tested and he found his inner strength. The inhabitants of Azra’s Pith are quirky, pudgy, scruffy, sloppy, funny looking, and still larger than life. True beauty lies in the spirit (comes from within). Of course, this is a children’s book so the messages are subtle and entertaining.

Alexander-Drake-version-2-compressed-200x300 On Writing

Q: Do you remember when the writing bug hit?

Yes, my son was about six months old. It was just a little bite at the time… but it really transformed my life and I’m still feeling it.

Q: What’s the most frustrating thing about becoming a published author and what’s the most rewarding?

Revising and editing makes me want to pull my hair out. Sometimes I find myself correcting one mistake only to make another. It can feel like a never ending process.

Q: Do you have a writing tip you’d like to share?

Before I started part two, I wrote out the synopsis to give me an outline of the entire book. It prevented me from wandering off the storyline. Getting critiques from other writers is also very helpful. Another pair of eyes can make a big difference.

On Family and Home:

Q: Would you like to tell us about your home life? Where you live? Family? Pets?

My home life? Try to imagine a Three-ring circus held at a loony bin. I have two little ones (ages 5 and 2) reeking havoc when ever possible, an Australian Sheppard who prefers to count sheep in his sleep rather than herd them, a dusty old cat, two bunnies (I’m convinced these two could chew their way through Fort Knox), and a handful of goldfish living a lavish life in Bikini Bottom. Never a dull moment in the Bellows house… the quiet moments are rare and cherished.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write at home?

I have a clunky old desk in the corner of my living room right under the windows. I can see the ocean and sunset out one window, and my sister’s house out the other. There is a perfect breeze blowing through, and good lighting. I couldn’t be happier. It does tend to be a junk magnet… grumble, grumble.

Q: What do you do to get away from it all?

There really is not much opportunity for that. When I can I pick up a book; lately it has been “A Course in Miracles”, and “Rumi, The Big Red Book” by Coleman Barks. I just flip open to a random page and start reading. I also love my books on CD… “Treasure Island”, “The Hobbit” and “James and the Giant Peach” are my favorites.

On Childhood:

Q: Were you the kind of child who always had a book in her/his hand?

No, I was more of a space cadet with my head in the clouds… I was the kid who appeared to be talking to myself, but I had an imaginary cast of characters to play with. In my book that counted as pretty good company.

Q: Can you remember your favorite book?

Yes, in my youth “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis set the bar for portals to magical worlds. I was mesmerized, and really wished such a thing existed.

Q: Do you remember writing stories when you were a child?

I did not start writing until I was older; though I wish I had started a long time ago. I can’t imagine where I would be in the Azra’s Pith Series.

On Book Promotion:

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promoting your book?

At first I was clueless. I still feel like a guppy in the ocean. I think the first thing I did was build a website and pray for visitors. Promoting is tough! Blogging is fun, but I peek at my reviews though my fingers with one eye.

Q: Are you familiar with the social networks and do you actively participate?

I belong to a couple sites and try to stay connected as much as possible. I have a wonderful network of writers and friends. I love interacting with everyone. I also have a Twitter account; but I’m still not sure how to use it.

Q: How do you think book promotion has changed over the years?

I’m a bit of a rookie in this area, but the internet has taken promotion to much grander scale. I feel completely accessible online through bloggers and other websites. It is hard to imagine not using the internet as a platform.

On Other Fun Stuff:

Q: If you had one wish, what would that be?

Just one??? I would love to move my family to a farm house with lots of land for our crazy three ring circus.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world other than where you are right now, where would that place be?

That was going to be my one wish… in wine country watching the hot air balloons float overhead.

Q: Your book has just been awarded a Pulitzer. Who would you thank?

A Pulitzer…really? I would thank my husband for being extremely supportive from day one, my kids for bringing me endless amounts of inspiration, my parents for their patience (I was not the easiest kid to reach)… and my dinosaur of a computer for not going caput until after I finished part one.