Interview with Nancy M. Bell, Author of the YA Novel Laurel’s Miracle

Joining us today is Nancy M Bell, author of Laurel’s Miracle. This is a children’s book geared toward ages nine to thirteen. We’ll be talking to her today about why she writes for children, about Laurel’s Miracle, and what’s coming up next.

Welcome to The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection, Nancy. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Thank you for inviting me Cheryl. This is always the hard part because I think I’m pretty boring. <laughs> I am a wife and mother and grandmother living in Alberta, Canada. I love horses and all animals, I have two horses and a pony for the grandkids at the moment. I write for all ages but I enjoy writing for middle grade and young adult the most. There are always horses in my stories, I don’t plan for that, it just seems to happen. I am a full time author which is a lovely gift. It is so nice to have the time to follow my Muse where she leads me.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Honestly, I have been writing since I was very young. My grandmother had a friend who was an author, her name was Gilean Douglas and she lived on an island in B.C. She encouraged me to keep writing even though no one else really took my scribblings seriously. I had some short stories and poems published in the local newspaper while I was in grade school and high school.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I’m not sure I made a conscious decision to write for children. The ideas for the stories come from so many different places and some of them just work better from a young person’s point of view.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

I don’t really, you just have to fine tune the ability to see the world from their point of view and filter out things young people wouldn’t be aware of yet.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

Getting to be a kid again! Writing for young people is fun and I can use many amusing situations from my own experiences growing up, so in a strange way I get to re-visit my own childhood. Except this time I have some control of the outcome. <laughs>

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Laurel’s Miracle will be released from MuseItUp Publishing in September, 2011. I am so excited about this book. The basic story line is this: Laurel is a young girl living in Southern Alberta, her mom is diagnosed with cancer and Laurel’s dad sends her to Cornwall, England to stay with an old friend of the family. He is having trouble dealing with his wife’s illness and can’t take care of his daughter while running to the hospital in Calgary and managing his ranch. Laurel meets some new friends and she also comes in contact with a spirit at a holy well. There are many holy wells in Cornwall associated with healing spirits. Laurel is given a riddle to solve, if she can complete her task then the spirits will intervene and save her mother. There is a lot of educational information hidden in the story which makes it kind of fun to write. Laurel and her friends follow the clues across the countryside and follow the famous earth energy line known as the Michael Line. It crosses SE England, from Carn les Boels through St. Michael’s Mount, the CheeseWring on Bodmin Moor, Glastonbury Tor and beyond. Laurel’s journey ends at Glastonbury Tor but how she gets there is quite interesting. The foursome of friends have to deal with many things that are common in today’s world, one of the boys lives with an abusive uncle, they face and deal with some incidents of bullying and like all young people they are gaining confidence and learning to believe in themselves.

There is a good dose of magic and magical creatures which make the story fun as well, a mischievous Cornish Piskie, a sea monster and a shape shifting Selkie. Readers who enjoyed the Harry Potter series or the Golden Compass will find this an enjoyable read.

What inspired you to write it?

I was studying earth energy patterns, ley lines and co-relation between them and the stone circles and religious buildings that crop up along the lines. The idea of introducing this information to young people crossed my mind and I thought what fun it would be to write a ‘quest’ novel.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The book will be available from MuseItUp Publishing, release date is September 2011. Once I receive the cover art there will be a page in the Muse book store where you can go and click on the ‘notify’ button. Once the book is released you will receive one email telling you it is available and ready for purchase.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes I do. My website is www.nancymbell.ca

I am on Facebook and Twitter as well. I post information on my interviews, new releases, book signing etc there.
There is some information on earth energy, ley lines and the source of some of the character’s names on my website. Lots of interesting things.

What is up next for you?

I am promoting my book of poetry, Through This Door,  which released in October 2010. It is a collection of forty-five poems drawing on experiences form the last six or seven years of my life. None of my earlier poetry got included, when I get time that’s another project.

There is another book in the series coming out December, 2011 called A Step Sideways and I am in the middle of a third one which tells the story of Laurel’s grandmother and answers some questions about the back story in Laurel’s Miracle.

Do you have anything else to add?

I want readers to know why I use Nancy M. Bell as my writing name. Quite funny actually. There is another author Nancy Bell who has some books on Amazon and I’m not sure where else, however I received an email from a woman chastising me for using foul language in my book. I wrote back and assured her it wasn’t me but another author with the same name. It took me three emails to convince her I wasn’t the right person. So I use Nancy M. Bell to help distinguish between us.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Nancy. We wish you much success.

Thanks for the privilege of visiting with you and your readers. It’s been fun.

Support The Million Book Read

“The Million Book Read is an international literacy pledge campaign designed to motivate into action adults taking time to read with children. The goal is to confirm 1 Million participants reading with kids Super Bowl XLV week.

At Super Bowl XLV, February 2011, the Million Book Read will host over 5,000 kids for a day of celebrating the joy of reading.

Your participation supports our effort to sustain the delivery of literacy programs to families of all cultures through select non-profit organizations.”

For more information, please visit http://millionbookread.com/!

A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

 Hold onto your hats for one wild and hilarious adventure in A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup.

Mr. Cheesman has invented a device so powerful that all sorts of evildoers want to get their hands on it. The LVR can do an amazing thing–which I won’t tell you because you need to read the book–and what that means for Mr. Cheeseman and his “three attractive, polite, relatively odor-free children” is running from town to town to stay away from the bad guys and changing their names, hoping to stay in one place long enough for the kids to make friends and maybe explore their interests.

I’ll have to tell my husband that I have officially found my lost sense of humor. He believes I have none. But I laughed so much while reading this book, I thought he was going to have me committed. Not only has Dr. Soup created a great group of zany characters in A Whole Nother Story, this book has an exciting plot with a story told by an engaging and entertaining narrator.

Since Dr. Soup is the founder and president of the National Center for Unsolicited Advice, the reader will also find several bits of unsolicited advice within the pages of A Whole Nother Story. A brief interview with Dr. Soup appears at the end of the book, along with a short excerpt from the next book, Another Whole Nother Story, which I look forward to reading soon.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Soup and his books, I suggest you visit his amazing website at http://awholenotherbook.com/.

If every book was as funny and engaging as this one, there would be no such thing as reluctant readers.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599905183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599905181
  • SRP:  $7.99 (paperback) and $16.99 (hardcover)
  • Also available in audio and Kindle editions.



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    Hardcover Book Giveaway: The Trunk in in the Attic and Brave Boys of Derry

    Katie and Jake are spending summer vacation with Aunt Jean on the farm. She has many portraits of their relatives hanging on the wall, and she says that Katie and Jake carry the wanderlust gene that Great-Grandpa Henry had.

    With the help of their dog, Cooper, Katie and Jake find a manhole cover with a handle in the yard and pull it up to find Dirk from Holland climbing out. Their conversation and a mysterious noise leads Katie and Jake to investigate Aunt Jean’s attic, where they find a talking trunk, some mysterious items and two purple bracelets that allow them to become Undercover Kids like Dirk.

    Katie, Jake and Cooper travel through the tunnel where they first saw Dirk and end up in Holland where they learn more about the Dutch. Cooper disappears and Katie, Jake and Dirk must find him before their time runs out and Katie and Jake are forced to return home without him.

    READ THE REST OF MY REVIEW HERE!

    King James II runs away from England and soon ends up in France with his friend Louis XIV, plotting and planning the downfall of England. The army in Ireland was committed to restoring King James II to his throne. The residents of Londonderry, however, were making preparations for a prolonged siege. 

    The French officers that followed James on his journey to Dublin decided that it wouldn’t be long before Londonderry was in their hands, if the residents put up any type of fight at all.

    Wouldn’t they be surprised?

    READ MY FULL REVIEW HERE!

    Here are the rules and details for this giveaway:1) You must subscribe to TC&TBC to win.


    2) Leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. You cannot win if I don’t have your email address.

    3) One additional entry if you friend me on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you’re friending me.

    4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you’re now a follower.

    5) Three additional entries if you blog about this contest. Leave a link to your post here.

    6) You must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible to win.

    Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, January 30, 2011. Winner will be selected out of all entrants who followed the rules governing this contest. Winner will have 72 hours after being contacted to email me their mailing address. If I have not heard from the winner within that time frame, I will select a new winner. Book will be shipped Media Mail through the USPS. TC&TBC is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

     

    THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED!

    From the Family Bookshelf

    Well, it finally stopped snowing. When I went outside about an hour ago, we had 21 inches. Yes, nearly two feet of snow in one day. With drifts and the clearing of the driveway Dad did before he left for work this morning, only about 18 inches of my lammpost is visible. They are calling it the worst blizzard since 1978 – http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/local/hampden/%22Worst-storm-since-Blizzard-of-%2778%22.

    Speaking of Dad, in this issue of From the Family Bookshelf, you’ll notice he’s still reading the same book, Cell: A Novel by Stephen King. The poor guy. He got one week off between Christmas and New Year’s, and now he’s back to 60 hour work weeks.

    The Lil Diva and the Lil Princess received books for Christmas. Their Diary of a Wimpy Kid collection is now complete.  We read through the first book in the series and then moved on to The Last Straw. We’re now reading Rodrick  Rules together, and the Lil Diva is reading Dog Day s by herself for her school reading log. After reading so many of these books, I can see what one reviewer was commenting on with the new book and how the main character never grows or changes.

    The Lil Princess is also reading Marvin Redpost: A Flying Birthday Cake? by Louis Sachar. I might have to buy her some of these for Easter.

    Then comes me, Mom. My list is a decent size this time too:

    Finding God: To Believe or Not Believe by Nick Oliva (spiritual nonfiction)

    The fourth book in the Extreme Devotion series by Kathi Macias, Red Ink (Christian contemporary international thriller) 

    The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Larkin (YA Fantasy)

    Hurricane Mia by Donna Marie Seim (Middle Grade novel)

    Red in the Flower Bed by Andrea Nepa (children’s picture book)

    The Rewritten Word by Aggie Villanueva (writing craft)

    I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson (tween fiction)

    Chasing the Spirit of Service by Kristen Zajac (children’s picture book)

    Lily and the City of Light by Lindsay Bonilla (children’s picture book)

    Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” by Margot Finke (children’s picture book)

    Cinderfella and the Furry Grandmother by Dixie Phillips (children’s picture book)

    Frederico, The Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani (children’s picture book)

    The Butt Book by Artie Bennett (children’s picture book)

    Tell Me About That Horse by Vaughn Wilson (picture book/coffee table book)

    A Higher Court by John Betcher (literary fiction)

    Falling Home by Karen White

    Second Chance by Sandra Gerencher

    Reviews for all of these appear at The Book Connection or here, with the exception of the one for Finding God. That one is featured at Book Tours and More.

    I am currently reading A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup.

    Until next time, keep reading!



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    Second Chance by Sandra J. Gerencher

     A story that will delight you and touch your heart is what you will find in Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism and His Shelter Dog by Sandra J. Gerencher.

    Chance is a shelter dog who spends his day in a pen with his pal, Ruffles. One day, a woman and a boy come to the shelter. The boy jumps up and down with excitement and chews on the sleeve of his coat. Chance soon is getting hugs from all the people and the shelter and is taken by car to a new place, where he finds out he has been adopted, just like Ryan, the little boy who chews on his sleeve.  Problem is, he doesn’t know what adopted means. He knows that his new brother and sister, the Pomeranians, were also adopted, but they can’t tell him what it means. But soon Ryan explains all about being adopted and Chance is so very happy that he has a forever home.

    This is such a sweet book. Told from Chance’s point of view, we follow him on his journey from meeting his new Mom and Ryan, to the drive home, to settling in and meeting his doggie brothers and sister–P.J., Little Rascal (who was not adopted), and Shelby, and the way things run around his new home. Chance has the curiosity of a child, so it is no surprise that he and Ryan connect so well.

    What is so wonderful about Second Chance is that it carries with it the message of unconditional love. As Ryan explains all about the many foster homes he’s been in and finally being adopted by his new Mom, and the reader gets to listen to Chance’s thoughts on how his story is not very different from Ryan’s in many ways, the reader can see just how much of a blessing adoption can be when the right match is made.

    Your family will love reading Second Chance by Sandra J. Gerencher. The many photos make it a special read aloud book that everyone will enjoy.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: Tribute Books
  • ISBN-10: 0981461921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981461922
  • SRP:   $12.95
  • Read more about Chance and Ryan at www.chancetheshelterdog.com!

    Second Chance is also available in a Kindle edition!



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    2010 Favorite Books

    Around the beginning of January I usually post about my favorite books from the previous year. I am holding off for a little bit because I still have one YA novel that I’ve had for a while that I would like to read before posting my favorites.

    There will be a new From the Family Bookshelf column coming soon. Right now, the snow is falling fast and it’s possible I will lose my Internet connection. That storm that pummeled the Southeast is now up here in the north making a menace of itself.

    If I have power and Internet access later today I’ll try to post my From the Family Bookshelf column then.

    Stay safe everyone!