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.