Michele Ashman Bell
She blogs here
Her website is here
Michele, who are you as a person versus an author?
I love this question! My greatest passion in life is my husband and children. They easily consume 90% of my time, which only leaves 10% for the other stuff. I have a few outside interests and passions that people might not know about me. One, is that I'm an aerobics instructor (current term for this is Group Fitness Instructor). I have been teaching since 1982. That is twenty seven-years! I still love it and hope to teach another twenty-seven. The people in my class and I figured we would sweat and grow old together. I'm also a freak about Broadway shows. I've seen 18 thus far and dream about the day I write something that will be on Broadway. (Far-fetched, I know, but I can dream, can't I?) I absolutely love to travel and experience new cultures. People and places fascinate me. I also am a huge Doris Day fan and have collected every one of her movies. I would love to meet her someday. Anyone have any connections?
What genre(s) do you write in?
Most of my books are Women's Fiction. I love to write stories about characters who face difficult situations and overcome them and become strong in the process. Characters who really inspire people. I also have written for the YA and Children's market and hope to do more Children's books. And I am crazy about Christmas and have several booklets and books around this theme. I'm most proud of "A Candle in the Window" a true story based on my Grandma Ashman who just turned 100 years old this month!
Do you seek to educate or entertain?
Mostly entertain. I write stories about relationships and life experiences. However, people who read my books will learn and grow along with the characters. I do tons of research so readers are definitely going to learn about different places and cultures and careers through my stories.
Where do you write your best stuff, and when?
Oh man, I wish I had a good answer for this. I'm a morning writing person. I've learned if I don't get my writing in first thing I usually don't get around to it the rest of the day. I try and write every day, even if it's only for an hour. Depending on how hectic life is at the moment I can get a lot done in a short amount of time, but I can also sit and stare at the computer for an hour. I have an office in my basement that is quiet and secluded and doesn't have a lot of distractions, which is good since I tend to get distracted easily.
Why do you write?
I have always loved to read. The magical moment for me came in third grade when my teacher read to our class the book, "My Father's Dragon." This book was full of fun and imagination and totally carried me away. I became a reading fanatic. At that time I was a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and read her whole series of books over and over from start to finish. In high school I read romances and would hide them inside my text books while I was in class. And yes, I got busted many times and got in trouble. I also started keeping a journal in 8th grade and found that pouring my heart out on paper was very therapeutic and enjoyable for me. Combining the love of books and of writing my feelings was the catalyst that created my desire to write when I was twenty-six. I read a really bad short-story in "Good Housekeeping" and said, "I could write better than this!" That was the beginning.
What do you love to read?
I love biographies. They are my favorite. I really enjoy learning about people and real life drama. Three of my favorites; Not Without My Daughter, Mutant Message Down Under and Follow the River (not completely a biography, but based on a true story.) I also love romantic suspense. I think that is the perfect combination for a plot. The book, "Romancing the Stone" is a great combination of romance, suspense and comedy.
Vanilla or chocolate?
Vanilla. I love white chocolate! But after I turned 40 I developed a serious craving for regular chocolate. I've never been known to turn down any kind of chocolate. Especially if it's German or Swiss.
Laptop, PC, Mac, longhand, other?
I am most comfortable writing on my PC. I outline in longhand first, then type it onto my computer, print it out, then begin writing. I have to revamp my outline several times during the course of writing a book because my characters tend to develop minds of their own.
What is your current book?
My most current release is called "A Modest Proposal" which is the first book in the "Butterfly Box" series. It's the story of five girls who experience the death of their friend on the day of high school graduation. They create a memory box called the "Butterfly Box" and have a yearly reunion. Each year the box is passed to one of the girls and is believed to bring them good luck and blessings. "A Modest Proposal" is about Lauryn, who is a clothes designer in New York City and wants to design modesty clothing for women. Her efforts are thwarted by a designer from Hungary, Laszlo Molnar, who tries to sabotage her collection. It's a book about fighting for what you believe in and working hard to make dreams come true. I love the message of inspiration it gives for women of all ages to go out and make a difference in the world.
One piece of advice/wisdom for the world?
Sheesh! No pressure there. Well, I live my life by the rule that if you want something badly enough and you are willing to work hard enough and never give up you can make anything happen. It took me ten years to get published. I'm living proof that it works.I've taught this philosophy to my children and my greatest joy is watching them make their dreams come true.
Dogs or cats?
My daughter has asthma so neither, but if I could have a pet it would be a dog.
What do you want to be remembered for, or as?
Mostly for being a devoted wife and mother. But I also hope people say that I touched lives through service and through my writing. I probably won't change the world but I'm trying to make a difference in my corner of it.
I hope people will visit my web-site at www.micheleashmanbell.com and my blog at http://micheleabell.blogspot.com. Or they can email me at email@example.com.
--Michele Ashman Bell author of, "A Modest Proposal" YA and Children's book reviewer for Meridian Magazine