Today, in the Author Spotlight is Caroline Bell, a successful East Midlands (UK) author of many novels, including her recent book Feline Fix. Let us find out more about her, and her inspirational success!
Please tell us a little about yourself and your books
Firstly, thank you so much for having me. I live in Nottingham, England, with my husband, two children and lady of the house a cat called Naomi.
In my early teens my family went on what should have been a six holiday to Jamaica, but we ended up staying. It took me almost 18 years for me to return to England, with long diversions through Canada and Kenya.
I like romancing and exploring different cultures. I write contemporary romantic fiction and my work reflects all that I am and my many travels.
Can you tell us something quirky about yourself?
Hmm, hard one. I look forward to one day being called ‘The mad Cat lady down the street.’ I can belly dance? Is that considered a quirk? I love wine gums, Jamaican and Moroccan food and always always have music playing in my house.
What is the name of your recent release, and can you tell us a little about it?
The Feline Fix, is my latest novella. It is part of the Valentine Pets & Kisses boxed set, alongside 13 other
authors from around the world and is available to pre-order right now.
I loved writing it as it combined two of my favourite things. Romance and cats and although it wasn’t planned, it followed on from The Cat Café, although it is a stand alone novella.
What new releases are you planning this year?
Aside from The Feline Fix, I have two full length novels.
Distracting Ace (Spring) and the follow up novel Convincing Kyle (Autumn) Both are set primarily in Derbyshire and then go over to different parts of the world. In both, I’m exploring disabilities and how people manage and are treated by others, although still very romantic.
This blog is all about inspiration. Where do you find your inspiration from to write?
Someone once said, whatever you were doing before the age of 10 is what your were destined to be, before the noise of the world intrudes. I have two distinct memories.
The first, was seeing my name in print. It was under a photograph of myself in the Derby Telegraph celebrating Victorian Week when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I remember looking at my name, seeing the black fuzzy script and liking the feeling.
The second memory, was when I was around 11 years old. I had this crush on a boy and wrote him a love letter. In that cruel way of kids, he’d posted it on the blackboard for everyone to see! But to me, I was really proud my romantic words were actually being read! Unofficially, that love letter was my first ‘public’ works.
But I’ve always written in some capacity and inspiration is all around. I’ve learned to look at everything and everyone with a writers eye. I’ll be out shopping and see someone with an interesting face, and then match them with someone else, give them a history, and thus, a story is born. My characters are diverse and I like that I have an international fan base.
Are you a self-published or traditionally published author? What do you like and dislike about it?
I’m what is called a Hybrid Author. I’m contracted to a publisher and I also self publish some of my own titles. I have the best of both world’s. My publisher is like family and we discuss titles and time frames and see what works for both of us.
I do like self publishing though and have a lot of fun doing it. Call me a control freak, but there is something very satisfying about being in charge of an entire project, right up to release day and beyond.
In the current publishing era, it is known that all authors, new and established, have to do a lot of their own legwork to get their books out there to the readers. What is your best marketing strategy you have used, and did it bring in the results you wanted to see?
Be yourself. I’m very personable online, well I hope I am (smile). I don’t spread myself too thinly across social media, and concentrate on my Facebook pages, as well as Twitter and Pinterest to ensure I have enough time to interact with people online and of course have time to write. I have found that my fans like when I do a Facebook page for a single title and when I host online parties. But mainly, I’m just me.
Now let’s find out about some fun facts about you. What is your all time favourite novel and why?
Not a fair question as I love and cherish practically every book I’ve ever read, too many to name and most of the authors’ are now my friends.
Although, as a little girl I read the Milly Molly Mandy series and loved them and also a series about an old man who had a black and white cat. I don’t remember the name of that series but I do remember one story where he picked up the glue instead of toothpaste and glued his mouth shut. He couldn’t talk to his cat and started crying. His tears dissolved the glue and he and the cat lived happily ever after! Ah so sweet. I must have been around 6 years old when I read that.
As an adult, whenever I want time to myself I usually read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve read it countless times and still find it fascinating and entertaining.
Who is your all time favourite author and why?
I have two answers to this. The first is longevity and who I will always read. Throughout my teen years I read every novel by Johanna Lindsey. I loved her writing style and the way she could write in various genres from historical romance, to futuristic and everything in-between. Her writing has always inspired me.
The second answer, includes all the various authors who champion diversity in not only romantic fiction, but all fiction. For years an entire demographic had been ignored by publishers and agents. I am so proud of the likes of Delaney Diamond, Brenda Jackson, Harper Miller and JL Campbell to name but a few. These ladies ignored the rules and like me, defied convention to ensure readers have a choice.
Any last inspirational words from you?
Find the time to do what you are passionate about. New writers always say they don’t have time to write. They are in school, have full time jobs, a family and say there just isn’t enough hours in the day.
I write in the wee hours of the morning, for a few hours everyday and when I’m not writing I’m doing something writer relate, to ensure I’m always moving forward and following my bliss. Always make time to follow your bliss.
How can we find you?