Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"A Modest Proposal" by Michele Ashman Bell

Author BlogVIEW
With Michele Ashman Bell

Title: "A Modest Proposal" from the "Butterfly Box" series.
This is the first book in hopefully a five book series.
Publisher: Covenant Communications. They have published all my books.
Release Date: May of 2008. I'm hoping the next book in the series will be out before the end of this year.

What inspired you to write the book/series?
Several things inspired me to write this series and this particular book. After spending many years attending book signings at Ladies Night, Education Week and Women's Conferences, I had enjoyed seeing the beautiful way in which women surround themselves with support, either from family or friends. Many times I would ask one of the women who they were with and they would tell me they were with their sisters, or neighbors, or girlfriends and that certain events were annual events for them. I love seeing this sisterhood and the need women have to have these connections with others. I wanted to write a series about a group of women who had been friends since high school and how they stayed close through the years and still gave love and support to each other. The first book "A Modest Proposal" is about one of the friends and her life in New York City as a clothes designer and her dream of designing clothes that are high fashion and modest. I wrote this book because I spent many hours in dressing rooms with a crying daughter trying to find a dress for prom that was modest and pretty. I figured there were other moms and daughters who would read this story and relate to it. I also wanted to let women know that they can indeed have both!

What is your favorite chapter in the book and why?
I always like the point in the story where the character has everything working against them and they are beaten down and ready to give, but then, they have that moment, that epiphany, when they realize they can do it. In my book it happens when Lauryn, the main character, has everything working against her, and is deathly ill on top of it, and she thinks that all her hard work has basically gone down the toilet, then she learns some information that helps her realize, she can do it! I love the energy and the excitement and the positiveness of it all. I call these, "Esther" moments. We all have them.

Do you have other books you have written?
I mentioned earlier that I do have quite a few other books. They are; Unexpected Love, Enduring Love, A Forever Love, Yesterdays Love, Love After All, Love Lights the Way, Pathway Home, Written in the Stars, Finding Paradise, Without A Flaw, Timeless Moments, Forget Me Not, Perfect Timing, A Modest Proposal, and my kids series, Latter-day Spies: Spyhunt, Dragon's Jaw and Rescue. Also my Christmas book, "A Candle in the Window" and several other Christmas booklets.

Is there a particular event that stands out to you that helped you become an author?
One of the most profound was when I attended a conference and listened to an editor from the LDS market who talked about how the market was really breaking open and there was a lot of great potential. I had been trying to break into the national market without luck and this was like an "aha!" moment for me. It changed my whole focus and helped me move in the right direction. I really think that I was supposed to be there in that meeting that day to hear her, or I might never have considered the LDS market.

Was there a person in your life who believed in you more than you believed in yourself? If so, who was that person?
I'll be honest, I always had love and support from my husband and family, but I really didn't have that one special person who cheered for me and said, "I know you can do this." That had to come from inside of me. I had to dig deep and go to the Lord when I got discouraged or felt defeated. I had wonderful friends in critique groups, but I really had to push it through on my own determination and perseverance.

What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?
To work hard and never give up on their dream. I know many talented authors who will never get published because they don't work as hard. I would also tell them to write constantly and really hone their skill as a writer. I still am learning the tricks of the trade and feel I can always improve.

What is the last book you read? What did you like about it?
The last book I read for pleasure was "Left to Tell" a book by a woman who survived the Rwandan holocaust. The book changed my life. I love reading biographies and stories about people surviving and overcoming great difficulties. This woman wrote her story of watching her family get killed right in front of her eyes, as well as many other loved ones and neighbors and friends and survived for months living in hiding in a bathroom while the holocaust continued, yet she forgave the men who performed these horrible deeds.

Is there a quote that motivates you? If so, please share!
There are two that seem to describe me and what I believe. The first is the well-known quote by Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference." The other one is by Oprah Winfrey who said, "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity." I do believe we create our own luck by working hard and being ready when opportunity knocks.

Thank you Michele for the interview! I love the quotes you shared and the advice you offer for Writers who dare to dream, write and REACH :) ... I wish you all the best with your books and writing journey! ~ Wendy Christensen