Wednesday, July 1, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Michelle Bellon


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Michelle.  Welcome to The Gal.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Michelle Bellon:
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my boyfriend, Seth, and three of my four children.  My oldest is living on her own as she tries to figure out the grown-up thing.  I'm still working on that as well. :)
            I've been a registered nurse since 2005 and currently work at a surgery center.  In my free time I write books.  In the past five years I have published six novels in multiple genres including literary fiction, romance suspense, young adult, and women's fiction.  Two of these books have won literary awards.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Michelle Bellon:
Oh, wow, that is a tough question.  Are we talking way back when we were children?  My mom taught me to love books from the time I was an infant.  She read to me every single day.  I know I learned my ABCs quickly and read early.  The book I clearly remember reading and loving at an early age was Are You My Mother, a Dr. Seuss book.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Michelle Bellon:
Actually, I'm desperately searching for a good book to read right now.  The last few books I've read were disappointments.  It feels like the quality of writing is decreasing as an influx of new writers explode on the scene.
            However, about two months ago, I had the pleasure of reading Lamentation by Joe Clifford.  Excellent read.  Well written.  I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Michelle Bellon:
After I had my fourth child, I had decided to stay at home with her.  So I quit my nursing job and focused on the baby.  During that time I started to have dreams about different story ideas.  I'd wake up and think of these stories and ponder the idea of trying to write them down.  That idea was ridiculous though.  Other than college papers, I'd never written much of anything.  The concept of being able to synthesize an entire story into coherent, legible writing seemed a feat too impossible.
            Except the dreams kept coming and the ideas kept flowing.  So one day I decided instead of thinking about how difficult it would be and what if I couldn't do it, I decided to think, what if I could?
            So I set a goal to write at least twenty minutes a day while the baby took her nap.  Some days I didn't get the chance to actually sit down and meet the goal but many days I did, and found that twenty minutes quickly turned into an hour or two.  Six months later, I sat back in my chair and looked at the screen of my laptop at the final sentence of the manuscript I'd been working on, and thought, "I've done it.  I've just written a book."
            I quickly learned that writing the book was the easy part.  Selling it to an agent or publishing house and then marketing the book was the hard part.  But I dove in and began the difficult process which began with realizing that, though I'd written a book, it needed a LOT of work.  It was a mess.  A mess with potential, but a mess nonetheless.  So began the rewrites and edits.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Michelle Bellon:
I wish I could say this quiet little room in my house where I stare out the window and think up glorious plots while I sip my tea.  The reality is that I have three children running around with constant demands and a dog that likes to bark at every little sound.  So I sit down and write when I feel driven to do so with the hopes of getting my thoughts onto paper without being interrupted more than ten times in a ten minute span.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Michelle Bellon:
I don't like music or television on when I'm writing.  It's much too distracting.  Also, I have a habit of pulling up a solitaire game when I get stuck writing a scene.  I'll play three or four games, or ten, whatever, and then when I'm done I seem to be able to finish writing the scene better.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Michelle Bellon:
All books.  I just love reading.  I love escaping into another time, another life or dimension.  I love how you can have experiences and feel emotions that you might never have experienced otherwise through a well written book and its characters.  The reason I write multi genre is because I read multi genre.  I don't want to limit my experience by sticking to only one writing style.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Michelle Bellon:
I wish I had known more about the marketing aspect.  I've had to learn the hard way what it takes to get your book in the hands of readers and I always advice aspiring authors to do their homework on what it will take to market their work.  Writing the book is one thing.  Marketing it is a whole other beast.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Michelle Bellon:
The characters, without a doubt.  Of course you need a good, solid pollen.  That goes without question.  But without interesting, gripping characters, no one will care enough to follow the plot.  I believe in creating characters with serious flaws and who face realistic life struggles.  I don't want to read a story where the character has it all figured out and never makes mistakes.  No.  I want to watch them make those mistakes and face those demons.  This is what makes them believable, human.  It's what makes us, as readers, invest in them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Michelle Bellon:
I'd have to say Matea from Restless.  But I haven't published that one yet, so I can't say anything more about it or I'll have to kill you.  Just kidding.  That book should release this coming winter.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in their genre?

Michelle Bellon:
This book will stick out in its genre because it takes the struggles of three simple individuals and interweaves their lives with a metaphysical, almost magical element to the story.  I've had reviewers compare it to works like The shack and The Lovely Bones, so think along those lines.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Michelle Bellon:
This particular book was my 'rainy day' project.  I started writing The Fire Inside five years ago.  Since the day I finished it, I've rewritten it so many times I lost count.  Then I had it professionally edited and rewrote it another eight to ten times.  Every time I'd go back and read it, I'd shake my head and think, 'It isn't read.'  Normally an impatient person, I wrote and published many other books during that time, but kept this one in 'the trunk' for 'someday.'
            Finally, one day, after working on it for another solid month, I put it aside and felt good about where it was at.  Still, I put it away to work on something else.  Another month later, I pulled it up and started reading.  When I was done I smiled and felt a glimmer of peace.  It was ready.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Michelle Bellon:
Hopefully, a lot more stories.  As I said before, I plan to publish Restless, a women's fiction title this winter.  I'm also working on my first ever non-fiction piece.  I'd like to have that done by next year.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Michelle.  It was great having you!!

Michelle Bellon:
Thank you for having me on your blog and a special thanks to my readers for all the support they've shown me.


About the book:
Aiden had the perfect life.  A job he loved, a beautiful son and a loving wife.  In an instant everything is taken from him and Aiden assumes his life is over.  Falling into a deep depression Aiden has all but given up on his job, his friends and himself.  But when a mysterious force gives him the power to heal those around him, Aiden is forced to pull himself out of his depression in favor of the greater good.  When he mets Ryan, a young woman living on the streets, and Norma, a woman whose marriage is crumbling around her, Aiden acknowledges that maybe his life still has a purpose and his ability to heal maybe more powerful than he may have ever imagined.

2 comments:

Cozy in Texas said...

I always enjoy author interviews.
Ann

Cozy in Texas said...

Intriguing cover.
Ann