Monday, 15 April 2013

Author Interview - Jessica Bell

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming contemporary fiction author and musician Jessica Bell to my blog. If you haven't read any of her books or listened to her music, you really should. My favourite album is Melody Hill: On the Other Side, which she recorded to accompany her book String Bridge.

Over to you, Jessica.

Q: What made you want to be a writer? 

I just realized one day that I couldn’t live without it. And figured, if I’m going to be writing all the time, I might as well try to get published.

Q: When and why did you begin writing?  

I started writing poetry first. I must have been about eleven, sitting on a rock by the sea in a little place in Greece called Monemvasia. I was so inspired by my surroundings that I needed a way to express it. Not long after, I started writing songs. My mother had decided to sell her twelve-string acoustic guitar to get a bit of extra cash. I saw it sitting by the front door. I think someone was coming over to take a look at it. I remember opening the case and thinking that it just looked so beautiful, and why would Mum want to get rid of it? I think she was in the music room at the time and I interrupted one of her recording sessions to ask about the guitar. When she told me she was selling it, I asked her whether I could have it. She said that I could if I learnt to play. From that day I had that guitar in my hands every single day until I moved to Greece in 2002. I taught myself how to play. The first song I ever wrote was played on one string and sung in a very high-pitched awful voice. I hope that cassette never gets dug up!

Q: How has your upbringing influenced your writing?  

Being the daughter of a semi-famous rock ‘n’ roll duo from Melbourne, Australia, I grew up surrounded by song. For a while it seemed logical to travel the musician’s path, especially when my first band, spAnk, hit it off in the Melbourne indie music scene back in the late 90s. Although I spent years writing and recording dozens of songs I decided I also had a love for the written word. So I guess music started everything off.

Q: What genre are you most comfortable writing?  

Contemporary fiction. Realistic. Not into fantasy or paranormal at all.

Q: What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? 

If I’m too influenced by other people’s ideas it will skew my own. So I only ever seek an opinion once I’m confident about the final result. And I will only ever change something, then, if the suggestion completely resonates with me. Of course, I always keep an open mind. Nothing is ever set in stone. But I find this a challenge because it’s so hard to keep things to myself when I’m excited about them. I just want to share it with everybody.

Q: Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? 

Absolutely. I usually take it as a sign that I’m burned out and give myself a break. It works.

Q: Can you share a little of your current work, Show & Tell in a Nutshell with us?  

Sure. Here is the first example from the book: 

~Scene 1~

amazing view


(feel) hot


(feel) tired 


Sandy stood at the foot of the Egyptian Pyramids. Though she was hot, tired and sore, she was awestruck by the amazing view and felt a sense of relief. Finally, she’d made it. 


Sweat ran between Sandy’s breasts and the soles of her feet burned from the two hour trek across the desert. Even though her shoulders ached from carrying her heavy rucksack, and her nose stung from the dry heat, it didn’t matter. She was standing right in front of something she’d been waiting to see her whole life. The Pyramids of Giza glistened through heat waves as if extracting all her pain. Sandy looked up, shielded her eyes from the sun, refused to break her stare. She stood, jaw agape, wondering how she’d kept away for so long.

Q: How did you come up with the title?

I wanted something that portrayed exactly what readers were going to get, so it was pretty straightforward from there. 

Q:Who designed the cover?


Q: Will you write others in this same genre?

Of course. This book is just the first of the “Writing in a Nutshell Series”. The next pocket guide is Adverbs & Clichés in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Perfectly Atrocious Adverbs, and Dull as Dishwater Clichés, into Gourmet Descriptions

Q: Do you have any advice for writers?

Learn the rules and then break them intelligently. 

Q: Finally, what do you do to unwind and relax?

You’ll always catch me reading when I go to bed. But I’m also a sucker for a great TV series. My favorites are Homeland, Grey’s Anatomy, Dexter and Fringe.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-Fiction / Writing Skills Reference
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Jessica Bell on Facebook &  Twitter

Thank you, Jessica. It was a pleasure getting to know you better. I must admit I'm addicted to Grey's Anatomy myself.

I'm taking a blogging break between now and April 29th, so I can catch up with writing-related tasks. There is no Speculative Fiction Writer this week, but Stacy Claflin will be here on April 24th. I'll still be checking my emails, so if there is anything urgent please drop me a line. Happy writing.


  1. Great Interview a real pleasure to read.


  2. Take care, Ellie. You'll feel better for the break.

  3. Hi lovely Ellie and lovely Jessica!! Thank you for that fab example of show and tell!! Definitely a lesson learned there! Take care

  4. Thanks for taking part in the tour, Ellie! :-)

  5. Jessica! So good to see Ellie's post on Facebook about this interview. I didn't know about the Nutshell need to keep me abreast on these things, you know. A wonderful example!

    You are a renaissance woman. Music, writing, poetry,'s no wonder I'm drawn to you. What a great way to grow up, too.

    This was an excellent interview to get to know you better. I'll be looking at your nutshell series for possible Progressive Book Club use. I like to support my writing friends.

    1. Thank you! I saw that you purchased the book. Really appreciate the support! :-)

  6. Nice job with the interview. I so admire people who do poetry. Makes sense for a musician, though.

  7. Creative people tend to be creative in many areas. Jessica's book is great - she really shows you how to do it right in the examples.

  8. Great interview, and I love the author pic. Very nice! :)

    Best of luck to Jessica with the books! More power to the writers.



  9. Hi Ellie and Jess .. so interesting to read more - and to see how you build your storyline - keeping things secret that you're passionate about is difficult isn't it!

    You are certainly creative ... I love the idea of the series: Show and tell in a Nutshell ... and I'll be buying anon ..

    Cheers to you both - Hilary

  10. I love your show and tell sample, Jessica. I need that book!

    Hi Ellie!

    Lovely interview, ladies :)

  11. Awesome interview, ladies. :) Love the cover, too!

    Best of luck, Jess. I think your book is going to be a great resource for writers.

  12. Yay Fringe! One of my favourites.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  13. Great interview.

    My first written work was contemporary fiction. I might return to that someday.

  14. Jessica gave a real in-depth interview. Glad for the shout-out to the pyramids and Gray's Anatomy - love them!
    Have a restful and productive break, Ellie! :-)

  15. Hey Ellie! Hope everything is all right. You were my special feature last Friday and just wanted to be sure you saw it.


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