Monday, 13 April 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

... Nancy Bell

1.    Tell me about your book, A Step Beyond, and where you got your inspiration for it?

A Step Beyond picks up the story of one of the secondary characters in Laurel’s Quest, so the inspiration came from the first book in the series. I wanted to help Gort, (whose name in the Oghams means Ivy and represents the search for self) find his way out of the dark place he was in and through his journey show young readers there is always hope and a way out of any situation.

2.    Who is your role model and why?

This one is easy…all the animals in my life. If I can only learn to be as honest, loving, and forgiving, as animals are I will be a much better person and the world would be a much nicer place if humans were more like animals. Some of them are the most courageous souls I know.

3.    If you could cast a Patronus Charm (like in Harry Potter) what animal would it be and why?

It would be a horse. Horses are as much a part of my life as breathing. My earliest memory is of riding a horse at the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario.

4.    What is one misconception people have about you?

That I don’t have a temper. I do, a bad one, I have just learned to control it and hide it. Quickest way to make me lose it is to pick on someone or be mean to an animal. 

5.    Are the titles of your books important?

Titles are very important. They are part of what makes a reader pick up your book in the first place and also I feel it is very important that the title evoke some kind of emotion in the reader. It should encapsulate what the main message of the novel is.

6.    Are there any occupational hazards of bring a novelist?

Forgetting to eat and walk the dogs.

7.    What is your favourite character from your book and why?

In A Step Beyond, my favorite character is the crystal stallion, Ailim. He’s quite the character and a lady’s man. He is Gort’s soul friend. He’s a composite of a lot of horses I have known over the years.

8.    Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I do read my reviews. I don’t generally respond to them. Reviews are entitled to their opinions of my work and I have to respect that, good or bad. I try to be objective about any negative comments (fortunately there are few of these) and see if there is something I can take from it to make my work stronger.

9.    Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I think I was born with it. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. Some of the stuff from grade school is pretty bad (I still have it LOL), but I wrote a novel in Grade 7 that I keep thinking I should look at and re-work. It surely needs polishing in the worst way, but it has all the elements it needs to be a good story. Just needs a bit of maturity in the author voice. When we were kids my grandmother or grandfather read to us every night before bed and I learned to love the way the words painted pictures.

10. What do you like to read in your free time?

I love Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. Charles de Lint is my favorite author, followed by Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey. Although, I do love Jack Whyte, Diana Gabaldon and Patrick Taylor as well. I read a lot and really enjoy other people’s work.

11. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

The best advice I can give is keep writing. Write and then write some more. Keep an open mind to constructive criticism and ignore the mean spirited comments some people feel moved to write. Be true to yourself and your characters.

12. What are you ambitions for your writing career?

I want to touch my readers and draw them into my worlds. Fame and fortune would be nice, but it’s not the reason I write. I write because I can’t NOT write.

13. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

Not as a rule, I just sit down and start typing. When the characters quite speaking to me, I quit writing.

14. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love series. Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country Doctor series is one of my favs. In my own work, I find that the secondary characters just scream out for me to write their own stories and delve deeper into who they are and what makes them tick. I think readers enjoy that cozy feeling of returning to familiar settings but seeing them from a different point of view.

15. What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

At the 2013 Surrey International Writers Conference which is just before Hallowe’en, I was Evil Editor at the Friday night dress up event. Picture a witch with a really cool hat complete with spider and jar full of pink sparkly liquid containing the crushed dreams of authors I’ve edited. I have pictures if you’d like. hehehe  

16. What’s your star sign? Do you read your horoscope and do you believe them?

I’m a Sagittarius. Horse and archer. I sometimes read my horoscope but I don’t really buy into the everyday predictions. They’re way too general.

17. If you could chose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why?

Hmmm, sixteen was a magical time, but I’d never want to be a teenager again. I think 48 was a good year. That was before I had a catastrophic injury that ended my riding career and left me with a permanent limp and chronic pain. .but then, the age I am right now is pretty good too. I’m a published author and have the time and ability to follow my muse and bring my stories to light. Hmmmm…..

18. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Oh dear Lord! The list is far too long. Probably the most crazy thing was sliding a dead garter snake into a guy’s car that I had a huge crush on. It stayed in there for a week during a hot humid Ontario July week, so you can imagine the smell when the door was opened…  

19. What is the one thing you always wanted as a kid but never got?

A pony or a horse. I know, I know, boring… one track mind. But that was me as a kid.

20. If you had to dispose of a dead body, how would you do it?

Feed it to a pen of hungry pigs. There would be nothing left…  Ooopps, did I just give away my evil side???


Legend says that land once stretched from Lands End in Cornwall as far as the Isles of Scillies, thirty miles out in the Atlantic. To this mythical land Gort Treliving escapes when his Uncle Daniel beats him senseless. He steps away from his corporeal body and walks into the mist of oblivion, seeking only to escape the pain. To Gort’s surprise, he finds he is Sir Gawain, one of King Arthur’s knights. He is also the partner of a wonderful grey war stallion who can telepathically speak to him.
While he is caught up in a wild chase across the countryside to rescue King Arthur’s kidnapped queen and her lady, Gort as Gawain, tries to puzzle out the strange visions of another life that assail him at the most inopportune times.
There is intrigue, mystery, sword play and a dash of romance. A Step Beyond is a rollicking romp of an adventure that borrows inspiration from the Arthurian legends with a decidedly quirky cast of supporting characters.

About Nancy

Nancy M Bell has publishing credits in poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Nancy has presented at the Surrey International Writers Conference and the Writers Guild of Alberta Conference. She is currently working on Book 3 of her series The Cornwall Adventures. 

Please visit her webpage
You can find her on Facebook at
Follow on twitter: @emilypikkasso
Blog:  Come Walk With Me


  1. Hi Sonnet, thanks so much for inviting me to visit! Nancy

  2. Nice to meet another horse lover. And I love your story with the dead garter snake!

  3. LOL Victoria. I got in so much trouble over that. Yes, horses are just in my blood. Can't imagine my life without them. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. The Cornwall Adventures are absolutely delightful, and my twin grandaughters are getting all three for their summer birthday. Jude

  5. Thanks Jude! That's awesome. Let me know if you want me to sign them for the girls.

  6. Dear Sonnet, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. It looks wonderful and I really appreciate the support.

    Thank you again