Suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense author Donnell Ann Bell sits for an interview today. Learn more about Donnell and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
When I left my newspaper job, started reading more and more fiction, and the writing bug transferred over.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I started in 2001 and was traditionally published in 2011.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
So far, traditionally.
Where do you write?
In my bedroom, patio or office. Actually pretty much everywhere, I write in Greg shorthand.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I need silence as in complete, no background noise. (I have the attention span of flea. I’m distracted by everything).
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I think all four of my books have a little of me in them. In The Past Came Hunting, that was probably the most because my kids played sports, and were growing up all around me as I wrote it. I needed to accept and embrace that time of life. (Note: I’ve never been in prison, though).
In Deadly Recall I recalled some of the events that happened in Catholic school, and they may have made it into the book – just sayin’.
In Betrayed, not much of me is in that book, but the Denver location made it easy to write about.
In Buried Agendas, again not much of me is in the book, although I did abuse many of my chemical engineer husband’s associates to learn about chemical dumping.
Describe your process for naming your character?
This is a struggle for me. I come up with a name and let it gel. Sometimes friends suggest names and it clicks, sometimes I ask readers if they’ll let me use a name. I try to come up with something not too hard for readers to pronounce and not so generic the name is forgettable.
Real settings or fictional towns?
So far three real settings: Colorado Springs, Albuquerque and Denver. One fictional town near El Paso, Texas.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Gosh… my characters have different characterizations, not really quirks. In Betrayed it’s a mother and daughter reunion story, and although they don’t know each other, they’re both terrified of heights.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I can’t go down in the basement after dark to exercise. I’m down there all day. But let the sun go down, and nobody home, I cannot talk myself into it – which is why I never understand the heroine going down in the basement or up the stairs when she hears a noise in fiction—I’m the first to yell, don’t do it!
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Wow, such a hard question. I admire so many authors, but I’m going to pass on this question – I’m a firm believer in “find your own voice.”
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
My published books I’m still okay with…my unpublished books I wish I could do-over, but because they’re so raw, they would require a complete rewrite. I wish I could do over my early work—how’s that because they’re not very good and it would take a wrecking crew to make them publishable. I believe every book you finish makes you grow as a writer and you see all your mistakes in your early work.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Authors talking badly about other authors.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Water. Sunscreen (I’m ridiculously fair), and a five-subject notebook and pen. Finally all the quiet and needed alone-time to write!
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I went to work for a financial planner, and she had me drive her everywhere, and clueless me didn’t realize that she was broke, and I was being manipulated, until on pay day there was no paycheck. Dumbest two weeks of my life.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Taylor Caldwell, A Pillar of Iron.
Ocean or mountains?
Oh…. Forgive me Colorado… Ocean because I see it so rarely.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Both, I’m from a small town and I love it, but there’s nothing like the city for variety.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I am working on two books as I type this: I’m working on a book for Bell Bridge Books called Deadly Return. It’s the sequel to Deadly Recall, and I have a suspense that I’m holding until I decide what to do with it. It’s called, Whatever Happened to Rae Lynn Walker? and book one of a series.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Bell Bridge Books is running a special on my debut book, The Past Came Hunting. It will be $1.99 beginning today and running through the end of October. If you like romantic suspense, a book on the importance of family, a love story, and naturally suspense, I hope you’ll check it out.
A conspiracy that strikes at our most precious bonds.
When Oklahoma resident, Irene Turner learns the incomprehensible, that the stillborn baby she delivered 28 years earlier is alive, she takes the evidence to where her daughter now lives—Denver, Colorado. Detective Nate Paxton can’t believe what Irene Turner shows him. Kinsey Masters, a world-class athlete, raised by a prominent Denver family, an unattainable woman he’s known and loved for years, was stolen at birth.
Irene Turner, Nate Paxton, and Kinsey Masters are united in a sordid conspiracy. But, it’s who the conspirators turn out to be that will leave the trio shaken and in disbelief. Irene’s foundation of trust will be ripped from its core, as kidnapping, murder and a thirst for revenge lead her to learn she’s been betrayed.