Hello dear readers. Welcome back to Strands of Thought! Today I’m featuring another new author for you. MJ Bell writes fantasy and sci fi for young adults.
Welcome MJ! Can you please tell us about you?
Hi Kai, I'm M.J. Bell, an Indie author from Colorado. I write Teen/YA fantasy and sci/fi because that's what I love to read, and seriously, who doesn't need a little bit more fantasy in their lives these days?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but never actually finish a book until about ten years ago. It was the first in my fantasy trilogy, Chronicles of the Secret Prince. It won the Mom's Choice Gold Award in the fantasy category. Since then I've published the full trilogy and a YA sci/fi suspense time travel, Next Time I See You. And my fifth book titled, Three, is being edited now and I hope to have it out by the end of the year.
I love the cover of Next Time I See You. Tell us more about it.
It's a time travel book about a college student, Kat Chambers, who sinks into a deep depression after her boyfriend is killed. But then a chance encounter with an intriguing stranger leads her to the discovery of a time machine and she hatches a scheme to sneak into the lab and use the machine to travel back in time seventeen months to stop the killer. But once Kat steps out of the time machine, it becomes clear fate has a different plan for her, and it's not at all what she expected.
It's available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DGTV33K/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
The paperback is also available at Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/next-time-i-see-you-mj-bell/1128859789?ean=9780692129180
What inspired you to write this book?
I love time travel stories and movies. My favorite movie of all time is Somewhere in Time. After watching that a half dozen times, I was inspired to write my own time travel, but I wanted it to be using science not magic. That was a problem since no one has discovered how to time travel yet, and the only way physicists say time travel is possible is to fly a rocketship close to a black hole, fly faster than the speed of light, or possibly use cosmic strings that are floating around in space. And none of those options are available to a normal, everyday college student! And since I'm a writer who has to have the story sound feasible (at least to me), I couldn't write the book. Then a few years ago, I happened across an article about a college professor who developed a theory to use light waves to bend space time into a circle in which you could travel through time. He's even developing a scale model that he swears will work. That was it—a scientific answer to my problem! I was so excited. Even though, he may never ever get his machine to work, he gave me the concepts that are possible along with a way to get my character, Kat, back in time. Of course, as in all my books, the story didn't turn out as I had planned, because the characters had their own ideas. But I'm really happy the way it turned out, which I think is better than what I originally, and it has a nice twist at the end I didn't expect!
Okay, now I’d like to help our readers get to know the author behind the book a little better. Please share with us your top three answers to the following:
1. Top 3 moments in your writer life
There have been numerous special moments in my writing career that have touched my heart and that I'll never forget, the first time a publisher told me they wanted to publish my book, when I got the notice I won the Mom's Choice Award, when I actually held my first book in my hands, but the ones that really make me want to keep writing are the responses from my fans. After a woman read Next Time I See You, she wrote me a note saying she used to love to read but had given up on it a decade ago. She came across my book, though, and picked it up on a whim and she couldn't put it down. She said my book made her realize how much she'd been missing and it has gotten her back into reading. That one brought me to tears. Another moment was going to an elementary school to talk about writing to 5th & 6th graders. When I walked in, a group rushed me, gushing about how much they love my fantasy trilogy. Their faces were glowing with excitement to meet me and get to talk to a real author. That's the kind of stuff that stays with you forever. And lastly, having fans drive long distances and hunt me down at Denver Comic to meet me and tell me how much they enjoyed my books. There's nothing like it, and they don't realize it's as much of a thrill for me to meet them and it is for them to meet me.
2. Top 3 pieces of advice for new writers
My advice for new writers is to not gage your success on anyone else's. Each writer has their own goals and you don't know what they are. So just because you're not successful as someone else doesn't mean you're a failure. Just do the best you can, put out the best book you can, and be happy that you did so. Many people talk about writing a book, but never do it. If you have a finished piece, then you've succeeded, and you should extremely proud of yourself. And don't let anyone put you down.
3. Top 3 things you learned about the business after becoming a writer
The top thing I learned is getting traditionally published is not what it's cracked up to be. It took me many years to dive into Indie Publishing. I'm so glad I did, though, and I've never looked back.
I also learned you have to market your own books – and this goes even if you are traditionally published. With my first book, once I turned it over to my publisher, I thought my job was finished! Boy was I wrong! Marketing is probably the hardest part of being an author, but like it or not, you gotta do it!
A good editor is worth their weight in gold! Editing is hard, and having an editor tell you to delete a scene because it slows down the pacing is even harder. But 98% of the time they know what they're talking about. And though it may hurt your heart to take out some of your perfect sentences, when you go back through it, you won't even notice they're gone! And I do believe having a professional editor look at your manuscript is the most important thing you can do for your career, especially if you plan to Indie publish.
We’re so happy you stopped in today, MJ. Let’s wrap this up with you telling us, where our readers can connect with you.
Thank you so much for having me. I love to talk to readers about just about anything. My website is: http://mj-bell.com/ , my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org and my FB page is: https://www.facebook.com/MJ-Bell-Author-704876402864156