Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Bookish Conversation with Michelle Bellon, author of 'The Fire Inside'

Michelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her four children and boyfriend, Seth. She loves coffee and has an addiction to chapstick.

She works at a surgery center as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. She writes in the genres of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won four literary awards to include making finalist in the New Age category in the USA Book Awards for her latest release, The Fire Inside.
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Title: The Fire Inside
Author: Michelle Bellon
Publisher: Booktrope
Pages: 206
Genre: New Age Fiction

Aiden, a doting husband and father, 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 believes his life is over. Falling into a deep depression Aiden all but gives up on his job, his friends and himself. But when a mysterious force grants him the power to heal those around him, Aiden is forced to pull himself out of his misery in favor of the greater good. When he meets Ryan, a hardened, pessimistic teenager living on the streets, and Norma, a woman whose marriage is crumbling around her, Aiden acknowledges that maybe life still has a purpose and this ability to heal may be more powerful than he ever imagined.

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Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Above all things I’m a mom. I have four beautiful children ranging from age seven to age twenty and they keep me fairly busy. I also work full time as a registered nurse at a surgical center. My day typically begins at four-thirty a.m and I’m off to work. When I get home it’s all about the kids, homework, meal times, playtime, etc. To be honest, writing is something I do when all other responsibilities are taken care of. Unfortunately, that means I don’t get to it as often as I’d like. But that’s okay, I’m very fulfilled with life.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in 2009 while I was raising my fourth baby, for two reasons. One, I desperately wanted to see if I could do something as awesome as writing a book. Two, I needed something to do, other than changing diapers and talking baby talk all day that would stimulate my mind before I slipped into mommy madness.

I was shocked when I managed to finish my first novel six months later. Little did I know, that my work had barely begun. That book went through about five rewrites and multiple edits before it was ready, but still, I was proud to have made it that far.
As I started the grueling process of querying agents and receiving rejections, I started another book. I also submitted my first book to a few small presses. Two offered to publish it and so I made the decision to sign with a small press in London, of all places. It was a great experience.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

It had to be the year I won my first three literary awards for two separate books. It validated that my writing was improving in quality. Being able to label oneself as an award-winning author is always a goal for any writer. It spurred me on to want to continue to do better with each novel after that. I’m happy to say my latest release, The Fire Inside, was just awarded as finalist in The USA Book Awards for New Age Fiction.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Well, I love to travel, though I don’t do it much since I’m busy with work and children. However, my goal is to travel to various locations eventually. I especially love the idea of visiting sites of ancient civilizations.

That said, the idea of mixing travel and writing isn’t all that appealing. When I’m writing, I like to stay isolated and minimize distraction. Probably because I’m a bit ADHD and pretty much everything distracts me. When I’m traveling, I like to be out and about discovering everything there is to discover. I’m go, go, go. The two would not go well together for me. However, I could see how traveling would be inspirational and instigate plenty of ideas for a book once I returned home.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Write, write, write. The hardest part about being a mom and working full time is that all of the necessary tasks of the day take up nearly all of my time and energy. By the time I have a free moment I’m exhausted and want nothing more than to stare at a wall and drool on myself.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

That’s a great question. That goes back to the traveling thing. So far, most of my settings in books are places I’ve been. Write what you know, right? Therefore, settings are limited. That’s why it would be nice to see a few new spots around the globe. Any island setting could be fun or somewhere isolated, like Alaska.

Back to your present book, The Fire Inside, how did you publish it?

The Fire Inside was released through Booktrope Publishing this last June. For those who don’t know, they are a publishing venue unlike any other. Their approach is somewhere in the middle of self-publishing and traditional. It’s a team approach. As an author, you build your publishing team by choosing from their large selection of members. You select your project manager, book manager, editor, proofreader, and cover designer. Together, your team works toward publishing your work with no cost to the author, as it should be, and then the team shares royalties based on a percentage.
So far, it’s the most beneficial approach to publishing that I’ve experienced. It’s the best of both worlds and I’m very impressed with the quality of writers, editors, and designers among them.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Nope, no traveling but I’ll tell you what inspired this particular story.

Quite a few years back, a friend told me about an experience they had after an injury to their back. After many months of living with excruciating pain and trying every medicinal means available to alleviate the pain, nothing had improved their condition. After much suffering, one of their acquaintances recommended an alternative treatment. They suggested he seek help from a local man who was known to be a touch healer. Doubtful but desperate my friend sought out the healer and made an appointment. He reported that during the session, everywhere the healer touched became very hot and tingly. After the session, my friend left not only feeling a great deal of pain relief but he felt giddily happy and full of positivity. Later, when he saw the friend who had recommended the healer to him in the first place, he asked what he knew about him and how he became a healer. The friend said he didn’t know much but there were many rumors surrounding him. The main one being, that he once was a simple man with a wife and child he loved very much. One day, he lost both to a horrible accident. After that he became a recluse and hid from the world for an entire year, never leaving his home. They said that when he emerged he had healing abilities.
This story, whether it was true or not, fascinated me. I thought it would be a fabulous element to build a novel around. And, so it began.

Why was writing The Fire Inside so important to you?

Writing feeds me. So many things in life drain you and leave you feeling tired or empty at the end of the day. But writing is the one thing, that when I’m done, I feel energized and excited about. That creative energy that flows through you is invigorating.
I was particularly excited to write The Fire Inside because of its overall message. The characters were so raw and vulnerable in their personal crisis. I knew that by throwing them together the way I did, a powerful and emotional story would inevitably evolve. And it did. I’m so proud of it.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

It’s funny but I get my ideas in one of two ways. I either dream it, or it pops into my head as I’m driving somewhere. Don’t ask why. I haven’t got a clue.
I’d like to say I brainstorm ideas and come up with brilliant plot lines, but the truth is they just kind of come out of nowhere. It’s awesome.

Any final words?

As always, thank you to everyone who has supported me along my journey. It hasn’t been an easy one. I hope everyone that reads The Fire Inside will be as inspired as I was when I wrote it.


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