AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Anna Bell
Author Anna Bell has already released two novels, Universally Challenged and Millie and the American Wedding, as well as writing for chick-lit sites Novelicious and Chicklit Club. Her third book, Don't Tell the Groom, is now available, and we loved it! The book focuses on Penny, who loses a chunk of her wedding fund to online gambling and secretly having to plan for the biggest day of her life - on a budget. We put our questions to Anna to find out more!
Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer.
Penny gambles away £10,000 and has to plan her wedding on a shoestring budget.
What inspired you to write Don't Tell the Groom?
After planning a wedding on a shoestring budget myself, eighteen months ago, I thought it would be fun to write a budget bride story. I just didn't know what the hook was going to be. The gambling aspect was inspired by the constant adverts on TV for internet bingo, they've always fascinated me as it makes me wonder how many people get into trouble playing them. A friend of mine put me in touch with their friend who had had an internet gambling addiction, and after hearing their story of how quickly their life spiraled out of control, the idea for the book was born.
Where do you do most of your writing?
It really depends what mood I'm in. I do have an office where I try to be good and do the majority of my writing. Whilst I write, my dog sits in a comfy chair and I usually write until he paws me and tells me it's time for a walk. If the weather's warm then I sit outside as then it doesn't make me feel like I'm missing out on a nice day.
What is your favourite book?
I don't have a favourite book per se, but I am a lover of a good book series. I think a favourite book is one that you re-read and it's like a comfort blanket. As I don't often re-read books, reading a series is my equivalent. I think my favourite chick-lit series has to be Sophie Kinsella's Shopoholic series. When I pick up a book about Becky Bloomwood it's like reading about a long lost friend.
Which part of Don't Tell the Groom was the most enjoyable to write?
Don't Tell the Groom is the first book that I've written in the first person narrative, and I found the whole thing enjoyable. My favourite chapter to write was when Penny hosts a wine tasting evening that goes badly wrong. It's a chapter where it really benefits from being able to get inside Penny's head as her sarcasm and humour shows through.
What are you currently reading?
At the moment I'm reading Freya North's Rumours. It was a well chosen (or should I say lucky) Christmas present from my step-dad. It is one of the only Freya North books that I haven't read. She's one of my favourite authors, her books about the Mcabe sisters (Cat, Pip, Fen, Home Truths) are fabulous and they make you feel like you feel like you're part of the family when you read them.
Who is your favourite heroine?
I started reading chick-lit fifteen years ago and so I've been introduced to a fair number of brilliant characters over the years, but one that springs to mind is always Jemima J by Jane Green. I couldn't tell you what it was about her, maybe it was her flaws or the aspirations she had, but she got under my skin. I was lucky enough to meet Jane at a book launch last year and I was delighted to learn that Jemima might be making a comeback in one form or another.
Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
As a self-published author my biggest tip would be don't give up and keep writing. Whether you modify your dream and self-publish or you keep trying to get published traditionally, you won't get either if you don't try. And if you've flogged your book to death without getting anywhere, then write something else. Your writing is only going to get better with time, so don't be afraid to keep writing novels even if you haven't got anywhere yet.
Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I'm just in the planning stage of my next novel which I'm eager to start as soon as I move house. The next book is about a woman who is very unlucky in love and she has an unimaginably bad track record of dates. There may be a fair few experiences of my own that appear in this one, and I'm delighted that some of my friends have given me the green light to write about their bad dating stories in it, too.
You can find out more about Anna Bell and her books by visiting her website or Twitter (@annabell_writes).