Natalina Bell

Me3001.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something?I’ve always written. I remember being about 8-years old and writing poems and stories, After I had my oldest son I decided to write for publication. I wrote two or three full-length novels that I submitted for publication (I just recently found the files) but then life got in the way, as it often does and I didn’t write for a few years. In 2014 I met some local women who had started a writer’s group. The admin posted three prompts every Monday and we would just pick one or more and write. For me having someone read my writing was scary but exciting. Then I found out about NaNoWriMo and I decided to challenge myself. I was able to write what would become my first published book that month. Now, I can’t imagine going too long without writing.

2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I am a teacher in my “mundane” life which leaves me with very little time for writing. I normally stop at a coffee shop on the way home and write for about an hour before going home. If I don’t have anything urgent to do at home (like lesson plans or grading papers), I will sit for another hour or so every evening and write. Snowstorms like the one we had in January are an amazing opportunity to write since schools closed and I had an unexpected seven days of writing time, lol.

3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?I do get writers’ block. I make myself write even if it’s not good. I have noticed that if I do that eventually the ideas will start flowing again and then I can “fix” the mess I made before. I also feel that listening to music, reading a good book or watching a movie sometimes inspires me to write.

4.Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story?I’m definitely a pantser. I am so bad that even when I actually plan ahead I often change the plans completely as I write. I’m not lying when I say that my characters often lead me to write whatever it is I write. I have a sketch of a plan (very very sketchy) and as I write I fill-in the gaps.

5.Are you traditionally or self-published?I’m published with Limitless Publishing. 6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors?It was a learning experience, but a lot less painful that what I expected. Being a rookie in the business has its disadvantages but I am very pleased by the amazing support the publisher and other writers have offered me. My advice to an aspiring author is to keep trying because it can happen. I waited a lifetime to get here, but I did get here. Believe in yourself and don’t expect to get rich in this business.

7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author?
I lost my dad sixteen years ago. He always believed I could be whatever I set my mind to be and he always encouraged me to reach for the stars. To be able to fulfil a life dream and use his name (Reis) to do so fills me with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. And of course  there are the requests for autographed books that make me feel like a star.

8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? My last (and first) published book is a romance. It started as a flash fiction piece for my women’s writer group and bloomed into a full novel. The idea was that two people would meet somewhere unusual and in order to escape whatever situation they were in they had to help each other and improvise their way out. I came up with the idea of two strangers meeting in a small closet in a house where neither of them was supposed to be and having to improvise in order to get out of trouble. I write romance that lies somewhere between sweet and contemporary romance. I write my stories the way I like to read them; lots of emotion, lighter on sex, always with humor and a little mystery. 

9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.)Well, I’m still working on it. Definitely build up your platform by using whatever social media you can handle. This takes a little while to do so I suggest you start way before your book is published. Network with other authors and other readers. Just put yourself “out there”—not easy when you are an introvert like me. What NOT to do? Not doing anything. Your book won’t sell just because you want it to. You have to take risks, sometimes even invest a little financially in order to be visible to readers.

10.How long on average does it take you to write a book?I wrote the bulk of mine in one month but then it took about another six months and many edits to get to the point where it was ready for submission. Then a few more edits before publication. It’s the fine-tuning that takes the longest, at least for me.

11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. The graphic artists assigned to me by my publisher sent me a questionnaire about the books. What kind of “feel” would I like for the book? What color scheme would I like, etc… Then they sent me the cover. I happened to like mine, but I understand that if I didn’t I could “negotiate” something with the artist/company.

12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time?I teach elementary school kids and that takes a colossal amount of “non-writing” time. I love music, dancing, and reading. I do yoga to keep my body and mind healthy and watch lots of TV fiction and movies. I am a Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the best TV writing ever) groupie and I periodically watch the whole seven seasons just as my collection of every adaptation of Jane Austen’s books . I also periodically reread Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments series. I also drink a lot of coffee.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00033]