Angela Bell was a 2010 Genesis finalist and the winner of A Novel Writing Site’s fiction contest in the student category. Her science fiction tales are set in various planets across the galaxy.
Angela resides in Edinburg, Texas with her parents, one brother, two sisters, and three silly dogs. She is a home school graduate and has dedicated her time to studying the art of fiction writing. In 2010 she joined the American Christian Fiction Writers.
When Angela isn’t creating new worlds, she enjoys reading all the books she can get her hands on. She loves to browse through antique shops in search of treasures and enjoy the smell of old books. A professional bargain hunter, she frequently visits T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s with her mom.
Angela likes blueberry scones fresh out of the oven served with clotted cream and blueberry jam, so we have the virtual variety. To go along with the cyber scones, we’re offering a hot cup of Yorkshire Gold tea. Cream and sugar, anyone? Feel free to munch and sip as you learn more about Angela and her writing journey.
Angela Embarks on Her Journey
•When did you begin writing your first novel, and where did you get the idea?
I started writing my first book in the fall of 2009. The story sprouted from a vague idea about a planet where everything is the opposite of what it seems. I don’t remember what sparked the original idea because my brainstorming took me in a completely different direction. The finished book has nothing to do with the thought that inspired it. Weird, huh? 🙂
•One of the first milestones a writer experiences is reaching The End. You’ve done that. How did it feel? What did you learn while writing the story?
When I typed the last sentence of my book, I felt a sense of satisfaction. I worked so hard to craft a “real” book, and to see my goal accomplished thrilled my heart. Writing and completing a novel taught me that just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
•You joined American Christian Fiction Writers and made some great connections. How did this come about? In what ways has your involvement in ACFW helped you grow as a writer?
In 2010 my writing teacher and fellow member, Teri Dawn Smith, suggested that I join ACFW as the next step towards publication. Later that year we both finaled in the Genesis contest and attended the ACFW conference together.
At the conference I connected with kindred spirits who understood my love of writing fiction, and I was invited to join a critique group for YA writers. This new support system has been a blessing. I think most writers will agree that the quality of your writing increases when you have friends cheering you on.
Angela’s Contest Success
•Entering that first contest takes courage—and sending in the entry is sometimes followed by a “What have I done?” moment. Kudos on taking the BIG step and entering the 2010 Genesis contest. What did you learn from the experience of preparing your entry? And how did you manage to survive the weeks of waiting for results without driving your family members nuts?
Well, I managed to survive the long wait, but my family would all agree that I failed when it came to not driving them crazy. I spent the first couple months giddy and giggly, and then around July the nerves hit me. I don’t know which annoyed them more, the excited Angela who skipped around the house all day, or the insecure Angela that moaned about how she was going to make an idiot out of herself in Indy.
What I learned from the whole Genesis experience is that everything works better when God’s in control. He has a better plan for my life than I do. I didn’t final because I am awesome, I finaled because He is awesome.
•You finaled in the Genesis with the very first story you wrote, which is awesome. I’m sooo impressed! Please tell us about the experience of being a Genesis finalist, what it meant to you, and how you reacted when you heard the exciting news.
I entered the Genesis strictly as a learning experience. I thought I’d get the judges’ critiques and use their advice to improve my work. I wasn’t on the lookout for a finalist announcement, so when an unfamiliar number called my cell I ignored it. A few seconds later my phone dinged with a voicemail. I played the message and heard “This is the category coordinator for the Young Adult . . . .” I froze in mid step. My mom says that I screamed, but I don’t remember. In fact, she thought someone had died because I was crying hysterically. Anyway, to make a long story short I blurted “I finaled!” and was engulfed in a group hug by my family. I spent the rest of the day in shock listening to the voicemail over and over to make sure it was real.
Finaling in the Genesis is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me, and I am so grateful to God for this wonderful experience.
Angela’s Chosen Genre
•Your Genesis final was in the Young Adult category, and your story is a Sci-Fi with fantasy elements? What led you to write in this genre?
My venture into science fiction was totally unplanned. I’ve read fantasy (C.S. Lewis and Tolkien) but never read sci-fi. I’ve always loved fairy tales with princesses and classic literature such as Jane Austen. I assumed my writing would reflect that. One year I started a contemporary story about a ballerina, but I . . . how should I say . . . got bored out of my mind.
Later I got a vague idea for a story. During plot development, to my surprise, it morphed into a sci-fi story about another planet. What surprised me even more was that I loved writing the genre. I’m a little behind on the sci-fi lingo, but I’m learning. Plus, I have a teen brother from another galaxy who helps me with the advanced technology and science details.
•What aspects of writing YA Sci-Fi fantasy do you most enjoy?
I like the freedom that comes with writing sci-fi and fantasy. There’s no limit on what you can do. I love creating my own world, creatures, etc. It’s a blast to sit down at my laptop and let my imagination go wild! 🙂
Angela’s Education and Experience
•How have your education and experiences served you in your writing?
I am a home school graduate. My parent’s choice to home school has given me the opportunity to prayerfully seek and follow God’s plan for my life.
After graduating, instead of going to college, I spent two years studying in Teri Smith’s course on fiction writing. My experience has been unique in that unlike most writers who’ve had traditional careers and then pursued their writing dream, I’ve been blessed to pursue my dream now.
Partners on Angela’s Journey
•Who are some of the people who’ve been behind you with the support we writers so appreciate, and what blessings have they bestowed on you?
I’ve been blessed with a wonderful mentor in Teri Dawn Smith. She encouraged me to write and pursue my dream when others told me it was impossible. Without her guidance I would not be a Genesis Finalist.
I also have an amazing, supportive family that has cheered me on every step of the way.
Angela’s Journey Continues
•What are you working on at this point? Querying agents and mentioning your Genesis finalist status perhaps? Are any new characters begging you to tell their stories?
I’ve had a lot going on since the 2010 ACFW conference. I’m preparing to send out proposals for my first book, contributing and learning in a critique group, and working on a sequel to my first story. Plus I have an idea for another unrelated sci-fi tale on the back burner.
A Few Fun Questions for Angela . . .
•If you were given a $100 gift certificate that was good in any store, where would you choose to redeem it?
Barnes & Noble, Family Christian Book Store, or any other store where I could load up on great books.
•What is something you enjoy doing that is a chore or a bore for many people?
I am a devoted Jeopardy fan, which I know some people find boring. I enjoy learning new things and testing my own knowledge. The best part of Jeopardy is when I answer a question correctly that none of the contestants could figure out.
•What is the most exciting event you have ever witnessed?
I think the awards banquet at the ACFW conference is one of the most exciting events I’ve witnessed. I was in awe to be surrounded by so many wonderful authors. The highlight for me was when Janette Oke took the stage to honor Carol Johnson. I still can’t believe that I was in the same room as Janette Oke! I’ll never forget that night. 🙂
•What is your favorite fast food restaurant, and what item on the menu do you order most often?
Right now, my favorite fast food restaurant it Chick-fil-A. The item I order most is their chicken nuggets with waffle fries and iced tea. I also love their brownies and chocolate milk shakes as a fun treat.
•When you look back on the life you’ve lived to this point, what in particular amazes you the most?
2010 was a year of amazement for me. From finaling in the Genesis, to finishing my first book, to the whirlwind excitement of the ACFW conference.
Angela’s Question for You
Do you have a special person or mentor in your life that has encouraged and blessed you on your writing journey?
Learn More About Angela
Friend her on Facebook ~ http://www.facebook.com/AngelaDianneBell