Meet Novelist Angela Bell

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 ~

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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26 Responses to Meet Novelist Angela Bell

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Angela! It’s great to have you as my guest.

    My daughter and I love to browse in T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. She found me the dress I wore to the Awards Ceremony at ACFW–the one where YOU were a finalist. Congrats, again, on that honor. You done good. Real good!

    To answer your question, I have an army of awesome people who have blessed me on my writing journey, including you. If I were to list them all, I’d exceed the comment limits, so I’ll just mention the six who are my nearest and dearest: my incredibly supportive husband; our clever daughter; my mom; my dad; and my two wonderful critique partners and treasured friends, Anne Barton and Jody Hedlund.

    I’m so glad you have such a special mentor, teacher, and friend in Teri. One day you’re going to put a huge smile on her face when her protégé gets her first contract. Here’s hoping that momentous day is not too far away.

  2. Lisa Jordan says:

    Angela, I loved meeting you at ACFW. Teri has mentioned you so many times.

    I’ve had many people who have mentored and blessed me, but Susan May Warren shines about the rest. Her constant encouragement helped me grow as a writer and a person. Plus, I’d be so lost without my Ponderers. They’re my soul sisters who pray, support, and encourage me every step of the way!

    Looking forward to hearing the news your book has sold!!

    • Angela Bell says:

      Lisa, I loved meeting you as well. 🙂

      I saw firsthand at the ACFW conference how close you and the Ponderers are to each other and to Susan May Warren. You are truly sisters. I’m glad that God has blessed you with a group of such special friends.

  3. Beth K. Vogt says:

    I had so much fun meeting Angela at ACFW in September. After talking to her for just a little while, I could see why Teri believes in her writing so much. She’s a hard worker and I know she will have tremendous success as a writer!

    I’m thankful for many different people who have mentored me in big and small ways as I’ve progressed along the writing road. Roxanne Sherwood, another fiction writer, was the first person when I decided to try and write fiction. (I was I confirmed non-fiction writer at the time.) She didn’t laugh out loud and was willing to read all my first tries–encouraging me every time I sent her a new “what do you think about this?” chapter.

    • Angela Bell says:

      Beth, thank you for your kind words. 🙂

      Speaking of people who’ve blessed us, you’ve been a huge blessing to me. When I needed help in Miss Teri’s absence, you stepped in and helped me, even during the holidays. I am so thankful to have you as a friend! I hope we can see each other again soon.

  4. Diane says:

    Sci-Fi is one of my favorites! Congrats on your win and in all your future books!!! :O)

  5. Congratulations on your success! May you have a long writing career and many published novels! Blessings to you…

  6. Congratulations on the successful year, Angela! What a blessing to be able to pursue your writing with all your heart. Look forward to maybe meeting you in person someday. 🙂

  7. Angela Bell says:

    Hi, Keli! Thank you for having me on your blog.

    I’m glad that you have an entire army of supportive friends and family.

    That’s so sweet that your daughter found your Award Ceremony dress. Aren’t mother/daughter shopping trips great? I love shopping with my mom! 🙂

  8. Regina says:

    Angela, I was so blessed to have met you at ACFW this year! YOU inspire me! I’ve been blessed with many encouragers, and my greatest encourager is my husband. He tries his best to make it easy for me to carve out time to work on my book, and made sure I was in Indy in Sept. Next would be my beloved Scribblers, which include author Lorna Seilstad. Then there are my Inkspirational Messages blog buddies! They’ve been life savers! I started following Kaye Dacus’ blog after reading her first book, and have had the pleasure of getting to know her and pick her brain from time to time! Writers are the most encouraging group, I think, especially to new and aspiring writers. And as Christians, can there be too many of us out there spreading the Good News that we have in our lives? May your 2011 be even more blessed than 2010!

    • Angela Bell says:

      Thanks, Regina! I enjoyed meeting you as well.

      You’re right. Writers are the most encouraging group of people. When I attended the ACFW conference I was so nervous, but the other writers welcomed me with open arms. They encouraged me and treated me as their peer. I think it’s because they agree with your view. There can never be too many people/writers spreading the Good News!

  9. Lynn Dean says:

    I loved reading the first pages of your story! You really did a remarkable job, and I can’t wait to buy one of your first published copies. 😉

    Great interview!

    • Angela Bell says:

      Thanks, Lynn! I am sooo glad that you enjoyed my story. 🙂

      You’re another person who has blessed me. I learned a lot from your critique of my first pages. Your advice helped me to improve my entire manuscript!

  10. Myra Johnson says:

    Angela, it was such a delight to meet you in person at ACFW! You are definitely a writer who’s bound to go far!

    Thanks for the reminder to remember the mentors on our writing journeys. There are so many I could name who have shared their wisdom and encouragement at various times, beginning with my very first writing instructor, Kristi Holl. Others include Diann Mills, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Margaret Daley, Mary Connealy, Vickie McDonough–the list could go on and on!

    • Angela Bell says:

      Hello, Myra! Thank you for taking the time to read my interview.

      I was thrilled to meet you at the ACFW conference, especially since you grew up near where I live. It gave me hope that I could achieve my dream of writing too. 🙂

  11. Cliff Bell says:

    My dear Angela,
    I am so proud of who you are and of your accomplishments …but most of all of your passion for God and the character you have allowed Him to develop in you. It gives me great joy to see God leading you as you pursue your dream and it’s an honor to be a part of it. You are an inspiration to many – including me! The portions of the book you’ve shared with me kept me on the edge of my seat! Knowing you, your boundless creativity and imagination, I know this is just the beginning!
    I can’t wait to see your book published and read it through in its entirety!
    Love, Dad

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Mr. Bell, as the mother of a daughter Angela’s age, I want to compliment you and your wife on the great job you’ve done as parents. Meeting Angela in Indianapolis was one of the high points of the ACFW conference for me. She’s a sweet, talented, charming young woman. It’s a privilege to have her as my guest today. I anticipate having her back one day soon when she receives her first contract offer. ~ Keli

      • Cliff Bell says:

        Thanks, Keli! Thank you for your words! However I believe most of the credit goes to my wife, Dianne. 🙂

    • Angela Bell says:

      Love you too, Dad! 🙂

  12. shelly dippel says:

    Awesome interview Angela! I’m so glad to have you as a writing friend. I know God has great things in store for you. Your enthusiasm is contagious!
    God bless–talk to you soon!

  13. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    Congratulations to you, Angela, and wishing you many success for your actual and future writing!

    Would be great to read one of your published copies soon! 🙂

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