Please welcome Donnell Ann Bell, author of The Past Came Hunting and Deadly Recall.
Donnell has graciously offered to give a copy of Deadly Recall to one lucky reader (paperback within North America or digital version elsewhere): just leave a comment below today to enter the giveaway! Winner will be selected at random.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Would it sound terrible if my idea of a perfect day would be to escape into the muse without interruption and spend time with my characters? Those days seem infrequent at present. I love the feeling of being so intense in the creation process that when it’s time to come back to real life, it feels like you’re coming down from a high, ya know? The end of the perfect day would be to take a walk with my husband of 30 years through our Colorado tree-lined neighborhood and settle back into reality.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
Colors: I love vibrant orange colors as in my publicity photo, teals and blacks. My closet is stocked with these colors.
Fragrance: I have worn Chanel No. 5 since college. I love it, and although I might try other fragrances, Chanel is my preference.
Phrase: I suppose a phrase I’m known for — possibly because I was a director in a former life (ha ha ha) — is “Work with me.” During brainstorming sessions with my critique group, when an idea pops into my head, I get so excited, I burst out…”Oh, oh, oh, work with me.” Occasionally the ideas are pretty good!
Food: I’m from New Mexico. I LOVE chile rellenos.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Two very special nuns: Sister Frances Louise and Sister Virginia Mary. Early on, I showed a love of storytelling. These two women not only gave me writing assignments, they gave me writing prompts. This happened in sixth and seventh grade, and I can’t tell you what it does for a little girl’s confidence.
My son. I was already writing fiction when he went away to college. But he left for Texas Christian University on his 18th birthday. When it was time for him to leave, he walked into my office, sat down and said, “Mom, what are you going to do without me?”
The first thing I did was burst into tears and embarrassed him profusely. But after I stopped blubbering, I told him, “Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.” That something was my 2007 Golden Heart final Walk Away Joe, now called The Past Came Hunting.
Do you listen to music when you write?
No. I’m part-librarian. I like to work in complete silence. Shhhhh.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
I’ll say Almond Joys. I recently had complicated foot surgery and I couldn’t put weight on my foot for six weeks. During my recovery, my husband left miniature Almond Joys on my pillow many times to cheer me up. Isn’t he a nice guy?
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I’ve always loved Catholic-themed stories, like the movie The Trouble with Angels and the play Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? Then authors took a darker spin on the Church’s tumultuous history such as the The Da Vinci Code. J.D. Robb wrote a mystery/thriller called Salvation in Death. I’ve never read either of these books, and after I heard about them, I made a conscious decision not to so I wouldn’t inadvertently use their ideas. I wanted to write a mystery without it being a referendum on the Catholic Church — I simply wanted to tell a story. I also wanted to write about New Mexico. Deadly Recall started out a germ of an idea that continued to grow.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I’ve been told my books center on redemption and forgiveness. My third book from Bell Bridge Books centers on betrayal.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Eden Moran is a defender. She has a strong concept of right and wrong; when she sees an injustice, she acts upon it. What happens in the beginning of Deadly Recall carries over to her adult life. She becomes a lawyer and a public defender.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Hmmm. I see Eden as her own person. Maybe a female Perry Mason. 😉 Julie Bowen of Modern Family, but the character she played on Boston Legal. And impulsive like Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Six writers… Oh, boy, talk about on the spot. 😉 Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Sandra Brown, Daniel Silva, Lawrence Sanders and Robert Crais. That would be quite the occult with three alive and three dead, don’t you think?
What’s next for you?
Writing-wise, I’m editing two books (working titles “Betrayed” and “Buried Agendas”), plotting a story my critique group conjured up during our writing retreat two weeks ago, and developing my first mystery series. Until now, I’ve written single titles.
Health-wise, I’m recovering from foot surgery, can’t wait to go to physical therapy and get back to a walking and workout regimen.
Thanks for having me, Mysteristas!
Donnell Ann Bell is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist who previously worked for a weekly business newspaper and a parenting magazine. Her debut novel The Past Came Hunting became an Amazon bestseller, reaching as high as #6 on the paid overall list and finaling in 2012 Gayle Wilson Award for Excellence, RWA’s® Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best, and the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Deadly Recall, brought to you by Bell Bridge Books, is her second published novel.
For more information, please visit her online.