- Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? Answer: I always knew that I wanted to make my own books! All I knew was that writers made their own books. When I was a little girl in red shorts http://cjoybellc.blogspot.com/2011/03/story-of-little-girl-in-red-shorts.html> I didn't know that there was such a difference between publishing houses and authors. I didn't know that writers didn't get to make their own books, not really. I believed that to make your own books and to see your name on that book sitting on other people's bookshelves, is the noblest thing one could ever aspire to achieve! And for your beliefs and spoken words to be quoted and taken to heart by others: the highest honor one could experience! So, I have always believed in the art and the task of book-making, which I once believed was synonymous to being a writer. I'm just thankful that I am a writer living in an era wherein bookmaking and writing can actually be synonymous if one chooses so! I'm thankful to be an author at a time wherein new liberties for writers can be found! I can be a writer, and my own publisher at the same time! Dare I say this era has come about just for me? Or maybe the cookie simply crumbled in all the right places.
- When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"? Answer: Probably when I was nine years old and saw my "piece of advice" writing in a column in the children's magazine Highlights for Children. I still remember how receiving the letter from the editor of Highlights, literally took my breath away! It was the first time I was thoroughly proud of myself! Someone had written to the magazine, asking for advice. I replied to the magazine with my own advice for her, and they published it. The letter from the editor was to let me know that my piece of advice had been chosen! I realized that I could write to people for the betterment of their lives! And it's not that my life was completely beautiful, because my life was far from completely beautiful or easy or peaceful, but I somehow knew what to say, for the betterment of another! When the next issue came with my writing in it, I read it over and over and over again, until the magazine became worn out and old! Highlights for Childrenmagazine is responsible for making me first see myself as a real writer!
- What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? Answer: I have been contemplating the idea that I may be more of a philosopher than a book-maker. I enjoy an enduring relationship with many of my readers, and as with my other friends, my readers are free to interact with my thoughts and meanderings on a daily basis over at my FaceBook Page<option to insert link: http://www.facebook.com/cjoybellc>, where I get to share not only my words and my thoughts with them, but much of my life as well, including many photos of me and ones that I've taken, and the music I'm listening to! I am so very thankful to all the people who have accompanied me on my journey thus far as a philosopher, writer, poet, novelist, lover-of-life, and friend. Many of my readers have asked me if I am a teacher, as they wish to read books of any teachings I may have compiled for the public, but I say that I'm not a teacher, that I am just a writer. I simply want to be myself, going on my journey, calling out for people to join me! My readers and I are even part of a community we call "Soillse Cathair" which is Gaelic for "Illuminated City"! We are all together within this illuminated city, and that's something that goes far beyond people anticipating a new book from me. My readers are happy that I am there, I honestly feel very loved, and I am very thankful that they are there, as well! So what I'm saying, is that you can expect for me to be here, whether I am saying the things that I say <option to insert link: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4114218.C_JoyBell_C_ >, or writing a new book of poetry and prose, whether I am sharing my photos, music, or publishing another novella or a novel! Life surprises us. We never really know what's going to happen, until it happens, so who am I to predict what you can expect from me? I am not even sure what I can expect of myself!
- Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series? Answer: Oh I have many manuscripts already completed! But writing is an altogether different procedure from publishing. I have a thick manuscript filled with poetry that is ready to be published, and novellas as well as novels. Publishing them is a different thing. When I published my first book, The Sun Is Snowing <option to insert link:http://www.thesunissnowing.com> I began in August of 2009 and it was finally out in April of 2010. All that time was dedicated to the many aspects of publishing one's own book. First of all, I had to go through the excruciating task of obtaining permits from many different photographers from all over the world, stating that I could use their photography in my book (my book is full of many beautiful photographs to accompany my writings), then after all the permits were secured, we began the process of interior layout, exterior layout and design, it doesn't sound like much but the back and forth between the design teams and publishing consultants and project directors as well as author assistants, is truly an uphill odyssey! One doesn't realize how much blood, sweat, and tears go into creating the finished product that is the book, and one genuinely begins to appreciate and respect that whole process once one experiences it firsthand. My second book, the novella Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948 <option to insert link: http://www.saintpaultroischateaux1948.com> entered into it's publishing stage of becoming a book, in the last quarter of 2010 and finally became available in March of this year (2011). All those months were spent on the back-and-forth between myself and my publishing consultant, copyeditor, interior designers, cover designers, my marketing consultant, my author assistant, and etc. Within that timeframe my editor suggested bringing a certain character out into the light more, and I really took her suggestion to heart, bringing that certain character, Pierre-Auguste, out into the light more and while doing so I saw areas in which I could improve upon the details, the word choices, and the plot itself, and so I went back to page one, reading through every single sentence and improving upon each detail I saw needed to be polished more. My point is, I do have plans for a variety of books in the future, but at the same time I'm not willing to sit down and write my life away. I want to stand up and live before I sit down to write (from the words of Henry David Thoreau). Living my life is a lot more important to me than writing books and I am not about to spend months and months out of every year of my life, to make my books. Those times will come when it is time for them to come, we can't dictate things. In the meantime, there's no pressure at all, I'm enjoying having my readers, and they are enjoying having me. Ours is an extraordinary bond.
- What genre would you place your books into? Answer: The Sun Is Snowing is a book of poetry and prose while Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948 is classified in libraries under Fiction/Classics.
- Do you have a favourite character from your books? And why are they your favourite? Answer: Lucy Nightingberg would have to be my favorite character from a book (yes, a book I wrote). Lucy is both loved and abandoned but never forgotten. She is both genuine and frightened but never a coward. Lucy Nightingberg has both everything and nothing at all, she loves passionately and desperately but she will never ask anybody to keep her. She is both a child and a woman. She believes in who and what she is, and will make no apologies for these, but at the same time she calculates herself short and doesn't really know how beautiful she is! Lucy is both real and beyond what we know to be real, but never, not even a little fake! I think the book itself in which she resides, Saint Paul Trois Châteaux:1948, is both very real as well as beyond what we are used to thinking is real!
- How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write? Answer: Before I learned to write, I learned to speak (of course) and as soon as I learned to speak a variety of words (at around three years of age) I was saying the most moving things, my mother tells me that she would hastily grab a paper and pencil, eagerly writing down my spoken words, so she could read them over and over again. I think I do pretty much the same thing now, the only difference is that now I know how to write. Many times I feel as though writing is my greatest disguise, and I am something else entirely but it's through writing that I can best share myself with others! I think that the biggest influences I had at a young age, were C.S. Lewis and Earnest Hemingway. I am partial to the classics and I think that classic literature can and never will be toppled by any other form of literature that has followed. C.P. Cavafy (Ithaca), Antoine De Saint Exupery (The Little Prince), Truman Capote (Breakfast At Tiffany's), are some of the classical writers who continue to inspire me today.
- Where do you get your book plot ideas from? Answer: I wrote my novella, because I felt that there was a story that needed to be told, and so I told it. People say that when they read my novella, it feels like they are eavesdropping or listening in on a private event in people's private lives. Some even say it doesn't feel like reading a book, but it feels like reading something untold that is being told, or a secret or a happening that otherwise would have never seen the light of day. Some say my book feels like a very long trance or dream, others say my novella takes them into a different time and space. I am always happy to hear what people have to say about their experiences with my book, so I conclude that I never really had a plot at all. It's as if I knew a happening, an event, I knew a story and then I told it. I feel like I didn't create it but it created itself, somewhere in time, and then I found out about it and I wrote it down. That's what it feels like.
- Do you gift books to readers to do reviews? Answer: Not really. Maybe I will attempt to do so in the future, but it's not easy for me to do this, as I would be spending more sending copies of my book out to people, than I would be earning from my book's royalties! And that would be just fine if I were very rich, but I'm afraid I am not! : )
- What was the toughest/best review you have ever had? Answer: I am honestly enthralled by the things people have to say, about their experiences reading my book. The reviews that I receive teach me to see my book in a positive new way, each time! I find myself saying "Wow, I didn't realize my book would do this, or could do this" and so reading the things that people have to say about my book, is a learning experience for me! And I love to learn! I think the toughest review I ever received was from Forward Clarion Reviews which stated many encouraging and inspirational things about my book, but then went ahead and gave me just two stars. It was difficult to understand why someone who had so much good to say about my book, could give it a two-star rating. I think perhaps she was able to appreciate my book for what it is, but it wasn't her own personal taste of reading material, and she made that fact clear in her written review vs. her star rating. The reviewer also complained about "incorrect punctuation" which was disheartening, seeing as I had a professional copyeditor looking out for me, who reviewed all of the punctuation in my book prior to it's final release.
- How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books? Answer: You know, I've read from so many authors about how much time they spend on creating and finalizing their book covers and to many, it's the most challenging part of making their book come to life. I must point out though, that this is a challenge faced only by avant-garde authors (self-published authors), because traditionally published authors actually have no control or say over the design of their book covers! Me being an avant-garde author, this monumental task was one that I did have to face, but very surprisingly, I can honestly say that I encountered no stress and anxiety over the design of my book covers, both for The Sun Is Snowing and Saint Paul Trois Châteaux:1948. For my first book, the book of poetry and prose, I was standing under the shower, and began to visualize the cover of my book, in that moment I knew what I wanted! The only challenge I faced was in explaining that to my designer, getting the designer to visualize what I was visualizing so he could create that for me. I'm pleased to say that he got it right the first time! We had absolutely no mishaps with the cover, at all. But then all the problems started happening when it came to the interior layout, which my team just couldn't seem to get right! For my second book, the novella, it was an equally straightforward experience. I have been blessed with visual designers from two different self-publishing companies, who were able to immediately grasp the visual I was trying to convey. Or perhaps I am blessed with a connection between myself and artists. Either way, the book cover processes were never a cause of anxiety for me. Self-publishing company designers don't give you their names, so I can't really say who they were!
- What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ? Answer: A really good book, in my opinion, is not necessarily synonymous with a best seller. There is so much more to the process of a book becoming a best seller, than meets the eye. More often than not, and most usually, a bestseller is backed by a huge traditional publishing house which is responsible for the promotions and marketing of the author of the book and the book itself. The literary industry as we know it, revolves around money, there is always the big publishing house making all the real money, and if they think they've found a book that's commercial enough, they will promote and market that book to the ends of the earth. It's not necessarily the best book out there. For example, when I choose a perfume and the saleslady tells me that it's the bestseller, that doesn't mean I'm going to choose that perfume to be my signature scent. I want my signature scent to be my scent, not everybody else's, and it is the best fragrance to me! Nowadays with the freedom to self-publish, writers have more liberty to write what they truly believe in without being dictated by a publishing house, but you have to keep in mind that these writers also have a VERY uphill struggle to market themselves, promote themselves, to get their work out there to people! We're not millionaires (unlike the giant publishing houses) and it would be a lot easier for us if we were millionaires, but since we're not (well most of us are not), we have to rely on our sweat, blood, and tears to get ourselves out there, to simply build a name for ourselves! But that doesn't mean our books aren't as good or aren't good enough. I think that a good book is made of strong emotions, a power to touch the soul and change opinions, the talent to open the eyes of the readers, the knack to be unforgettable! A good book is one that gives you characters that you want to become, or that you adore, that comfort you, or that enrage you, characters that make you think about them even while your book is closed! A good book doesn't have to be mainstream and blockbuster, but a good book has to be something that stays with you in your heart.
- What do you do to unwind and relax? Answer: As I said earlier, my priority is living my life, as far as I'm concerned, I'm always unwinding and relaxing. In the past, I dedicated myself so much to my two books, that I would even forget to eat for days! I realized that I was wrong. I realized that at the end of the day, I'm not going to be happy, ten years from now I'm not going to be happy if I look back and see that I spent my life hiding away in my room, writing books, wasting away and becoming ugly! So I primarily strive to remain in the peace and serenity that comes with living a passion-filled life. I certainly want to write BECAUSE I live! I know I don't want to write in order to live! My writing is an overflow of the wine glass of my life, not a basin in which I wash out my ideals and expectations.
- Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you? Answer: Some things should be kept a secret. : )
- Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback? Answer: Paperback is what I grew up reading, so I would have to say paperback. Alternatively my books are available in Kindle edition, but not in any other format.
- Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer? Answer: If you look back into the history of books and movies, you'll see that many of the movies we consider to be classics, all came from books. And still, to this day, many of the modern movies we enjoy come from books. I'm not surprised, because it's the writers who are responsible for creating stories and characters. I think the merging of arts is a good thing, so I haven't anything more to say about that. I would be very happy if my novella would be picked up and made into a movie one day, I don't think it would be a blockbuster, but I do believe it could be nominated for an Oscar or celebrated in various film festivals over the globe. There is a lot of golden locale and history to work with, in my novella. Many of the greatest films made, came from short novels!
- Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books? Answer: Not in my world. Maybe in the rest.
- Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish? Answer: I will never read the Twilight saga. I enjoy the movies very much, but I could never bring myself to read the books.
- Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be? Answer: There's something very funny about me! After I publish my books, I can't read them! I don't know why! I just can't read them! I can go back to my manuscripts in my computer and read my writings there, but I can't pick up my book in paperback to read it! It's the most peculiar thing! I've heard that there are some actors who can't bring themselves to watch their own movies, so I guess it's a similar sort of "condition". : ) Maybe it's like watching yourself have sex? I don't know! Probably! Writing to me is like a sex of some sort, a love-making! Perhaps that's the feeling I get when I try to read my own books! I just can't! : ) hahahahhhha! Funny! But I am sure that I wish I could re-do my acknowledgment pages. I always tell everybody, that writing the acknowledgments page is the hardest part about creating a book! You never know who you're still going to be friends with a year from now, and your books is going to be there forever! I mean, the book that you wrote, the words in your story that you penned are eternal and fixed, but the acknowledgments page... people change! You always wish you could change one or two names in there...
- What do you think about book trailers? Answer: I think it's far better to have no book trailer at all, than to have a vulgar, cheap, garish one. If I could afford to hire the best production in the world to create a very tasteful and very artistic book trailer for me that I feel lives up to the soul of my book, then I would have a book trailer created for my novella. But I can't afford that, so I'm not going to settle for anything less. I think those trailers on Youtube can be more of a turn-off than not. The best or nothing at all.
- Do you or would you ever use a pen name? Answer: C. JoyBell C. is a pen name. I was thinking about using my English birth name as seen on my birth certificate, but I figured that there are many people out there with the same name, so what's so special about that? I reckoned that it would be better for me to use a pen name that best represents who I am personally, thus giving my readers a more personal piece of me, rather than just a name on a birth certificate that many other people probably have! So, "JoyBell" is very personal to me, because it is the name my paternal grandmother called me from the day I was born! She called me "Joy Bell." Thereafter, only the people closest to me could call me that, or even knew to call me that! It's a very personal term of endearment. I wanted to give that to my readers, and I can see that my decision has payed off! I really do have that endearing connection with my readers, whom I consider to be my friends! Another thing, the people I meet, people in my immediate community, don't know that I'm C. JoyBell C. and I thought about that, I wanted to keep it that way. I decided that I wanted people to meet me and get to know me as me before finding out about the things that I write. I'm confident in who I am as a person, and I want the people that I meet to abide normally with me and be able to develop normal friendships with me, in the same breath I want to get to know people for who they are and not who they act like when they are around "C. JoyBell C., the person whose words they live by." Many people live by my words, but I want to give myself a chance to know them for who they are when they don't know its me standing in front of them, the same chance I want to give to them in becoming friends with me. I really don't tell people that I'm C. JoyBell C. and it's only if they join my FaceBook Page and see my photos that they will be able to recognize me.
Your blog details? http://www.cjoybellc.blogspot.com
Your web site ? http://www.cjoybellc.com
Your facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/cjoybellc
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/cjoybellc
Your Twitter details? http://www.twitter.com/cjoybellc
And any other information you wish to supply? My individual book websites: The Sun Is Snowing: http://www.thesunissnowing.com; Saint Paul Trois Châteaux:1948: http://www.saintpaultroischateaux1948.com
Thankyou fro taking the time to take part in this Interview, I have enjoyed chatting with you too. Happy Birthday to your son too!