Writer Wednesday: Anna Bell

Anna is a full-time writer and loves nothing more than going for walks with her husband and Labrador. She writes a weekly column 'the Secret Dreamworld of an Aspiring Author' on Novelicious and reviews books for the Chicklit Club. She also writes the 'Millie and the American' Series under the pen name Annabel Scott. 

1. Why did you want to become a writer? 
Since I was little, I’ve always spent vast amounts of my life drifting into daydreams. I knew I wanted to write a novel but I had never got round to it. When I told my now husband about my ambition he encouraged me to start writing. At the time I was a full-time museum curator and I never thought I’d change careers. Yet here I am, four years later, a full-time author.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you? 
I don’t mind editing the first, second or third time through a novel. But when you get to the stage where you’ve read your manuscript so much that you could almost recite it word for word I hate it. Trying to keep my concentration up for that “final” read through before it gets sent to the editor is hard. Especially as I seem to find the more times I read it the worse I think it gets.  

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
When you’ve planned a new novel and you start writing it. Before any writers block, self-doubt or plot holes creep in. Those first few chapters are always fun. It’s like the first day back at school - all those possibilities and new characters that you’re not properly introduced to yet.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why? 
I’d love to have written Harry Potter, and not for the obvious wealth that it bought with it. It’s just one of those series that is brilliant on so many levels. It not only creates an amazing world, but it’s full over clever twists and turns, has great pace and dramatic tension, and has a perfect cast of characters.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, who would you pick and why? 
I’d pick Millie from the ‘Millie and the American’ series. She seems to get herself in enough strife on her own and she could definitely do with being rescued from fictional calamity. She’s definitely one of those characters that you cringe on behalf of when you read about her and she’s one of those people that you think it could only happen to her.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
I think I’d spend it with Becky Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. We’d go to New York for a shopping trip. She used to be a personal shopper at Barney’s so not only would she make a great shopping companion to help you pick the perfect outfits but her New York knowledge will come in handy to navigate the shops of the tourist map.  

7. What can we expect next from you?
I’ve literally just sent the sequel to Don’t Tell the Groom to my publishers and it will be out next year. It’s called Don’t Tell the Boss and Penny the main character is moonlighting as a wedding planner. I’m excited as I’m about to start the third in the Millie series too which I self-publish under the pen name Annabel Scott. Millie and the American Proposal sees Millie return to New York on a work secondment and she’s reunited with her old university friends.   

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
When I started writing I didn’t listen to any advice or even seek any out. It wasn’t until after I wrote the novel that I realised there was a whole internet full of useful writing tips! I think the main piece of advice would be to polish your work before submitting it anywhere. Don’t think that someone will be able to spot a diamond in the rough. Make it the best you can and then get it test read by people you trust to be honest with you. Then when you’re happy it’s the best it can be (and only then) submit it to publishers/agents.  

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
It usually starts with a quick check of my books on Amazon, my different email accounts, the news, and generally anything else vaguely interesting to procrastinate. Once I’ve exhausted that I’ll start my writing. I usually write all morning until I’m pawed by the dog who wants to go for a walk or my stomach rumbles. I then take a two hour lunch break for the walk and to eat and then I write in the afternoons. I don’t really have an end time to my work, I often work in the evenings too and usually most weekends.  

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I’m currently seven months pregnant and in a desperate hurry to finish a draft of the next Millie book before the baby makes an appearance. Which means I’m not reading anything. I did recently buy Lindsey Kelk’s About a Girl and I’m dying to read it. I don’t know if I’m being a bit ambitious packing it in my hospital bag - but in France (where I’m giving birth) you’re kept in hospital for five days, so I figure I’ll have time to read then... I mean how much time can a little baby take up ;)

Thanks, Anna!

Don't Tell the Groom

Bride-to-be Penny discovers that she’s lost £10,000 of wedding savings playing online bingo. So that she doesn’t have to reveal her gambling secret, she convinces her fiancĂ© Mark that they should have a Don’t Tell the Groom themed wedding. Penny then has to plan a wedding fit for a princess on a shoestring budget. But, by the time she discovers that the true meaning of marriage isn’t a Vera Wang wedding dress or Jimmy Choos, will she still have a groom to marry? 

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