I'm so pleased to have this chat with Belle today! If you read my review of Cicada yesterday, you know how much I loved it. I emailed these questions to Belle before I read Cicada, so there are definitely no spoilers and they give you a nice idea of what Cicada is about-and hopefully convince you to read it for yourself.
Belle resides somewhere north of Houston, Texas in a small inconsequential town with the smallest most inconsequential name. There, in the shady reaches of the pines, elms, and oaks, she daydreams of adventures and secrets that she weaves throughout her stories. She shares a home with daughter, Linda Belle, and her Lancashire Heeler, Sascha Marie, and has her mother as a next-door neighbor.
As a student of literature, Belle is earning her degree in English at the University of Houston. She hopes to teach literature at the college level some day.
What Cicada is really about:
There are aliens in Cicada, yes. But there's more of a depth to the story. Cicada is the story of loyalty among friends who accept each other and love each other for what each of them are. It's the story of how friends and family can help each other overcome anything life throws at them...even unearthly beings that leave crop circles in the tall pasture grass.
On exploring new territories:
It was definitely breaking into new territory writing Cicada, when the YA market was demanding vampires and werewolves. Not that I don't love vampires and werewolves, mind you! But it's just if I didn't get Cicada down on paper, I would have exploded! LOL! Oh, yes, it was definitely fun exploring new territory! I love the characters in Cicada and almost feel as if they are members of my own family! Each one of them has as very important, specific purpose in the story, and getting to know them during their very turbulent last summer together was an awesome experience!
Oh, boy! This is a very difficult question to answer, because I probably love every author I've read! Being a Literature major tends to make me love all the authors whom I've read! LOL! But I'll try and include a variety of authors whom I love (this is by no means a complete list): The authors of the Anglo-Saxon heroic ballads, especially Beowulf (whomever that was!), J. K. Rowling, Cornelia Funke, Beth Revis (on of my new faves!), Amy Kathleen Ryan (another new fave!), William Shakespeare (love, love, love!), Chaucer, Charlaine Harris... I could go on and on, but I think I've supplied a good variety of authors I enjoy reading :-)
On writing rituals:
This is a great question! Yes, I have a certain routine while I'm daydreaming my stories. Music is definitely a must for inspiration. Each one of my characters have a theme song, and I have a favorite play list of songs to listen to while writing :-)
If it's not a secret, what are you currently working on?
It's not a secret :-) Actually, Cicada is the first in a planned trilogy. It has actually developed quite a following of readers who have contacted me requesting that I extend it beyond a trilogy. But I only see it as being in three books. I'm currently writing the two sequels. The second is Firefly. The third has not been named yet, though I've got an idea of what it may end up being named. I've included a sneak-peek of Firefly at the end of Cicada as a bonus for readers :-)
(Let me just add, it's great. The first three chapters really wet your appetite and leave you hungry for more)
Advice for those of us who are just starting out:
Read, read, read! Read across the genres. You never know from where your inspiration will come! Become an avid people-watcher...there's no better place to gain ideas for characters. :-)
Write, write, write! Get that story out of your head and onto paper without stopping to edit...that can be done after you've finished. And always listen to great music! :-) Oh, and don't forget the coffee! <3
Ivana, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to stop by your lovely blog and chat a while with and your readers! I hope that each and every one of you will stop by and say hi at any or all of these places:
Thank you, Belle! The pleasure was all mine!
Check out the trailer for Cicada! It was made by Belle's daughter, who also designed the beautiful cover.
And what would this interview be without some music :)