Interview with Michelle Bellon, author of 'The Fire Inside'

Michelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her four children and boyfriend, Seth. She loves coffee and has an addiction to chapstick.

She works at a surgery center as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. She writes in the genres of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won four literary awards to include making finalist in the New Age category in the USA Book Awards for her latest release, The Fire Inside.

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About the Book:

Aiden, a doting husband and father, had the perfect life - a job he loved, a beautiful son, and a loving wife. In an instant, everything is taken from him and Aiden believes his life is over. Falling into a deep depression Aiden all but gives up on his job, his friends and himself. But when a mysterious force grants him the power to heal those around him, Aiden is forced to pull himself out of his misery in favor of the greater good. When he meets Ryan, a hardened, pessimistic teenager living on the streets, and Norma, a woman whose marriage is crumbling around her, Aiden acknowledges that maybe life still has a purpose and this ability to heal may be more powerful than he ever imagined.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Quite a few years back, a friend told me about an experience they had after an injury to their back. After many months of living with excruciating pain and trying every medicinal means available to alleviate the pain, nothing had improved their condition. After much suffering, one of their acquaintances recommended an alternative treatment. They suggested he seek help from a local man who was known to be a touch healer. Doubtful but desperate my friend sought out the healer and made an appointment. He reported that during the session, everywhere the healer touched became very hot and tingly. After the session, my friend left not only feeling a great deal of pain relief but he felt giddily happy and full of positivity. Later, when he saw the friend who had recommended the healer to him in the first place, he asked what he knew about him and how he became a healer. The friend said he didn’t know much but there were many rumors surrounding him. The main one being, that he once was a simple man with a wife and child he loved very much. One day, he lost both to a horrible accident. After that he became a recluse and hid from the world for an entire year, never leaving his home. They said that when he emerged he had healing abilities.
This story, whether it was true or not, fascinated me. I thought it would be a fabulous element to build a novel around. And, so it began.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Let me first say that I’ve been working on this particular book for the past five years. It’s my baby. It has so much depth and meaning to it and I only hope that gets across to my readers. I wrote and rewrote it multiple times because every time I went back and read it, it just didn’t feel ready. I couldn’t let go of that manuscript until it reached its full potential. I knew it was special and I was determined to do it justice. I experienced more joy, relief, and even pride, when I finally finished this book than with any other story I’ve written in the past.
As for tips for other writers, I typically say the same thing.
1) Respect and learn the craft so that you not only can write, but you can write well.
2) Research and understand the expectations of the writing community and industry. It’s important that you know how much work you will need to do to market your book and your brand.
3) Write what you want. Never. Give. Up.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I’ve had the pleasure of publishing my work via various means. The first five titles were published through small traditional presses. That is how I learned the nitty gritty of the publishing process from start to finish. It’s also where I discovered just how much work is expected of the author in regards to promotions and marketing. You’re essentially on your own no matter who you sign a contract with. It’s simply the state of affairs now days. To expect anything more is unrealistic.

After taking the small press route, I decided to try my hand at self-publishing so that I could have first-hand experience with it and compare the two. I found it to be a lot more overhead and I personally did not see much benefit to going that route, but I certainly respect anyone who does and succeeds.

My latest release, The Fire Inside, was released through Booktrope Publishing this last June. For those who don’t know, they are a publishing venue unlike any other. Their approach is somewhere in the middle of self-publishing and traditional. It’s a team approach. As an author, you build your publishing team by choosing from their large selection of members. You select your project manager, book manager, editor, proofreader, and cover designer. Together, your team works toward publishing your work with no cost to the author, as it should be, and then the team shares royalties based on a percentage.

So far, it’s the most beneficial approach to publishing that I’ve experienced. It’s the best of both worlds and I’m very impressed with the quality of writers, editors, and designers among them.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

The biggest surprise throughout this entire process was learning that I have these stories inside of me and the ability to get them all out onto paper. The biggest learning experience has been to learn to take the good with the bad. Being a writer has got to be one of the hardest hits to the ego that someone can choose. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs, so that you question your every move, even your sanity. One moment you can feel amazing when you achieve a new goal or receive an incredible review then the next day or even the next hour, you feel lower than low as the self-doubt creeps in when you realize how far you still have to go to make a name for yourself in the industry. Don’t get me started on statistics for success in this business.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I plan to release a women’s fiction titled Restless this upcoming spring. Here is the blurb for that one:

You grow up. You get married. You have a family. That’s what Malea Winters believes she’s supposed to do. So why is it that every time she comes close to finding that happily ever after, she runs?

When she meets Garrett Taylor she warns him that she’s not the marrying type. History has shown that long-term relationships are not her forte. She has a tendency to leave when things get too serious; the direct result of being raised by an emotionally detached mother and a stepdad with philandering ways. So she swears off men and surrounds herself with her best friends; three quirky, funny women who are facing their own challenges.

But Garrett is everything she’s ever looked for; charming, successful, fun, and sexy. Despite her better judgment, his persistence pays off and she agrees to marry him.

Learning how to love and be loved will be the hardest lesson she’s ever faced.
The question is; will her relationships survive that lesson.

My current work in progress is a suspense novel with a female superhero. It’s a bit dark. I can’t wait to finish it.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I’m most interactive on Facebook. I’ve made so many lasting connections with other writers, readers, bloggers, editors, etc. Making those connections is essential to your journey. If there’s one thing that I’ve found most inspirational, it’s how supportive the writing community is with one another. Are there a few vindictive, competitive people out there that go against the norm and ruin it for everyone else? Of course. Just learn to stay away from them.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

I used to do a majority of my writing at night while the rest of my family slept. However, when I went back to my nursing career full time I had to adjust that to fit my new sleep schedule. I wake up at four-thirty for work so I’m typically the leader of the zombie apocalypse by eight p.m. That doesn’t leave much room for creative writing. Needless to say, I’m in bed early these days and my writing happens on days off, when possible.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
I’ll answer this question with a small excerpt from the book.

There are all kinds of medicine in the world, and some of the most powerful medicine does not come from a pill, a complex antidote, or a surgical procedure. Some of the most potent medicine comes from the heart. All anyone ever needs to do is reach down deep into their core, past the doubt and the hurt. And bring forth the burning fire inside.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

As always, thank you to everyone who has supported me along my journey. It hasn’t been an easy one. I’m especially grateful to those who write reviews. I know that sounds simple but you wouldn’t believe how many people want, and even expect, free books but won’t leave a quick review. Every review helps, even if it’s just a rating. So, I appreciate every single one. The good and the bad.
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