When a Stranger Comes…is Ms. Bell’s third novel. Her debut, Walking with Elephants, was initially published by a small publisher who went out of business. Subsequently, she took over as an indie publisher. It went on to win the Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence and was a top-five finalist in the Kindle Book Review’s 2012 contest for the best indie books. Sunspots, her second novel, was awarded the Seal of Approval for good writing. She holds a Master of Science in Mass Communication and for 15 years, she was an editor/copyeditor for a "Big Four" public accounting firm. Ms. Bell was also technical editor for an accounting industry magazine. 
 Here are some reviews of her previous work published in the Florida Times Union:



About the Book:

Author: Karen S. Bell
Publisher: KSB Press
Pages: 222
Genre: Thriller

Achieving what you crave can also bring the terrifying fear of losing it. For Alexa Wainwright, this truth has become her nightmare. Born Gladys Lipschitz, the daughter of an unwed Soviet-era Jewish immigrant, her debut novel, A Foregone Conclusion, soared to number one on the bestseller’s list and became an international sensation. The accompanying fame and riches were beyond her expectations. Unfortunately, her subsequent work has yet to achieve the same reception by critics and readers. Yes, they have sold well based on her name recognition, but she dreads the possibility of becoming a mid-list author forgotten and ignored. She vows to do whatever it takes to attain the heady ego-stroking success of her debut. But is she really?

Witnessing an out-of-the-blue lightning bolt whose giant tendrils spread over the blue sky and city streets below her loft window, Alexa doesn’t realize just how this vow will be tested as she’s magically transported to an alternate reality. In this universe, the characters from her books are given the breath of life and she meets publisher, King Blakemore, who just might be the Devil himself. At first, she shrugs off her doubts about this peculiar publisher and very lucrative book deal offer because the temptation of riches and refound fame is too strong. But all too soon, Alexa realizes she’s trapped in an underworld of evil from which she desperately wants to escape. For starters, she finds herself in an iron-clad book contract that changes its wording whenever she thinks of a loophole. Desperate to get her life back, she devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence. She’s also aided by the forces for good who attempt to help her. However, King Blakemore is cleverer and more powerful than she can begin to understand. Playfully, he decides to give Alexa a second chance to save herself from eternity with him and to be free. He offers her the prospect of a rewrite, as most authors do as part of the writing process. Given this chance, will Alexa make the same choices and the same mistakes again?

Alexa, as the MC, is relatable, likable, and vulnerable with a keen sense of humor. Her world is very small because writing is her life and so she is an easy target for entrapment. Her pact with the Devil is an allegory for the evil lurking in our midst. The social decay of modern society with its excessive greed, the ignorance of our political leaders, and our indifference toward the survival of all species from the effects of climate change, among other environmental pressures, are perhaps brought forth by the darkest forces of human nature.
When A Stranger Comes is available at Amazon.

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?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Ideas for books are always percolating. Given how hard it has been for me to be widely recognized as an author, I thought it might be fun to explore what it would feel like to be a rousing success. So the idea for When a Stranger Comes…was born.

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?

The initial draft was actually quite easy. Beta readers helped tighten the narrative. Once an author has an engaging concept it flows and feels right. I have put other ideas aside when the plot becomes too challenging. My latest work has not reached its stride yet but I’m hoping it will soon. That’s the pull. When a narrative takes over and the characters tell you their tale and not the other way around.

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

I self-published. It’s not hard for me to do it. I know how to use all the necessary software.
 Yes, how long it took. It took as long to find a publisher as to write it. It was an eye-opener. I thought writing the book was the difficult part. In those days, there were few internet listings and you had to send hard copies to agents, etc. So much easier and less expensive now. My debut was finally published by an indie publisher who subsequently went out of business and so I took over.

Q: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I have two books in the pipeline of my brain. One about goddesses that I put on the back burner and one about a mystical Bed and Breakfast.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

I’ve never been to Moscow but only “went” there using Google Earth.

Q: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

 My MC’s (author Alexa Wainwright) pact with the devil is an allegory for the evil lurking in our midst. The social decay of modern society with its excessive greed, the ignorance of our political leaders, and our indifference toward the survival of all species from the effects of climate change, among other environmental pressures, are perhaps brought forth by the darkest forces of human nature.

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

I recently had some validation to keep writing and to trust my talent when Kirkus gave it a really good review summing it up with: “A methodically paced but wholly engaging literary tale that revels in its dreamlike plot.”

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