I am so excited to post this interview today!!! I absolutely adore Bell Renshaw’s writing and to have the chance to interview her and review her book is a dream!
Bell Renshaw is the Author of One Christmas In Winter and Easy As Riding A Bike. They are both novellas, so that makes them perfect since you’ll be staying up all night to finish her books anyways. (At least I did!) So let’s grab a coffee and get to know Bell Renshaw!
Q: What inspired you to write the book, “As Easy As Riding A Bike?”
A: When I was a kid my family and I always went to the Oregon coast for vacations. That started my love of chilly, misty mornings and the scent of salt on the air at every turn. On the drive there, we’d always pass these run-down motels along the side of the road. They made me sad, seeing what could have been, and suddenly Emma’s business was born! I also have many friends who run their own businesses and the overall Justin Harbor series is a bit of an homage to them.
Q: What is the main thing you want your readers to take away from this story?
A: The reality that dreams can change and that’s okay. When I was writing Connors character I knew that he was passionate, but I also started to see that his dreams from when he was a high schooler didn’t fade, they just changed as he became an adult. That’s the same for all of us. We can hold on to some things so tightly that we don’t notice that they are changing into a different, new dream. It doesn’t mean we never “achieved our dreams”, just that they matured.
Q: Will we see more of Emma and Connor in future works? (I’m hoping for a yes!)
A: YES! I won’t say much, but they will pop back up. It is Justin Harbor after all 😉
Q: How would you describe your writing style?
A: My goal when writing is to create feelings and emotions in my readers (in addition to entertaining them). I suppose then that I would describe my style as descriptive, or at least that that is the goal *hehe*. I don’t want you to simply know that Emma is happy about something or that Connor sees a sunset. I want you to feel Emma’s happiness and experience the sunset with Connor.
Q: What was it that made you start a writing career?
A: I have always loved story. From when I was a child and my mother would read to me at night up until I started reading books on my own, I knew what I liked in a story: the emotional “ride”. I am a very empathetic reader and that makes me sensitive to sad/negative content in books. Because of that, I set out to write books that make people feel happy. Now, that doesn’t always mean good things happen—that wouldn’t be a story—but it does mean that in my stories the good and the bad will work together to create a satisfying ending that leaves the reader with hope. I look to Joanne Biscof’s The Lady and the Lion Heart as a great example of this. She dealt with very deep, difficult issues, but she did so in a way that didn’t make me turn away from the book but drew me in instead.
Q: What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
A: It’s hearing that people enjoy my stories. That is overwhelming and very humbling to me. I know I’m not writing the ‘next great American novel’, but I hope that I can write something that makes people smile. I hope that, when they finish one of my books, they can let out a satisfied sigh and say they know my characters and are happy for them.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I was very young I would play with stuffed animals and create stories for them. This was my storytelling. As I grew older, I realized that I loved reading but I also loved writing. It was probably when I hit my first year of college that I really thought seriously about being a writer and trying to make a career out of it.
Q: Out of all of the protagonists you’ve written about, which one do you relate to the most? Why?
A: There are many of my books that haven’t yet hit the shelves for various reasons, but there’s one book in particular that I’m hoping to edit and publish within this year or next that really holds a lot of “me” in the main character. I wrote it when I was younger (hence the need for much editing) but I hope to be able to rework it with the knowledge of time and experience on my side.
I think, through that process, the main character will change out of necessity, but in her raw form she is very much like me. She held my hopes and dreams and she got to live out a rather lovely, though tumultuous, romance. There’s still a sweet, romantic scene in there that I would love to experience with a special someone someday (think sunrise and hot air balloons). I related to her on a deeper level in how she felt trapped by predictability. She thought that big things needed to happen in order for her to find happiness, love, and contentment. I was similar in my younger years and have since realized that contentment doesn’t come from things, it’s bestowed by God.
Q: Describe the first story you ever read that had an impact on you? (That you can remember.)
A: A long time ago I read The Princess by Lori Wick and, while I can’t remember the storyline now (isn’t that silly?) I remember loving that book. The romance was wonderful, the story was compelling, and I felt a connection to the characters. I remember thinking: I want to write books that make people feel like I feel now.
Q: Before we go, one last question. What projects can we expect to see from you in the future?
A: I have so many ideas running around in my head that it’s sometimes difficult to narrow my focus. I will be continuing with the Justin Harbor Novellas (there will be 5 total) and I’ll also have the second installment for the Winter, Montana series this coming Christmas. But, while I love sweet romance, I also have a soft spot for mystery, historicals, and romantic suspense. I know…so many interest! I’ve got an idea for a Cozy Mystery series that has a bit of an unlikely heroine and I also have a full-length romantic suspense series that I’d like to publish in the not-so-distant future. My historical series may take a little longer to get to, but there are ideas are already brewing.
Despite these different interests, the things that will unite my books will always be sweet/clean romance, dedication to relatable characters, and descriptions that help the reader to truly feel the romance/action/tension/mystery.
Thank you so much for hosting me!