Thursday, May 26, 2011

AJ & I Welcome Michele Ashman Bell!

Tada! AJ & I would love to introduce you to the AMAZING Michele Ashman Bell author of over 20+ published titles!

Including her latest release--

The Perfect Fit 
The Butterfly Girls can’t wait to begin their fourteenth annual weekend reunion, a time to renew their bonds of friendship and honor the memory of their high school friend Ava. But a dark cloud of fear soon forms in their shared hotel room when they learn that one of their former classmates has been brutally murdered. And when new evidence suggests Ava was murdered as well, the friends realize one of them might be next.

Andi is glad to be taking the Butterfly Box with her to Hawaii, where she plans to spend a few weeks participating in a reality dating show. To her surprise, the eligible bachelor, Michael Makura, soon singles her out for attention, provoking jealous acts of sabotage from the other contestants. Soon a series of unusual events disrupts the pair’s fledgling romance, and Andi starts over in New York where she begins dating a great guy and accepts a job offer from a generous, eccentric man. But when Michael unexpectedly shows up, all is not well in the Big Apple. And soon Andi comes faceto- face with the man who killed her friend—and he aims to kill her as well.

Thank you so much for agreeing to let us interview you, Michele!  Since ladies go first we're going to have Jenni start us off:

JJ: Eeep. I'm so star struck you have no idea! :)  Okay, okay, first question.  I'm dying to know, what are three things most people would never guess about you?

Michele:  That I eat Cheetos and Diet Coke for breakfast, I am seriously claustrophobic and I have a huge addiction to cinnamon.

AJ: Cinnamon?  Nice--(will not insert spicy comment here ;) ) So, I was wondering-- What's your earliest memory?

Michele:  Ooh.  My earliest memory was when I was between two and three years old.  It was on a Sunday because I was in my church dress and my family was living in San Luis Obispo while my dad taught at the University there.  My sister and I walked over to the neighbor's house, the kids were in the back yard playing a baseball with a croquet set.  Yes, a croquet set.  They were trying to hit croquet balls with the sticks you pound into the ground.  When it was my turn, the kid pitching the croquet ball totally hit me in the head.  My forehead split open and blood gushed like crazy.  I remember looking down at my dress that was soaked red with blood and being so sad that I ruined my new church dress.  I remember getting stitches too.  

JJ: I would've cried for weeks, had I ruined one of my new dresses. :(  I loved my dresses when I was little.  So, speaking of your child years, What did you want to be when you grew up?

Michele: I either wanted to be a nurse or a stewardess.  I loved the little white nurses uniform (the 1960's) and cute little hat they wore.  I thought all they did was take temperatures and give shots.  I am totally not cut out to be a nurse!  I also loved the little outfit the stewardesses wore back in those days.  The whole idea of dressing up and flying around the world seemed so exotic and exciting.  I also wanted to be a model.  I cut my hair short into a pixie cut like Twiggy's when I was young and thought I looked just like her.

AJ: Biting my tongue.  Lol!  So, what's your worst habit?

Michele:  I'm the queen of housework procrastination.  I will put off grocery shopping until there is no food left or put off laundry until people are out of socks and underwear.  I would much rather do . . . well, anything!  I also floss my teeth in the car (with those little flossers) and gross people out at stoplights.  This was my dental hygenist's tip and I rarely miss a day anymore.  But I have gotten some pretty disgusted looks from other drivers but hey, my dental checkups are amazing!

JJ: I Love it!  So what’s your most embarrassing moment?

Michele:  When I was in Las Vegas going to the Earth, Wind and Fire concert and thought I was walking through the doors to the concert venue but ran straight into a glass window and bounced back and fell down.  People all around me were laughing so hard I thought we were going to have to call a paramedic for them, forget about how badly it hurt my head!  (And my pride!)

AJ: Enough embarrassing you, we'll get to the writing questions now.  :) Who's your biggest literary idol?

Michele: As a young girl I was a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder and felt I was shaped and inspired to become an author by her magical stories of growing up on the prairie.  I am also a fan of Louisa May Alcott.  I connected with her on many levels.  She comes from a family of four girls and is second oldest and she had a propensity for an over-active imagination.  She said this about confronting a society that offered little opportunity to women seeking employment, "... I will make a battering-ram of my head and make my way through this rough and tumble world."  I love the (determination) of these two authors and found it reflected in their stories and their characters.

JJ: Ooh, Louisa May Alcott wrote one of my favorite books: The Inheritance.  Erm, sorry, got sidetracked a moment... If you could go back and change one thing about your career what would it be?  (Some sort of advice for all of us newbies out there.)   

Michele: I would write a book about vampires and a girl who falls in love with one.  Just kidding.  I wish I had understood how important self-marketing was once you were published.  I was always willing to go do book signings and appearances but I had a hard time telling people "hey, this is a great book and you should buy it."  I haven't ever been one to toot my own horn so I had a hard time with that, plus I didn't really understand how to come up with marketing strategies of my own and really create excitement about my books.  Authors need to get over that fast because you've gotta believe you're book is awesome or no one else will.  

AJ: Great advice!  And I agree.  You have to believe in yourself and your work.  So final question--When you look back over all of the books that you've written, what themes do you find yourself returning to and why?

Michele:  Two themes are almost guaranteed in my books.  First, that no matter where the main character starts, she will always grow into a strong, confident woman who faces her fears and challenges.  Second, that my stories will always have a happy ending.  Not a perfect ending, but a happy one. 

JJ: I LOVE Happy endings!  Thank you so much for coming today, Michele!  

AJ: It was a pleasure to have you here.  If anyone would like to learn more about Michele Ashman Bell you can visit her uber cool website or her facebook fanpage.

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. In fourth grade her teacher wrote on her report card that she had a tendency to daydream and would probably do well with creative writing. Her love for books and learning about people and places has helped her make her teacher's prediction come true. Michele is the author of many books and Christmas stories. She is married and is the mother of four children, and a grandma of two. Aside from supporting her children in all of their many activities, she loves to travel, do research for her books and eat chocolate.