I’m here today with the absolutely wonderful and talented Charis Bell. Charis is the author of two amazing , romantic novels; The Peasant’s Choice and Ridiculously Proud: Diary of a Diva.
Thank you so much for joining me today Charis. After reading your novels I am extremely excited for more. Though I loved The Peasant’s Choice, Ridiculously Proud: Diary of a Diva is solidly up there in my top 10 books of all times, possibly even my top 5. I’m just going to jump right in as I’m very excited to hear your answers. So first off and I think I ask everybody I meet this question…
Who is your favourite author?
How about your favourite book?
But my go to books are biographies. The Hiding Place, for example, and Unbroken are on my shelf right now. I also enjoy books on faith. Show them Jesus and True Discipleship have profoundly impacted my worldview.
How long have you been writing?
I write on and off, but I got serious about writing in high school (11 years ago). I actually mostly write non-fiction and spoken word poetry, but when I have the patience, I do novel writing.
How did you come up with the covers for your books? I love them!
I love them too! My friend (Grant Scott) is a photographer and I asked if he would be willing to give cover design a try and he nailed both! I gave him a general concept and he just amazed me with what he came up with! When I got the cover for The Peasant’s Choice, I was like a child on Christmas morning!
Check him out on Facebook Grant Scott Photo or his website: https://www.grantscottphoto.com/
A round of applause for Grant Scott then as I think he did an absolutely fantastic job.
Now, I noticed that both novels have a character called Nancy in them. Is this coincidence or is there meaning behind it?
Both Nancy’s are based on a real life gem, a mentor figure in my life who has only ever shown me kindness and guidance. I wanted to honour her by putting her in my novels.
There are other characters named after my siblings or friends too, but the characters are not really based on them.
That is so lovely! Speaking about the characters...which of the characters from either book do you relate to the most and why?
I see myself in many of my characters (I suppose that is why it can feel exposing for someone to read my work!). Like, I imagine “What would I do if I were…?” “How would I wish so and so to react if I were them?” I definitely think I relate most to Caitlyn and her overdramatic, overthinking ways, but there is a bit of me in all of them, unintentionally. But it’s an adventure to imagine all the stories. They say you live other lives when you read—the same is true when you write.
Beautiful answer. As for Caitlyn, she had me in stitches. For those that don’t know, Caitlyn is the Diva from Ridiculously Proud: Diary of a Diva. How did you come up with the story?
Ridiculously Proud was more of a dare. “Cheesy” movies were becoming popular and my friends challenged me to write one “with a bit more substance.” So I set out to do just that. Hallmark rejected it but I am so glad it has brought many readers some joy anyway.
Wow! You sent it to Hallmark? That’s amazing. Well, I think they made a mistake! As I was reading this book I kept on thinking that this would make such a good movie. Perhaps you should contact Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Say Netflix or Amazon decided to go ahead, who would you want to play Caitlyn and Charlie?
I think Mindy Kaling would be a hilarious Caitlyn. Or Awkwafina – she would be great too. Maybe Sam Clafin for Charlie? My sister said Tom Hiddleston is a must in either movie, which would be cool, however unlikely).
Oh wow, they are great choices. I think I agree with your sister too.
The same questions goes for The Peasant’s Choice. If this novel became a TV series or movie, who would you choose to play Prince Frederick, Amber, Wilber?
Excellent question! I have thought about it but never settled on anything. I had pictures in my mind but in one of my edits, I removed a lot of the description for the characters so that they could be played by anyone. The only description I kept was Amber’s hair, because it had symbolic importance too. I would love a diverse cast!
I’m also not up with the times as to younger actors. If it was “back in my day” I could see Eli Marienthal playing Frederick, because he has this innocent face I imagine the Prince had.
How can I cast someone for Wilber? He is perfect in my mind haha. I’ll leave that task to someone else! Totally open to hearing suggestions.
Not sure about Amber. My sister suggested Zendaya or Lily James. But I’m not sure they fit the image in my mind either, but that’s ok! Young Parminder Nagra may have worked?
Wow, this question makes me feel old because I can’t think of younger actors!
You are not old! Brilliant choices, though. As for Wilber, I’m struggling myself. I would say Zac Efron but I say Zac Efron for anything as I’m absolutely in love with him, ha!
How did you come up with the story for The Peasant’s Choice?
I was in high school and I was volunteering with the kindergarten class. They were having nap time, so to pass the time, I took out a piece of paper and wrote the opening scene — the one with Amber being pinned to the tree. I even used my grade 9 vocabulary! The original title was the Peasant and the Prince because I had set out to do a retelling of the Prince and the Pauper but it metamorphosed into its own thing. I enjoyed that moment of writing enough to keep that piece of paper and continue writing the story. I wrote a good portion of the rest of that novel in my grade 12 biology class!
I hope you still managed to pass Biology! I’ve never actually read The Prince and the Pauper but after enjoying The Peasant’s Choice so much then I think I’m going to have to give it a read.
Please tell us you are working on another novel or 2…10..20?
I am very excited for my next 2 projects.
I am working on a fantasy/epic. This is unlike anything I have written but I am very excited for it. My next book which is in editing and will hopefully be released soon is called Shell Shock.
While studying English and psychology in university, I read Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. The book’s struggle with faith, family, mental illness, and war intrigued me; and yet, I remember hurling the book across the room when I finished it. It was an interesting story that captured a tragic moment in human history. But it left me angry—like there was something missing, something that would have brought triumph (even a small one) to the great tragedy of WWI. That something was hope. Believing firmly that truth doesn’t have to be void of hope, I borrowed some of Woolf’s themes and wrote my literary fiction Shell Shock.
How exciting, tell us more?
Shell Shock tells the struggles of Lauren Richardson, a wealthy young woman, who secretly marries Denison Clark, a man beneath her social status, just before he goes off to war. While he is gone, Mandy (Lauren’s step-mother) tries to scheme away the scandal of her pregnancy. Multiple deaths, a mysterious man of science, and the return of her husband with signs of the misunderstood “shell shock” (PTSD) send Lauren on a journey of faith as she battles to trust God in the midst of pain and loss while sorrowful secrets threaten to destroy the hope she is already struggling to cling to.
The heart of this story is hope. There is always hope, come suffering, war, or death itself. Although there are heavy elements of women’s and historical fiction, Shell Shock is primarily an inspirational and romantic drama written in a literary style. I believe young adults and adults will enjoy this novel.
Well Charis, that sounds like a book I can’t wait to get my hands on, but also a great way to end the interview. I just want to ask one more question though – Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m not sure. I might still be teaching high school biology and writing on the side (would love to see my book as a movie!). I hope to be more involved in counselling young people.
I have to live faithfully today, because the future is the part of my story I haven’t lived yet. Will there be more writing? I hope so!
I’ve got to say, I do admire your faith and I’m happy to know that you DID pass Biology! Thank you so much for taking part and I hope to read and hopefully watch more of your work soon.
Thank you so much for reading everybody. If you are wanting to get your hands on either of these amazing books by Charis Bell then here are the links…
Ridiculously Proud: Diary of a Diva – £2.49 Kindle – Ridiculously Proud: Diary of a Diva eBook: Bell, Charis: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
A Peasant’s Choice – £2.49 Kindle – The Peasant’s Choice eBook: Bell, Charis: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store