Thinking back to when I first started writing, I would say it was in my junior year of high school when Mr. Thompson, my English teacher, gave the class a chance for extra credit by writing an epilogue to Silas Mariner. Before then, writing was the farthest thing from my mind and I only did the assignment because I needed to bring my grade up. So imagine my surprise when my story was the only one chosen and read out loud to the class. Not only was I embarrassed when all my classmates turned to stare at me, but I was also shocked that someone actually thought my writing was good. I’ve never forgotten that feeling of pride and accomplishment. Though it has taken me decades to follow my destiny and become an author, I still consider myself lucky-many people never do find their true calling.
I grew up in Iowa and enjoyed reading, but there were oh so many other things I enjoyed more, such as spending the summers on my uncle’s farm, riding my bike and hanging out with friends. I do remember being completely hooked on the Hardy Boys’ mysteries and on a series call the Bobbsey Twins, however. And I will never forget reading The Haunting of Hill House-it scared the wits out of me. I couldn’t sleep without a light on for months afterwards and still had nightmares. To this day, I still can’t watch the movie! It wasn’t until I was somewhere in my thirties and the mother of four children that I truly came to appreciate books. I’m not sure what happened, maybe there was something added to the water that year, but suddenly, and without warning, I was totally obsessed with reading. I would devour any book I could get my hands on and it made no difference the genre, I craved them all–suspense, romance, science fiction, and fantasy most of all. And when the Harry Potter series came along, I truly fell in love and started thinking about finishing some of the stories I had started for my kids.
Once I started jotting down story lines and playing around on my computer with them, my muse, Daniel, stepped in and took charge. I’m not sure how I became one of the lucky ones to be adopted by a muse, but I can tell you it’s the most incredible experience. Many times I have sat in front of my computer at a loss as to where to go with the story, but miraculously, Daniel always knew and would fill in everything I needed to know. It stresses me out at times when I don’t understand where he’s going with it, but he never fails to deliver and amaze me and it always comes together in the end. So I can truthfully say it is as much of an adventure for me to write the books as it is for my readers to read them!
My first book, The Secret Prince of Tir na-nÓg, was published in 2008. To my surprise, it was honored with the 2009 Gold Award in the fantasy category from Mom’s Choice Award. Unfortunately, before it could even be distributed, the publisher went out of business and that was the end of that. However, I was not deterred. I changed the name, updated it somewhat and published it myself under the new title, Before the Full Moon Rises. I then went on to write Book II of the Chronicles of the Secret Prince trilogy, Once Upon a Darker Time, and Book III, How Dark the Light Shines. In June 2016, my fourth book came out, a science fantasy time travel, Next Time I See You.
I’ve been fortunate to have Daniel stick with me to the end. He has made me laugh, made me cry, and has shocked me at times, but he knows what he’s doing and where the story is going and that’s really all that matters. And I feel incredibly privileged he allows me to go along for the ride!
Click here to listen to Jerry Fabyanic’s radio interview with M.J. taped August 11, 2018
Click here to watch M.J.’s video interview with Janie Gianotsos, owner of Reinvention Ready
You can contact M.J. Bell at:
Facebook: MJ Bell Author
Instagram: MJ Bell Author