This week we are proud to feature Peter Bell, author of Bob…. Peter speaks today about his writing journey, how he started the publishing process and his advice to aspiring authors!
Q – How old were you when you first wrote something substantial
A: I have always written, from academically to professionally but writing children’s short stories began at the age of 36. My therapist at the time, Jan, suggested I put something down on paper about how I was feeling to help break the perpetual loop that depression and anxiety feeds off. By contrast, in picking up a blank sheet of paper in my darkest moment, my mood lightened to the point where what began as a story of sorrow is now my solace in my day job.
Q – Did you ever have aspirations to become a writer?
A: I thought about becoming a writer many times, but ‘Bob’ was the first story I felt comfortable in submitting. It takes a lot of courage to submit something you’ve created for the scrutiny of others but I do feel there are difficult life experiences we all go through which warrant these often challenging stories.
Q – What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
A: “Know thyself,” said Aristotle. When you know who you are, you can be wise about your goals, your dreams, your standards, your convictions. Knowing who you are, allows you to live your life with purpose and meaning. Equally, be patient and persistent. Life is not so much what you accomplish as what you overcome.
Q – What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
A: Write to connect. When mapping out a story I often try to visualise what is the picture I want to portray. I visualise the surroundings, I imagine the main character’s voice, work out the underlying message and where possible apply this to real life experiences. Love, loss, grief etc are difficult topics to write about but equally these are experiences that connect.
Q – What did you find easiest and hardest about writing?
A: The actual writing of a story comes quite easily and takes me around a few hours to put on paper. However, going into that process, there is a lot of contemplation and thought about the story I want to write, the message I want to put across, the style of illustration I want to use together with the overarching message I want to portray. My latest manuscript submission ‘Luna And The Lighthouse’ for example, is a story about love and loss which draws from emotional experience and knowing people who sadly are taken before their time. It’s my attempt to pay tribute to those experiencing grief. It shows them, whilst understandably the pain of loss can be overwhelming, there are ways to cope with grief, learn to heal and it’s often a light born out of love which can help save us from the darkness.
Q – Was it faster to write your book or to have it published?
A: Write the book. Publishing a book is a long process but it’s a journey I encourage all budding writers to follow. Don’t ever be afraid to submit a manuscript.
Q – What was your favourite part of your book to write?
A: I always like to leave with a heart-warming ending akin to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. For example, ‘Bob’, like Bailey, realises that the important things in life go way beyond the issues that had previously been troubling him. A good heart-warming tale should take your mind off your troubles and help you to see life in a more magical light.
Q – Do you have any plans to publish more work?
A: Absolutely. I have just submitted my next book entitled ‘Luna And The Lighthouse’ which is a story I think has a wide audience and connects with a lot of people, especially with these most recent troubling times.
Q – If you could review Olympia Publishers in just a few words, what would they be?
A: Supportive, collaborative, friendly and trustworthy. I would highly recommend anyone whom are thinking of taking that next step towards publication, to reach out to Olympia Publishers. From submission to pre and post-publication they have been fantastic.