An Interview with Samantha Bell: Impressive and Talented Author and Illustrator

Copyright © 2013 Samantha Bell

“An Interview with Samantha Bell: Impressive and Talented Author and Illustrator” by Joan Y. Edwards
Welcome, Samantha. It is so good to see you here with me. What joy you bring with you wherever you go! Thank you for doing this guest interview with me.
You’re welcome, Joan. I’ve been looking forward to it.
Let’s get started.

1.  How did you do in English as a kid?
I loved English, and I loved grammar! Though we didn’t have a lot of creative writing assignments, I really liked the ones I did. I wrote a poem in the 7th grade that won a contest — I won a school t-shirt! It was about the Kentucky Derby from the viewpoint of one of the horses racing. I wrote another poem in high school about the US Constitution that won a contest. I really enjoyed writing a short story for an 11th grade assignment. Though thinking back, it probably wasn’t very good. But it was fun to do!

2.  When did you decide to become an author?
I studied history in college and received my teaching certification. When it was time to renew my certification, I took a class in children’s literature. After reading many picture books, I thought, “I can do this! It can’t be that hard.” Ha! Little did I know…

3.  When did you first start drawing and painting? I loved doing art since I was little. I had private lessons with an artist when I was in elementary school — she was wonderful!

4.  What’s your favorite book? Why?
That’s a tough question. I love stories with lots of different plot lines that all come together at the end. I really enjoy books by Charles Dickens like Great Expectations and A Tale of Two CitiesLes Miserables is another favorite. So is To Kill a Mockingbird. I believe I’m seeing a historical theme here…

5.  What’s your favorite illustrated book? Why?
That’s such a hard question, too! There are so many stories and artistic styles, and I have so many favorites. I like books that make me (and my kids) laugh, and I like ones that have unexpected endings. One new favorite is Stuck by Oliver Jeffers.

6.  What is it about illustrating that excites you and makes you want to learn more about it?
I just love learning new things. I love trying new mediums. When I see an illustration or painting I like, I try to figure out how the artist created it.

7.  Do you outline your stories before you write them or let the stories flow on their own?
Outline, outline, outline! I have friends who can let the stories flow, but when I try to do that, mine get clogged up.

8.  Are your characters based on real people?
When I write a picture book, I almost always do it with someone specific in mind. Perhaps the character isn’t exactly like the real person, but he/she is based on the person in some way.

9.   Do you ever have your children or neighbors pose so you can draw them? 
Absolutely! In fact, I think they are tired of posing.

10.  Did you make a dummy with draft sketches first? 
Yes! I try a number of different ideas for a “scene” before I draw one I really like.

11.  Did you cry while writing or illustrating one of your books? 
Yes, I often cry as the deadline looms…. 🙂

12.  Do you have trouble saying goodbye to your characters when you’ve finished a book? 
I haven’t had any trouble yet. I jump right into the next project.

13.  What’s your favorite book you’ve illustrated? 
The Perfect Pet was one of my favorites. I love drawing animals.
Here is the cover and two illustrations from it.

The Perfect Pet Cover published by Sylvan Dell Copyright 2013 Samantha Bell
Illustration from The Perfect Pet published by Sylvan Dell Copyright 2013 Samantha Bell

I have another book coming out with Guardian Angel Publishing called Firefly Night. It’s filled with wildlife, too!

14.  What is your favorite genre to write? 
I really like writing non-fiction, and I love writing picture books. I also have a middle-grade mystery that’s been sitting in the drawer for a while that I need to get back to.

15.   How do you know when an illustration is ready for submission? 
When it’s due. 🙂 Until then, I’m usually still making changes on it. It seems I can always find something to tweak.

16.   How do you juggle writing, illustrating, and taking care of your family, too? 
Sometimes not very well. 🙂 On days when something is due and suppertime rolls around, it’s cereal for all!

Thank you, Samantha, for being a guest on my blog and sharing your illustrations with us. Good luck with your future endeavors.
A short bio.  Samantha Bell is the author and/or illustrator of more than 20 books for children. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, four children, and lots of animals. When she isn’t homeschooling or working on a project, she might be doing the dishes… but probably not.
More than 20 books. Wow! That’s impressive. Check them out on her webpage:
Here are other interviews with Samantha:

  1. Sylvan Dell Publishing. “A Conversation with Samantha Bell, Author of The Perfect Pet:”,
  2. Nancy Stewart Books. “Samantha Bell–Artist for All Seasons:”,
  3. Sandy Carlson (of Michigan). “Random Acts of Publicity:”

Samantha on-line:
WEBSITE: (books, classes, other information)
TWITTER: @ samsbell

Thank you for reading all about Samantha here.
In February 2014, Samantha gave away two autographed copies of the Perfect Pet.


22 thoughts on “An Interview with Samantha Bell: Impressive and Talented Author and Illustrator”

  1. Thank you, Samantha and Joan! Your interview was a great way to start the day. Congratulations, Samantha, and best wishes for your upcoming projects.

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad that Samantha’s interview was a great way to start your day. Thanks for congratulating, Samantha and your good wishes for her.
      Celebrate you and your many talents today
      Never Give Up

    2. Thanks, Mary! I really enjoy reading about other people’s experiences in the writing/illustrating/publishing world. I think it’s really neat how we come together as a community to support and encourage each other. And congratulations on all your success with A Roller Coaster Down!

    1. Dear Sarah,
      Thank you for writing. It’s good to hear from you. I’m glad you love Samantha’s illustrations.
      Good luck with your writing adventures.
      Celebrate you and all you do to help other writers.

  2. Joan and Samantha – thank you both for an enjoyable, and honest interview.
    Love how Samantha is not afraid to tell us how she is usually ‘down to the wire’ with regard to submitting, and the juggling she sometimes needs to do with family (cereal for all) – the humor and frankness just inspires me.
    I can’t get over the vibrant colors of The Perfect Pet – and of course the title just conjures up all our pets through the years. We’ve all thought them to be perfect.
    Thank you both – thoroughly enjoyed questions and answers, as well as the bio comments – again, so frank – about the dreaded dishes!! LOL

    1. Dear Claire,
      Thank you for writing. I’m so glad you enjoyed Samantha’s wonderful honest humor about her work and her family. I’m glad she inspired you. Her colors are definitely vibrant in The Perfect Pet. She is lively and has a warm, colorful personality that shows up in her writing and her illustrations.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Keep on Writing

    2. Thanks so much, Claire! 🙂 This story was actually based on my second child who struggled to find her perfect pet. She actually finally chose the same one as the child in the story — but I won’t tell you which one it was. 🙂 I grew up with a houseful of animals, and much to my husband’s dismay, we still have a houseful!

    1. Dear Sandra,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you liked the interview and love Samantha’s Perfect Pet illustrations. You are right. Samantha is a talented lady with 20 books, 4 kids, home schooling to boot. She is indeed impressive.
      Celebrate you and all your books, too.
      Never Give Up

    2. Oh – Don’t be impressed, Sandra! You should see my house most days. 🙂 We also eat a lot of quick meals. And our school days aren’t nearly as scheduled as I’d like them to be. But I guess that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for! 🙂

    1. Dear Carol,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you had fun reading Samantha’s interview. She has a wonderful sense of humor. It is my pleasure to put your name in the hat. It is wonderful that you are passing your love of books on to your grandchildren. What a gift!
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up

      1. Dear Samantha,
        Thanks for saying I am a great interviewer. Aw shuckins! You say the nicest things. You are also delightfully humorous.
        Thanks again for being a guest on my blog.
        Never Give Up

      2. Dear Samantha,
        Thanks for saying I am a great interviewer. Aw shuckins! You say the nicest things. You are also delightfully humorous.
        Thanks again for being a guest on my blog.
        Never Give Up

  3. Great interview. I love your amazing illustrations! Shaky legged stick people are my specialty so you can see why I’m so appreciative of your talent(s).

    1. Dear Mona, I am very glad that you stopped by and told Samantha how much you love her illustrations. It was a great comment. I voted for it, too. I bet your shaky legged people are the cutest around. Mona, you are a blessing. Thanks for your sense of humor.
      Celebrate you right now.

    2. I loved your post too, Mona! 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments! I’m actually trying to develop a more whimsical style for a new project I’m working on — I think your shaky legged stick people might be just right!

  4. For Samantha Bell’s interview giveaway, there were 6 people who left a comment! Two of these lucky people won an autographed copy of her fun book, THE PERFECT PET.
    1. Mary Lash
    2. Sarah Swan
    3. Claire Iannini
    4. Sandra Warren
    5. Carol Baldwin
    6. Mona Pease
    I went to and asked it to give me two numbers between 1 and 6: chose number 6 and number 4. Therefore, Sandra Warren and Mona Pease won an autographed copy of Samantha Bell’s book, THE PERFECT PET.
    Congratulations! Sandra and Mona. Please send your snail mail addresses to I will forward them to Samantha.
    Thank you Samantha for being a guest on my blog. May your generous heart and your many talents lead you to the publication of more books.
    I will post this in a separate blog post. Please respond on it.
    Celebrate you every day.
    You are a gift to our world
    Never Give Up

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