“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 Cities. Les 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.
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: http://www.samanthabellbooks.com
Here are other interviews with Samantha:
- Sylvan Dell Publishing. “A Conversation with Samantha Bell, Author of The Perfect Pet:” http://www.arbordalepublishing.com/documents/AuthorInterviews/Bell-AI.pdf,
- Nancy Stewart Books. “Samantha Bell–Artist for All Seasons:” http://nancystewartbooks.blogspot.com/2012/11/samantha-bell-artist-for-all-seasons.html,
- Sandy Carlson (of Michigan). “Random Acts of Publicity:” http://sandycarl.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/random-acts-of-publicity-2011-samantha-bell/
WEBSITE: http://www.samanthabellbooks.com (books, classes, other information)
FACEBOOK LINK: https://www.facebook.com/samantha.bell.books
TWITTER: @ samsbell
Thank you for reading all about Samantha here.
In February 2014, Samantha gave away two autographed copies of the Perfect Pet.