Interview with local author, Sara Bell

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Sara Bell, a local author in the Twin Cities.  Sara is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Sara! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.

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Katelyn– Hi Sara can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Sara-I am an event professional by trade and in 2016 I left the corporate world to care full-time for my Nana who has Alzheimer’s. I started a little virtual business doing marketing and customer service support for digital entrepreneurs and small companies so I could pay my bills while being a caregiver.  After my family found a great Alzheimer’s home for her, I went back to work for about one year. In May of this year I was laid off from my latest job and flung myself back into full-time self-employment (and couldn’t be more fulfilled)!
Katelyn- What a wonderful thing to do for you Nana and had to be a big decision for you. I am excited to see what happens now that you are following your calling!

As a writer, I am always curious to know why other writers started to write.  What got you started?

Sara- I’m an avid reader and there just came a time when I was reading and I realized I have stories to share too.  Even though I’m generally outgoing, I can still be pretty shy/insecure and I feel like I’ve spent years hiding behind a mask.  Always trying to fit in and be well-liked.  Writing has let me be myself- first in my journals, then more and more on social media, and now in blogs and books.

Katelyn- I think a lot of creative people can relate to hiding on some level. I started as a journal writer followed by blogging too.  I felt like it was easier to be myself in my writing.
Do you have a favorite genre of writing?
Sara-I love all things self-help. It’s super cliche but I need all the help I can get and I can’t get enough of it! Give me affirmations, inspiration, and encouragement and I come alive!  It’s the most energizing thing!

Katelyn- We all need that sometimes don’t we?!  I am curious why you write.

Sara-I am very introspective and love to know why I think a certain thought or what caused a feeling.  Writing helps me process my thoughts and feelings and make sense of my experiences.  I’m also a teacher at heart and if just one person can learn from my mistakes or my knowledge, I want to share everything I can.

Katelyn- I understand that completely.  It is easier to see what is bouncing around in your head when it’s on paper so you can sort it out and gain insight.
Can you tell our readers about your books

Sara- 
I have two books so far- one chapter book that I co-authored and one children’s book that I’ll launch and take orders for at the festival!  Obstacles Equal Opportunities was a compilation of stories from several authors.  In it, I shared a bit about a pivotal point in my life when I got divorced, lost my job, and my Papa died – all catapulting me into caregiving and self-employment. My children’s book is called Nana Forgot My Name and it’s a rhyming, full color illustrated book that uses symbolism and silly rhymes to help younger kids make sense of Alzheimer’s (or at least make as much sense of it as the rest of us!).

Katelyn- I think honest stories about our own struggles are so helpful because they let people know they are not alone in their struggles.  I love the idea of a children’s book about Alzheimer’s! It can imagine it is really confusing for children when it happens to someone they love.  My kids were young adults when it happened to their dad’s father and it was still hard for them.

I don’t know if this happens to you but most creative people have creative blocks at times. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Sara- Play!  I love creating joy in my life so if I feel stuck, I do things that bring me joy.  It depends on the time of year and where I am, but that could be anything from going swimming or reading by the pool, to snowboarding, exploring, traveling, the list goes on… I just allow myself to truly take a break and enjoy life where I’m at today.
Katelyn-That is brilliant and so simple!

Do you have favorite authors that inspire you?

Sara- I love Alexi Panos and Danielle LaPorte and also Gabrielle Bernstein.  And any of the great thought leaders of the early 1900’s through today, really.  The list goes on but those three are all women whose books I read over and over again.

Katelyn- I just started listening to Gabrielle Bernstein on YouTube.  She is awesome.  The thought leaders of the early 1900’s were amazing.  I like that a lot of what they were saying at that time fits today.

I imagine there are people who are reading this who would like to write a book and just don’t know how to start. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
Sara- Get over yourself and write! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get done!  Sometimes the hardest part is getting started.  If you really don’t know where to start, just start writing about that- what are the thoughts going through your mind?  Journal and eventually it will start to pour out.
Katelyn- That is such great advice!  Just start and don’t worry what comes out.
How can people support you in your writing career?  

Sara- If they already have purchased my books or if they like my articles or blogs, they can keep me in mind for freelancing opportunities.  I write for a number of small businesses (mostly newsletter/blog post copy) and am open to new projects or collaborations.

What is your web address or where can people see your art?

www.eventplanningsupport.com is my official business site.  I don’t house my books on there (yet!), but people are always welcome to connect with me via email or social media (sara@eventplanningsupport.com or @saraannbell on Instagram, and I’m on Facebook as Sara Barnat Bell)

Thanks, Sara, I hope we see all of our readers at the Festival Saturday, August 18th!