Interview with Jessica Bell | NewInBooks
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness?
I was watching The Giver. And I wondered what would happen in these kinds of stories if the characters didn’t fight against these totalitarian societies, but instead learned to live happily within them, and of course, whether that would make an interesting story. Would these dystopias potentially become utopias or a mix of the two? And how/why?
If you woke up in the world of How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness, what is the first thing you would do?
Spend more quality time with my son and forget about all the material aspects of my life that I ‘believe’ contribute to my happiness.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I do love speculative fiction, especially Margaret Atwood, but I mainly read literary and contemporary, which is also what I mainly write. How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness is my first speculative novel.
What fictional world would you most like to visit?
I will never forget the joy I got from reading, Enid Blyton’s ‘The Faraway Tree’ when I was a child, so definitely The Enchanted Wood from her books.
What book did you expect to hate, but ended up loving?
Queen of the Warrior Bees (Natural Forces Book 1) by Jean Gill. I’m not a bit a fantasy reader, but I designed this book cover for Jean and so was very curious about the story! Highly recommended.
What’s your favorite thing about writing? What’s your least favorite thing about it?
I love revising once the first draft is written so that I can really focus on building and expanding the finer details of my world, and the personality traits of my characters so that they begin to really jump off the page. Facing that blank page at the beginning is the worst thing! I hate first drafts.
What scene in How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness was your favorite to write?
I think I most enjoyed the very first time one of my characters attends DeathCare Therapy. I loved writing the secondary character of Phyvwonoh, the therapist that behaves a little like AI … but perhaps isn’t!
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Yes, to make the most of every moment in the present. There is no purpose in having a future if you don’t enjoy getting there.
What will your next adventure or writing project be?
I will most likely be diving into the sequel to my memoir Go: A Memoir About Binge-drinking, Self-hatred, and Finding Happiness. The sequel is tentatively entitled, Stay: A Memoir about Self-love, Changing Your Life, and Living Your Dream.