Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Blitz: The Book by Jessica Bell

Welcome to the book blitz for The Book by Jessica Bell!  I just finished reading this, and it is both beautiful and completely devastating.

The Book by Jessica Bell
Publication date: January 18th 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary (Novella)

This book is not The Book. The Book is in this book. And The Book in this book is both the goodie and the baddie.

Bonnie is five. She wants to bury The Book because it is a demon that should go to hell. Penny, Bonnie’s mother, does bury The Book, but every day she digs it up and writes in it. John, Bonnie’s father, doesn’t live with them anymore. But he still likes to write in it from time to time. Ted, Bonnie’s stepfather, would like to write in The Book, but Penny won’t allow it.

To Bonnie, The Book is sadness.
To Penny, The Book is liberation.
To John, The Book is forgiveness.
To Ted, The Book is envy.
But The Book in this book isn’t what it seems at all.

If there was one thing in this world you wished you could hold in your hand, what would it be? The world bets it would be The Book.
Add The Book on Goodreads and purchase on Amazon.

Interview with Jessica Bell

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

That it doesn't always have to take me a year to write a first draft. I'm usually a very slow writer. But I wrote the first draft of this book in three days. I have no idea how. I have never written so fast in my life. Something weird came over me. I used to hear stories of writers saying that 'their muse' was calling to them, and I'd roll my eyes. But now I get it. It was a bizarre experience. It makes me wonder ... what if Bonnie was a real girl? Like I somehow connected with a spirit who told me her true story? I know, I know, sounds ridiculous. But who knows, really?

How did you come up with the title?

The Book revolves around a journal which everyone in the family calls "the book."

Can you tell us about your main character of The Book?

Bonnie is a five-year-old girl, with a "supposed" learning disability, who is trying to make heads and tails of the adult relationships between her mother (Penny), her father (John) who has moved out to care for his teenage daughter (Mary), and Penny’s new husband whom Bonnie refers to as “my Ted”.

How did you develop your plot and characters for The Book?

When I was a child, my mother, Erika Bach, and my father, Anthony Bell, wrote in an illustrated journal by Michael Green called A Hobbit’s Travels: being the hitherto unpublished Travel Sketches of Sam Gamgee. This journal is the inspiration for this book. Since reading this journal, and realizing how different my parents sounded in the entries compared to how I know them in real life, I often thought about writing a book which explored how differently parents and children perceive and respond to identical situations. Now, I know this concept isn’t ‘new’. But I certainly felt I had a unique bent to add to it. I hoped by using journal entries and therapy transcripts, in conjunction with a 1st person point of view of a five-year-old girl, it would make the story a little more intimate, make readers feel like they are peeking into the lives of real people.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The fact that the first draft was written so fast and therefore wasn't sure it was up to par because of it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Bonnie, the five-year-old protagonist, was born prematurely. I hint, through the journal entries of her mother, Penny, and the transcripts of Bonnie and Dr. Wright, her therapist, that due to her premature birth, she has trouble learning and significant behavioral problems. However, I try to juxtapose this through Bonnie’s point of view. The reader is able to see how differently she perceives things in contrast to the adults in her life.

Bonnie is very smart. And she understands so much more than she chooses to let the adults see. So, at what point does one draw the line when it comes to defining poor mental health? Can anyone really see what is going on in a child’s mind? What right does one have to assume a prematurely born child is going to have difficulty learning or mental instabilities? What signs does one have to show to prove they are having difficulties at all? The Book raises these sorts of questions, hopefully offering readers a lot of food for thought.

How much of the book is realistic?

I'm hoping all of it! But I guess that's for readers to decide.

About the Author

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written. Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. For more information, please visit her website:



  1. Thanks so much for having me! :)

  2. You're very welcome! I'm so glad I read it--still thinking about it!