Q & A with Karis Bell - Melting Pot
Happy New Year, dear reader! I thought I should kick off the New Year with a new type of post. In December, I sat down with brilliant-brand-spanking-newly-published author Karis Bell to talk about love, life, publishing, and writing diverse historical fiction.
C. Morgan Kennedy (CMK): I believe the first time we ever spoke live was just after I finished beta reading your first book Adored. [Adored is Book 1 in her Harem Diaries series.] I thoroughly enjoyed it and was honored to get my hands on an early edition. How did it feel to send your book baby out into the world?
Karis Bell (KB): Yes, that was the first time we spoke for like an hour and it was a great conversation. Thank you for being so generous with your time. I was incredibly excited! Publishing Adored was a dream come true.
CMK: How many books are planned for this series? Please tell me that Xavier and Cassie get their own story when they come of age! Ooooohhhh – and please tell me Nadimah gets her own story, too.
KB: I had originally planned four books for the series- Adored, Fascinated, Cherished, and Beloved but decided after reading Adored for the 10th time that Nadimah was just too “ride or die” not to have her own story and the person she is going to be a surprise revealed in Fascinated coming out in the spring of 2018.
CMK: As someone who writes historical fiction based in an alternative USA in 1860, I had very specific reasons for choosing my time period and setting. Why did you choose Morocco in 1877 for your first book?
KB: I’m huge fan of historical romance, I love Beverly Jenkins and have every book by Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsay, Judith McNaught, Lisa Kleypas you name it. I always knew this was my genre so I began brain storming what would give women of color the luxury, wealth and status as books based in England and after much research I settled on Morocco which was just as wealthy as Europe and governed by people of color.
CMK: So, tell me a little about your writing life. What is your process for taking a spark of an idea and turning it into a novel? And how does that fit with your publication schedule? [Basically, I’m trying to be nice about asking ‘when do I get to read the second book???’ Cause, it’s all about me…right? Ha!]
KB: You’re definitely going to get them. My goal is to put out four books a year so you will get the rest of this series in 2018 with Fascinated (Malik/Elise) and Cherished (Asher/Keiko) this spring and summer followed by Beloved (Xavier/Cassie) and Enraptured (Nadimah’s book) fall and winter.
As for the spark I have a lot percolating around my head but I’m mostly inspired by history. I comb through history finding excerpts about people of color. Adored was inspired by Sarah Forbes Bonetta , Queen Victoria’s god daughter. I read about her life and immediately knew I could make a play on that for a book. I write at night anywhere from 8pm - 2am because I have three very active little kids to wrangle during the day. I plot and outline every book but my characters are disobedient sometimes. Like for instance; Antonia being sent away wasn’t suppose to happen but Khalil was feeling bitter.
CMK: After The Harem Diaries, what other stories do you have knocking around some random notebook in your office? Care to share?
KB: After The Harem Diaries Series I am going to write the stories of the boys Antonia rescued and any more kids we pick up along the way.
CMK: Thank you, Karis, for your time. It’s December and I know you are busy with your family and holiday plans….so, again, thank you for chatting with me.
KB: Thank so much!
CMK: Well, dear readers, you heard it here first….Ms. Bell has big plans for the world she built in Adored. Be sure to visit her website and sign up for her newsletter to know when the next books in her series are released!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
The Harem Diaries Book One
by Karis Bell
This was not the adventure she'd been promised…
The last thing Miss Antonia Freeman anticipated as companion to Duchess of Weatherly on the final leg of their tour in beautiful Morocco was ending up in the Caliph of Fez’s palace. But when presented with an offer to finally see lands she had only ever dreamed of, she eagerly agrees to the journey. Still, nothing could have prepared her for the splendor of the palace and coming face-to-face with the most beautiful man she's ever seen.
Khalil Al-Rasheed, Caliph of Fez, is the ruler of all he surveys. After suffering the heart-rending loss of his wife in childbirth, he finds himself in desperate need of a teacher for his beloved yet mischievous daughter, Cassiopeia. What he does not anticipate is being presented with a disheveled and bedraggled British woman with four young boys in tow.
From the palace's lush gardens to the majestic grandeur of the harem, skepticism gives way to adoration as Khalil sees the wonders Antonia works in his little girl. Amidst intrigue and danger, Khalil and Antonia find themselves exploring a burgeoning passion that is threatened by betrayal. Confronting the truth may tear them apart as Khalil is forced to come to terms with his grief and Antonia questions if she can ever win the heart of a man longing for the love of his past.
Columnist: C. Morgan Kennedy
I have a confession to make. I’m a time traveler. I love flinging myself into the future, then hurtling fast to an alternative past. In my usual time-space-dimension, I’m a mechanical engineer and business woman. So, I have a natural penchant for hover cars and steam or aether powered engines. Though I was born in the wrong era, I’m actually a child of the sixties – 1860, 1960, 2060.
My stories feature strong women, who know how to wield their minds like weapons. Their men are smart and often controlling….but, rest assured, my female leads give them a run for their money. They strive to follow their hearts and dreams for the betterment of themselves and their loved ones. Like my life, all of my stories feature a diverse cast of characters.
With my business partner, Therese Patrick, I work to demystify marketing principles for my author friends. Our first book, Author Marketing 101 Guide & Journal, was published by Gazebo Gardens Publishing and released in October 2013.
Steampunk, futurist, blerd, artist, author, and marketing maven…a real creative force of nature – that’s me in a nutshell.
Keep tabs on my adventures via my blog, Morgan’s Mix Tape, on my website: http://www.cmorgankennedy.com.