TAUK Publishing chatted with Cheshire author Bella Roane about her debut novel, released today on Amazon. Confide in Me tells the tale of a couple navigating the pressures of marriage, careers, loneliness, desire and secrets.
How would you describe your book?
It’s not a conventional love story. It’s more about the love in a family. However, it is centred around two people, but they go through so many peaks and troughs it really tests their relationship. Some are obvious, and some are not. It could be described as a love story, but there is a lot of drama in there, too, especially from other characters that impact the family. I’m sure people will relate to how miscommunicating in a relationship can result in tragedy.
Who is your reader?
People like me and you, Estelle. I do think it’s definitely directed at women. My husband made me laugh as he is reading it at the moment and thinks there are similarities between some of the characters and him, but they’re not.
Tell me about the story of your story.
It came mainly from conversations with people, talking to them about their lives, and realising that no one has a straightforward life. You look around, especially on social media, and think everyone has a perfect family when actually, if you just dig below the surface a little bit, there’s a lot more going on. I’m interested to see how far you can push relationships until they snap, which I have explored in this book.
Have you always wanted to write?
Yes, I have wanted to write a book since childhood. I used to write a lot when I was a child and illustrate my stories, which were mainly about horses and ponies. But when my children came along, I toyed with the idea of a children’s book, but then, in the end, I realised it was really a novel I wanted to write. It was my husband who encouraged me to write this book. After years of working and then with the pandemic hitting, he told me to just do it.
Where do your ideas come from?
Most of my ideas come when I am running or walking the dog. I’ll think of things and then pop them in my phone, ready to write later. I also get a lot of inspiration from watching and listening to people.
How long did it take to write?
About two years. There was a lot of stop-start with it. Sometimes there were moments when my characters wouldn’t talk to me and I would struggle, but then there were times when I couldn’t keep up with the writing as the ideas flowed. I think it’s the same for most writers.
Are you writing anything else?
Yes, two of the characters from this book are in my next two novels. I’m planning for three books in this series. Each one will centre around the three leading women in Confide in Me, but the focus will shift to each of them. This first book centres around Carrie, but my next one will be Corinne. I plan to delve more into the past with Corinne as I want the reader to understand why she is the way she is and how she became the person we recognise in Confide in Me. I’ve already started it and really enjoying it so far.
Essentially, these three books are one story. Do you plan to write anything beyond these characters?
After the series, I have an idea for a story similar to a ‘Sliding Doors’ scenario but also exploring the six degrees of separation theory. I’m not sure of the story exactly, but I have a rough idea. I think I would like to take that story around the world as my family has many global connections, so it could make it really interesting how people across the world can affect your life, especially if the characters are extreme. Imagine being six degrees away from a president of the USA.
Did you enjoy writing it?
Yes, I’m very creative, and when I was a teacher, I sometimes felt stagnated because you are teaching from a textbook. Even if you try to be creative, you still have to hit specific skills and targets, so I started to feel restricted. But by writing a book, I felt so free. You can do what you want when you write; it can take you anywhere. As long as it is all believable, then all creativity can work. Taking a story wherever you want it to go can be mind-blowing.
Do you plan out your story?
No. I just pour it out onto the page. The most planning I do is putting notes and ideas in my phone. But I think I should plan more with the next one as I discovered, through the editing process, that my timelines were off, so they are definitely a weak point for me. It might sometimes only be a minute detail, but to some readers, it can be obvious if you don’t get that detail right. I’m very aware with my next one that one of my characters is Black, and I set some of it in the 80s, so I’m asking lots of people about their experiences around that time and how they felt. As a white woman from Yorkshire, I want to make sure that I hit this character accurately and sensitively, so there will be more planning with that.
Any lessons learned?
Read around your genre a lot and take notice of your edits. I was told I used the word ‘that’ a lot. So much so that it significantly affected my word count, which made me laugh. I also learned how important sentence structure is. Moving things around can really make the story flow so much better. It’s all made me a more confident writer.
If it was on TV, who would you like to cast?
For Carrie, I would love Rose Leslie, who was in The Time Traveler’s Wife and Game of Thrones. With Corinne, I have always seen Tanya Moodie, who played Meg in Motherland. I just love her!
Why did you choose TAUK Publishing?
My husband knows your (Estelle) husband and encouraged me to contact you. Once we met, we just clicked, so I felt confident that you would be honest and hold my hand.
Any advice for a new author?
Just put yourself out there and write it. What have you got to lose? The only thing that stops you is your thoughts and feelings. Just do it!