I came across writer/caregiver/entrepreneur A.C. Bell’s name from last November’s Author! Author! annual event that she participated in and which is organized by Summerville D.R.E.A.M.

I have a tickler file on all my potential profile pieces so am now tackling her book. Bell will be the featured author holding a book signing and reading at the Summerville Library on Old Trolley Road on Sunday, June 30 when the library will host its monthly “Meet the Author” event at 2 p.m.

Her novella about family and sacrifice is published through iUniverse from which she received an Editor’s Choice Award and is available on Amazon.com.

For more information, go to https://www.acbell.com/ OR https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100029828407832.

Regan: This is your first book, a fiction novella? Are you anything like “Abigail” (or Abby) the main character in the story?

A.C. Bell: Abigail Kimball is a fictional character but there are many elements of her journey I can personally identify with. For example, like trying to maintain a work/life balance and enduring the challenges faced with caring for a loved one who suffers with Alzheimer’s. Much of my inspiration to write came from my own life experiences.

R: When did you decide you would write this story? How did you know you could write? How did you choose to write in the novella style (a fictional, narrative prose that is normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel (between 17,500 to 40k words). Novella means “new” (Italian).

B: I decided to share this story shortly after my father passed away. He was my inspiration to write this novella, so I endeavored to build a character who mirrored some of his strengths. Writing short stories and poems was an outlet for me. I realized I could write once I continually received encouraging feedback from friends, family and authors about my work.

R: You’ve said it was therapeutic to write this down. The main character in the story faced a big decision between their career and personal life. Do you believe one can have it all (personally & professionally) or do you feel one has to choose? Do you feel most people are afraid of death and should not be?

B: I had to do a lot of soul searching. Overall, writing this novella was a cathartic experience. I believe people should look deep inside themselves when faced with a choice of professional verses personal life. I don’t think we have to choose between career and personal life, as some people can have it all. Just know what’s most important to you and make the necessary sacrifices. This is what I’ve done in my own life and I truly believe I have it all.

R: Was it challenging to write? Did you have people critique it? How long did it take to finish?

B: It was emotionally draining to write about characters who endured similar struggles to my own. Yes, I received lots of critiques from many including established published authors and helpful feedback from a local writing group called Rough Writers. It took some breaks, so it took almost four years to complete the manuscript and get it to print.

R: Do you recommend writers go the self-publishing route versus a traditional publisher? How did you choose iUniverse?

B: I recommend self-publishing but, ultimately, writers must choose the best path for themselves based on their goals as an author. Each publishing path you take will have its pros and cons. After researching several publishing companies, I decided that iUniverse was the best choice for me.

R: Is there a collection of your several poems and short stories planned for publication?

B: As of now, there is no plan for publication of my short stories and poems. I just continue to collect my works and write whenever I feel inspired.

R: What is in store for you next in terms of book events?

B: I had an author event on May 4 at Main Street Reads which went very well. I’m looking forward to my June 30 author talk at the Summerville Library at 2 p.m. I will also be at the Barnes & Noble store in North Charleston on Aug. 3 from 2-4 p.m.

Mary E. Regan, Columnist, is a Publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: Mary@ProPublicist.com