Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Bella Ellis Interview - The Vanished Bride

Photo Credit: Adam Evans

Bella Ellis is the Brontë-esque pseudonym of Rowan Coleman, an acclaimed author of numerous novels for adults and children. She first visited the former home of the Brontë sisters when she was ten years old. From the moment she stepped over the threshold she was hooked, and embarked on a lifelong love affair with Charlotte, Emily, and Anne; their life; their literature; and their remarkable legacy.


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
Fear! I was reading a British magazine that was running a short story competition for young writers, and the cut off age was thirty. I was twenty-nine and a half at the time, so I thought I’d better stop thinking about writing and actually give it a serious try.

Tell us your latest news.
Book News? I guess that would be that The Vanished Bride as just been published in the U.S and I find that rather exciting and overwhelming. Life news? My daughter is taking her driving test today, I’ll let you know how that pans out.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
So many things, perhaps thanks to my mum. I was lucky to grow up in a house full of books, where reading was encouraged and to have access to a lot of books from a young age. I first read Jane Eyre at about the age of ten, after my mum took me to the Bronte Parsonage Museum and I remember so vividly that reading experience, being there with young Jane. I still think about that when I’m writing, trying to put my reader in the room alongside the characters. For me a good novel should be entertainment, and so I always think about that first. I read a lot of fantasy as girl and teen, every Stephen King novel, I love historical novels, and crime. I have very eclectic taste!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Well, pertaining to the last answer I want them to be in that moment, with my characters. I suppose I don’t want them to be thinking as much as feeling, while they are reading the novel, whether that’s excitement, laughter, fear, tension, love, sorrow. If after they’ve read it, it comes back to them I suppose I’d hope they’d think about possibility, and how much can be achieved when you set your mind to trying.

In your new book; THE VANISHED BRIDE, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
The Vanished Bride is the first in a series of novels which imagines that before they were revolutionary authors the Bronte sisters were amateur sleuths. One night Charlotte, Emily and Anne hear that a young wife and mother has gone missing from a nearby manor house, leaving behind a great quantity of blood. When they realize that no one is really trying to what happened to her they decide that it must be up to them to discover the truth.

  • It’s a good mystery
  • It will take to the beautiful moors of Yorkshire
  • You might get to know Charlotte, Emily and Anne a little better.
  • It will make you laugh.
  • It might make you cry.
  • There’s a really good dog in it.
  • Step inside a spooky gothic house.
  • Branwell is a very interesting man.
  • You will find out secrets that you didn’t know.
  • It’s a proper old fashioned adventure novel.
What part of Charlotte, Emily and Anne did you enjoy writing the most?
I honestly loved writing this novel so much. I am a huge Bronte fan girl, and so to walk alongside my fictional versions of them was just pure joy. I wanted to try and weave in as much historical fact about them alongside the fiction as I could, and fitting that all together was tricky but satisfying.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
This is a tricky one… I’m going to cheat a little bit and introduce Charlotte to Jane Austen. I’d love to get them both together for a cup of tea and hear them talk about their writing processes.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Always seek to broaden your horizons. Look outside of your comfort zone, and then things you know. There is a whole world of possibility out there. I’ve been doing this my whole life and its opened up avenues and opportunities that I could never have dreamt of otherwise.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
On a person level every time I hear from a reader that a book has meant something to them it means the world to me. On a career bucket list level, being a Sunday Times bestselling author in the UK and signing film and TV option agreements which I can’t talk about yet. (yay!)

  • Take a long walk.
  • Day dream.
  • Read history books.
  • Go to the theatre.
  • Do some painting.
  • Just start writing and see what happens.
  • Brainstorm with other writers.
  • Go to sleep listening to Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
  • Take a walk around the Bronte Parsonage.
  • Spend at day at the National Gallery in London.
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Contact Lenses just in case theirs and unexpected adventure.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
The result of the ‘Brexit’ referendum held in the UK in 2016, it’s been tearing my country apart ever since.

What was your favorite sitcom growing up?
I really, really, really loved Friends. I know that it hasn’t especially aged well, but I must be honestly, whenever I put it on I still laugh.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Be utterly terrified about trying something new, but doing it anyway. Take that test, apply for that job, try that lipstick, write that book. Yes, you may fail, but trying is a kind of success in itself.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
It think perhaps when I found myself pregnant with twins and my husband and I were both out of work. The fear made me write a pretty good book though, that did really well around the world, so there’s that.
  • Yorkshire
  • Brooklyn
  • Cornwall
  • London
  • Paris
  • Venice
  • Florence
  • Malta
  • The Lake District, Cumbria.
  • The Orkeny Islands, Scotland
‘And Woe betide any that stood in their way.’
‘For men and women are terrible creatures, and we can never truly know what they are capable of in secret.’
‘As ever, my dear brother, I do not have time to waste on the weakness of men.’
‘Well, in this world where men night beat their wives, and yes, might even kill them and go unpunished, where society and the law see women as little more than property, it seems as someone should be trying to do something about it.’
‘It made Charlotte smile to think how very little of the truth those people knew. How very little of what she and her sisters truly were.’
‘Perhaps it is our duty to speak for those who cannot: to voice the silent with our words and make them heard.’
‘Although Emily had never before broken into the manor house of a suspected murderer in the dead of night, it didn’t occur to her once that this wasn’t something she wouldn’t be perfectly good at.’
‘It was reassuring to know that at least some things didn’t change, and that whatever dark treacheries the world might conceal at she was certain of this: She would always have her sisters.’

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery...

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson's daughters--the Brontë sisters--learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent "lady detectors." Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, "detecting is reading between the lines--it's seeing what is not there."

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman's place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril...


“The Bronte sisters as sleuths--what a delicious idea! Bella Ellis has brilliantly recreated the feel and atmosphere of the Bronte novels, as well as bringing the three sisters (and their dissolute brother) vividly to life. What's more, it's a rattling good story!” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of the Royal Spyness novels, the Molly Murphy Mysteries and The Victory Garden

“The Vanished Bride is a clever and unique historical mystery that offers fascinating insights into the lives of the Brontë siblings alongside an equally compelling atmospheric, gothic, and twisty tale. Fans of the Brontë sisters’ exquisite books will find much to love as Ellis pays homage to the spirit of their rich literary oeuvre. The Vanished Bride is sure to delight historical mystery lovers.” —Chanel Cleeton, New York Times Bestselling author of When We Left Cuba

“The Vanished Bride hooks you from the first page with intricate characters, a wonderful plot and best of all, an amazing sense of time and place. I look forward to reading Ms. Ellis’s next adventure of the Bronte Sisters.” —Emily Brightwell, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Mrs. Jeffries mysteries

"What a treat! The Vanished Bride is an absolute delight from start to finish. Dashing across the Yorkshire moors with the Bronte sisters felt like visiting dear old friends, and Bella Ellis does the most wonderful job in imagining Emily, Charlotte and Anne as 'detectors'.
Beautifully written, deliciously atmospheric, and enormous fun, this series is certain to become a firm favourite." —Hazel Gaynor, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Appropriately gothic touches as well as the author’s solid research on the lives and works of the Brontës—including cameos by their dissolute brother, Branwell; their good-hearted father, Patrick; and Charlotte’s clumsy future husband, Arthur Nicholls—enrich a diverting adventure. Brontë aficionados won’t want to miss this one. “ —Publisher’s Weekly

“Move over, Jane Austen, for the latest literary ladies who snoop…[a] lively series debut.”—Kirkus

You can purchase The Vanished Bride at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you BELLA ELLIS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Vanished Bride (Brontë Sisters Mystery #1) by Bella Ellis.