Tuesday, July 28, 2020

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.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
The greatest thing I learned at school was that academic brilliance can start pretty late and it’s all ok. I’m dyslexic, and wrote myself off as stupid for a really long time, but a good teacher made me see that I had more brains than I realized! Two degrees and thirty published books later, I never looked back.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It's very exciting for me to know that my books are being read around the world! To know I have readers in the USA, Brazil, India, Germany, Sweden, Italy and more besides, gives me a real thrill as a dyslexic kid, who grew up always at the bottom of the class.

If you could work for anyone you choose, who would it be?
I’ve co-written a novel with Cara Delevigne which was a lot of fun, and I’d really love to co-write a novel with Keanu Reeves, because I just think he has a brilliant outlook on life, and great creativity and NOT because I’ve been in love with him since Bill and Ted – so if you’re reading this Keanu I’m available.

In your newest book, THE VANISHED BRIDE; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
The Vanished Bride is the first in a series of Bronte Sisters Mysteries that imagines that before Charlotte, Emily and Anne were groundbreaking novelists they were amateur sleuths. At home in the Parsonage in Haworth they hear news of a young wife and mother who has vanished from her room, leaving only a great deal of blood behind. They go to investigate! I am a huge Bronte devotee, so I have worked hard to bring together the true story of their lives woven in with a fictional mystery.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THE VANISHED BRIDE
‘It is truly terrible, that I am a little thrilled to think of us as three invisible lady detectors seeking out the truth? I believe we could be quite the only such creatures in all existence.’

‘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.’

Ten Random Facts about THE VANISHED BRIDE
  • The ruined village of Wycoller that features in THE VANISHED BRIDE is thought to have been a settlement since the stone age and has the oldest remaining bridge still in use in Europe (10,000 years old)
  • I got the idea for the Bronte Sisters Mysteries whiles writing another novel called The Girl at the Window. I thought it would be fun to have a Bronte sisters cameo – then I realized it would be much more fun to give them a whole series of novels!
  • During my research I spent a lot of time in Haworth and at the Parsonage. On one behind the scenes trip I was allowed to see up close on of the tiny little books the Brontes made as children and I cried because it was so special for me.
  • In THE VANISHED BRIDE we see Emily buying a piece of material with a thunder and lightning pattern – this is something she really did, and it is rather marvelous to think of her wearing this daring dress, and a great insight into her unique non-conformist character.
  • William Weightman, the curate that sent the sisters a Valentines each, was a real young man. Very good looking according to Charlotte’s drawing of him, and a very kind and caring young man. It is sometimes suggested that he and Anne might have had an attraction. Sadly, he died at the age of 23 from diphtheria, which he caught whilst attending to his parishioners.
  • Patrick Bronte really did encourage a young woman of the parish who found herself with child to not rush into marriage, but to take time to work and save so that she and her lover could begin a secure life together.
  • He also really did advise a wife of an alcoholic and abusive curate to leave her husband – perhaps part of the inspiration behind The Tennant of Wildfell Hall.
  • Most of THE VANISHED BRIDE was written in the Earnshaw room at Haworth B&B and historical home Ponden Hall. Ponden was regularly visited by the sisters, especially Emily who used the library a lot. She often used to sit and read in the Earnshaw room, which contained a box bed like the one in Wuthering Heights – and you can still sleep there today!
  • When I am stuck, my favorite place to go is Ponden Kirk – aka as Penistone Cragg in Wuthering Heights. I like to sit there and think, knowing that Charlotte, Emily and Anne did exactly the same thing, looking at the same view.
  • I love the Bronte pets! I write Flossy, Anne’s dog as quite a small lap dog, but actually she was a great big springer spaniel! I don’t know why Flossy came out small in my retelling, perhaps because of the name. One day I hope to include Nero, Emily’s her pet hawk.
Writing: Behind the Scenes
I work in a room surrounded by Bronte stuff, I have shelves of vintage and antique editions of Bronte novels, a bust of Charlotte Bronte, a miniature of the parsonage and I keep copies of their books and letters on my desk at all times. I did this BEFORE I decided to write THE VANISHED BRIDE so I really am a hopeless fan.

What is the first job you have had?
I was a dog groomer, which comes in handy as I now have two very hairy dogs!

Best date you've ever had?
With my husband. We first met when we were both twelve years old at school, I was hopelessly in love with him for years. One parent teacher evening we were put in charge of refreshments together and that night he told me he liked me too! Decades later and we’re married with five children.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
What my sleep score on fitbit is.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
Venice is still the single most fascinating and beautiful city I have ever visited.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I’m a survivor of abuse, I think that although that has defined me, I do not allow it to make me a victim. I use that experience to drive me on to achieve as much as I can, and speak up for others.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yes, see above. Our world is unjust, and unequal. I will always do my best to be an ally for those of us who continue to live under oppression – just as my lovely Anne Bronte did.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
As Dickens said, it is a far, far better thing to have loved and lost than to never love at all.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Is it better to be plump and have no wrinkle, or skinny and wrinkly?

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?

The on-going girl highwayman adventure I’ve been writing in my head since I was very small.

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?
I’d have married my husband much sooner.

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why?
Keanu Reeves, because you get to look at Keanu Reeves in the mirror all day.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?
My neighbor as a life size model of a crocodile nailed to his ceiling.

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…

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.


  1. Tons! I have a few still from between my husband and I :)

  2. "Have you ever written a love letter?" Hmm, what is "love," really?

  3. I've never written a love letter.

  4. I have never written a love letter

  5. Yes, I have. I think they are still around here somewhere.

  6. I wrote my first love letter at 6 to the boy across the street. His name was Donnie. He passed away 10 years later. I still consider him my first love.

  7. I think I wrote a love letter in third grade to a boy I liked; it was intercepted and read aloud to the class by the teacher.

  8. Of course! And usually they contained song lyrics as well lol!

  9. I don't recall ever having written a love letter

  10. Yes, I have written love letters to my husband.

  11. Yes, Once I wrote a 30 page love letter. I think it was a bit much. The woman and I didn't connect.