I’ve been working behind the scenes to talk to few authors, and the lovely Bella Johnson was more than happy to discuss all things bookish with me! I first encountered Bella’s writing on the online writing platform Wattpad. |There she amassed a large following before publishing her most popular works – several of which I absolutely adore.
A Word from Bella:
Hey! I’m Bella and I write.
I’m also a full time Mom, horse-girl + professional photographer…
I started writing when I was a wee-thing, thirteen years old to be exact, and ironically enough, it’s when I created the series Heart Of Hunters! (though, it is far from my original creation, it’s still Kara+James at the end of the day!)
I joined Wattpad at the end of 2012 and began to seriously chase my dreams of being a writer of stories after the success of my werewolf series Wolfstate Chronicles!
If you were to get to really know me, you’d quickly realize I’m a little random, a little too bubbly and addicted to the characters in my mind!
If I don’t write… I don’t get to sleep!
– Bella xx
So Bella, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m just a girl who started writing books at the age of nine, but it wasn’t till I was thirteen that I wrote my first novel. I definitely have an overactive imagination and this is sometimes not a great thing, but it does help me plot books fast. I would consider it one of most valuable assets to my writing, aside from crazy nightmares.
When not reading or writing, what do you love doing the most?
I’m a professional photographer by trade, I love it! but my end all-be all passion is horses and all my farm animals! However, I don’t know if I can choose one particular thing I love the most because my life is made up of so much that I love.
What is your favourite book and why?
This is a dangerous question! I’m very picky about books, its dumb, I know. I think I’ll choose the amazing Jane Austen or Anne Rice for authors, Pride and Prejudice is my love and Lestat helps fill all the dark holes in my mind. Let’s not forget Joss Whedon creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, he probably shaped me the most as a writer – if I kill a character you love or give them an unhappy ending, it’s because of this author!!
Have you ever based a story on real life experience? Where does your inspiration come from?
When I was young and knew nothing but the walls of my home, sure I did base things off real life experiences – now though, I tend to just get inspiration from life, like there’s a pub and general store that I pass all the time, well it sparked the initial idea for Ranched Up because I began to form a story around this small, middle of nowhere pub surrounded by ranches!
Which character (from your own works) is your favourite and why?
I don’t think any author likes to say who’s their favourite, it’s like saying which kid you love more. I put a lot of time and thought into my leads, however, most that know me well – will probably scream Kara + James Dray. So, that’s my indirect answer.
Did you always want to be a writer?
My problem is, I write because I have to – if I didn’t, I’d probably lose my mind, these characters are their own beings, I’m at their mercy really. Not to sound insane!! I just LOVE writing, where ever it takes me I’ll be happy and am currently smile emoticon
How did you become a writer?
Let’s just blame that over active imagination again, it’s the culprit of my entire life thus far.
You’ve gained a pretty strong following from Wattpad and continuing Wolf Wednesday subscriptions. To what, or whom, do you owe your success? (Anyone to thank or shoutout to?)
Everyone that reads my books, or even tries to read one. I hardly expect the entire world to love me, but hey, even that small effort to read my characters means the undying world!
What’s next on the cards?
At this point, I’m just chugging along at whatever speed I can manage. I would love to release both Maine and Heart of Hunters (#3) this year!! But the goals are endless for my writing, literally.
Would you like to say anything to your fans?
Always just a big thank you for sticking with me and reading all my crazy stories and characters!
And as promised by both Bella and myself, here is a super EXCLUSIVE chapter or Bella’s next book . . .
Heart of Hunters
Kara had slept for much of the time she’d been in the hospital; well exhausted both mentally and psychically from the past twenty-four hours. All the while, her daughter napping beside her in a bassinet and white flannels.
Another disturbing dream startled her awake, and she stared across the white room, looking to the couch where Becky was curled in a heap of blankets, her hair wild around her.
The sunshine filtering in made her peg it as late morning but before her eyes could find a clock, the room’s door opened. Millie and Rose were entering on cue, dressed in the season’s best attire.
‘Oh, great.. here we go.’ She rubbed a hand over her face.
Snapping to life, Becky bounced from the couch to her feet in record time. “H-hi!”
“Hello.” Rose greeted, walking straight to Kara. “And, how are you, my dear?” She put a hand on Kara’s shoulder tenderly, wearing an expression that reminded her of James, that same blatant shock of concern.
Kara winced from the uneasiness she felt in her core. “Alright, a bit sore.”
“Of course.” Rose leaned gently over the bassinet as Millie joined the older woman at her side. “Oh my, she’s just perfect, Kara.”
Millie’s placid stare at the child made Kara nervous; she didn’t need his aunt’s approval, but she almost wanted it.
“She’s tiny.” Millie’s eyes inspected Emma, touching the baby’s fingertips.
“They-they said she’s healthy.”
“That’s good.” Turning on the tip of her pointed shoes, Millie strode over to Becky. “Andrew will need you to come home, once he’s out of this shift. It’s wearing him out.”
Becky tensed, her mouth turning into a tight line. “Is he okay?”
“We’re unsure,” Millie said, “He doesn’t seem to want to be mobile. Garrett thinks it’s due to extreme exhaustion.”
Kara wanted to ask about James, but she didn’t have to, she knew her husband was alright.
“Will they clear you to come home soon, Kara?” Millie looked over her charts at the end of the bed like they would make sense to her.
“I think they’ll let us go tomorrow morning.”
“That is great news!” Rose smiled. “Now, the real question, may I hold her?”
“Of course.” Kara produced a meek smile for the older woman.
Rose picked up the newborn in a delicate cradle. “She is lovely!”
Millie gave the child another look. “Yes, precious. I’m going to get a tea; I’ll be back in a few moments.” She walked from the room, and once the door closed, Becky wiped a few trickling tears.
“Are you okay?” Kara asked noticing her crying.
Becky’s nod wasn’t convincing. “I’m just worried about him.”
“I wouldn’t worry,” Rose said, staying focused on the baby in her arms. “Andrew will recover.”
The crease that formed across Becky’s forehead with worry sent Kara’s anxiety into a frenzy. “He’s not used to shifting, Rose.”
Still not understanding all the logistics, Kara did know that James rarely shifted, and it made sense Andrew also fell into that category. “Is it because they’re not allowed?”
“It’s not that, it’s physically draining,” Becky’s shoulders straightened upon the topic. “James is the strongest; this one shift will not lessen his life.”
“It’s best not to get worked up over it, Becky.” Rose’s voice solidified into a tone Kara had never heard. “Andrew will be all right.”
Kara was sure she saw Becky’s eyes roll as the blonde turned to walk across the room. Then it was silent and tight.
“And her name is Emma?” Rose asked with a smile on her face again.
Kara nodded. “James liked it.”
“It suits her.” The old woman agreed. “He’ll be proud of her. She’s lovely.”
Kara took a deep breath, trying to suppress the feeling inside her that happened when he was the subject. “Thank you for coming.”
“Oh, yes, I was dying to see her.” Rose cooed at the sleeping newborn. The rest of visit continued with ogling over her baby and less about supernatural bloodshed.
Becky stayed with Kara under Millie’s request but as the evening pressed on, the petite blonde begun to grow increasingly agitated. Her teeth grinding, hair twirling and pacing, left Kara with one conclusion; Becky wanted out of the hospital.
“God, I hate this.”
“I’m sorry, Becky, for being the one to cause all this.”
“I don’t blame you.”
It made Kara question who she blamed. Was it her husband? Garrett? That super power Coven?
The baby in her arms grew heavy with sleep as the moments between Kara and Becky passed with an eerie ambiance.
“She’s sleeping again.”
“Such a dozer.” Becky forced a content smile. “I can put her in the bassinet for you?”
“Yeah, not a bad idea, I need to go the bathroom.” Kara let Becky take the baby and put her down. As she scooted off the side of the bed, she slipped her cold feet into a pair of high-end sheepskin boots. Kara wasn’t sure who had bought them for her, but they were doing the trick in the cool room.
Her slow shuffle across the floor exhibited her sore and cramping body. Once in the bathroom, she washed her face and noticed her tattered hair. She cringed; it was awful, greasy and sweated out. Her face wasn’t better with it’s pale and pasty appearance, not very wife like of a professional soccer player.
That thought in her head alone bugged her; she knew what she needed to look like, what she was expected to look like, even if she had just popped out his baby.
Deciding to shower, she stepped into a refreshing warm water that didn’t calm her climbing nerves as she’d hoped. After fifteen minutes she shut the water off and listened to it drip and hit the tile at her feet. Everything seemed so different, and she couldn’t understand why. It beat her down with tears, and though she tried to stop them by distracting herself and leaving the shower, it didn’t help. She cried for longer than she meant to and when her last tear streaked her cheek, she saw the clothes Becky had come in and left for her during the shower.
She snatched up the new yoga pants and pink shirt, both stretchy items of clothing were a tiny size small. The pants just barely fit over her rounded hips and the shirt no better.
Dressed, she walked out feeling uncomfortable.
Becky smiled. “Real clothing.”
“They hardly fit.” Kara pulled at the hem of the shirt, not looking up so Becky wouldn’t notice her puffy face.
“They look good.”
“You’re too nice.” She sat on the bed, knowing her stomach wasn’t as attractive after carrying around a child, and she draped her arm over it. “Dumb cramps, though.”
“You’re almost due for more pain meds soon. Lie down; I’ll find that nurse.” Becky left her, and Kara took the suggestion to lie down, closing her eyes in relief.
“That took forever.” James turned to Becky as she walked up behind them in the main reception.
Becky wrinkled her nose. “Shouldn’t you be in a better mood?”
“Don’t mind him.” Garrett was next to face her. “How are you, Becky?”
She shrugged a shoulder. “How’s Drew?”
“He’s tired,” Garrett explained. “We figured it best if I get you.”
The blonde agreed. “I have everything I need so–”
“I’m going up. Which room then?” James cut in, not caring to hear the dribble about his cousin.
“Two twenty-nine. Level three. Kara’s asleep,” Becky told him, “And so is the baby.”
The information relieved him; he’d been in a panic the entire way there, with Kara asleep, it gave him more time to think. “See you later.”
Garrett took his shoulder before he could step away. “When Kara is released, I’ll send the Bentley.”
“Mm.” James nodded and walked away with a quick step toward the elevator. The doors opened, and he jabbed the third button down with his index finger. They rolled shut, enclosing him inside alone. He wrung his fingers to the collar of his shirt, undoing the top button from the discomfort of the stiff fabric.
Finally, he stepped out into the quiet and deserted hall with one lone nurse walking in and out of rooms. Proceeding down the lobby, he found the room and stopped, with his nervous hand not quite reaching the knob. “Please don’t let her hate me.”
Inside the room, the sight of his curled up, sleeping wife greeted him first. The door quietly swung shut behind him as the sound of breathing; his, hers and one more, etched the room.
He looked to the bassinet. His first two steps were slow, but the rest were quick. In those slow seconds, his dark eyes locked on his daughter.
“Bloody hell.” He ran a hand through his hair and gripped it, tugging as Emma moved her head, her hand balling at her cheek and making her pout.
He winced, pulling her tiny fist away from her face in aid.
Her squinted blue eyes shown up at him, muting his nervousness with heartache.
“Jesus, you’re just perfect.” He ran his other hand quickly over his watering eyes.
As the moments passed Emma’s bottom lip pouted, and she let out a soft cry.
“Shh.” He took his sizeable palms and brought them to the baby, lifting her out of the bassinet. He fumbled, trying to get her cradled in the crook of his arm and not knowing if he was going about it correctly.
Her tiny cries silenced as he tried his best to soothe her.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here, little one.”
She responded to him by nodding off and it made him smile. He had seconds alone with her before the shuffling of blankets revealed a waking Kara. His wife did her usual rub of her cheek on the pillow, opening her eyes slowly till she focused on what was in front of her.
Startled by his presence, she sat up as fast as she could. “James.”
“She’s lovely.” He put his fingertips on Emma’s tiny brow, brushing them along her soft little cheek.
“H-how long have you been here?” She bit her lip, and it made him stare at her.
“Not long.” His voice softened as he looked back to the baby. She was no longer the only one in love with the newborn; that was evident.
He didn’t take his eyes off his daughter. “Well, I…”
Kara lifted an eyebrow from his lack of speech. James Dray stunned – what a novelty.
“That’s about right.”
Her cheeks went red, perhaps from speaking through their linked minds. However, it filled him with a sense of pride. Maybe she would accept them for what they were now.
Emma stirred, yawning and squinting her blue eyes open. She looked up at him for a few moments then dozed back off. His heart pounded one solid thump, and he swore it skipped the next two.
James put the baby on his shoulder and nuzzled her. “I love her.”
Kara tried to hold the emotion in, but she failed, running her fingers beneath her bagged eyes. “I do too.”
“Thank you, Kara. She’s beautiful.”
She brushed her tears away, nodding like she had no words for him.
James rubbed Emma’s back, his hands completely covering their six-pound child and Kara appeared mesmerized by it.
He walked to her, sitting down on the bed and lingering with a kiss to her cheek. He remembered how that used to make him feel and how it just seemed different all of a sudden.
She created a space between them that made his worries more prominent. “I’m glad you’re alright.”
He paused. “Yes, I’m okay, and I hope you’re alright too.” His breath petered against her face because he refused to move any further back. “You’re a brave woman.”
“You are.” He dropped his mouth to Emma’s shoulder as he straightened away from Kara. “She’s perfect.”
“Where’s Becky?” Her words caught him off guard.
“Garrett’s taken her back to Blackwell.” He stood up, sensing she wanted space, even if it broke him to do so.
He got annoyed with the conversation. They should have been kissing and making up, not making small talk over Andrew and his fiance. “Drew needs her.”
She nodded, looking across the room at nothing in particular.
“Are you alright, love?” He asked, no longer able to comprehend her mood. Their child stirred on his shoulder, and that caught her particular attention.
“I’m just exhausted.” She lied her head back on the pillows with a sigh.
The baby let out a small cry, and he tried to soothe her not quite accomplishing the goal.
“Let me take her.”
He rubbed the newborn’s back and readjusted her. “She’s fine.”
Her eyes burned into him like they did when she was cross. “Can I just have her?”
“Let me hold her, please.”
She gave up and sunk back into the bed, he gave her credit, because it looked to have taken all her control.
“I get to go home tomorrow morning.”
“That’s good. I hate hospitals. The less I’m here, the better for everyone involved.”
Her eyes moved over him with suspicion. “Why do you hate them?”
He grumbled as he paced slowly across the room, but he felt her watching him, waiting for him to say something more.
“I find hospitals.. depressing.” He finally concluded. “It will be nice to go home.”
“I guess.” She breathed. ‘Safe.’
He glanced at her. “That’s a word you’re starting not to like, isn’t it?”
She didn’t reply, and he let it go because he was sure she knew he wouldn’t deviate from his version of control or sufferance. He was now in his full mastery of regulation and her, and their child would be his first precedence. For unclear reasons to him, their conversation appeared to bring on her anxiety instead of lessening it.