Saturday, 2 April 2011

Nina Bell & The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre

Thursday I had the privilege of meeting author Alexandra Iron, aka Nina Bell. Alexandra writes big family dramas including The Inheritance and Sisters in Law.

We both belong to the Faversham Society, a local organization dedicated to the preservation of English history. The Society runs a Museum and Gallery in the town center. They help with family history research, and have frequent educational evenings spotlighting local buildings, nature walks and archaeology.

Last month the Society held a silent auction to raise money for new activities. Alexandra donated a crash course in UK publishing. Since I'm a shameless wannabe novelist (an evolutionary step up from freelance), and an avid supporter of the Faversham Society, I decided to put in a bid. I didn't win, however, Alexandra was kind enough to offer a second block of time, so I got my chance.

It was lovely. Alexandra is sweet and knowledgeable. She'd prepared a worksheet full of things I need to know. Which was great, because I got to chatting and forgot to take notes. We discussed the differences between publishing in America and England. I was relieved to find out the process is similar on both sides of the Atlantic, although, Alexandra was quick to point out some British quirks.

We talked about writer's groups and writing classes, and some of the festivals available in England. (Note: In America we call them Writer's Conventions or Conferences – in the UK they call them Festivals.) The time flew, and I was surprised when I checked my watch to discover two hours had passed!

If you want to know more about Alexandra and her books, you can visit her website at: or follow her on Twitter: @NinaBellBooks

I don't mean to sound like an advertisement, but she was that nice!

By the way, I'm a steward at the Museum and Gallery. So, if you are ever in Faversham, stop by the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre and say 'hello!'


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