Interview with Jennifer Bell, Author of ‘The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence’

Interview by Crystalwizard

Jennifer Bell The Uncommoners author photoLondon resident Jennifer Bell began working in children’s books as a specialist bookseller at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, one of the world’s most famous bookstores. After having the privilege of listening to children talk about their favorite books for many years, she started writing a book of her own on her lunch breaks.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I have so many favorites, it’s hard to pick just one. I love Rick Riordan, Frances Hardinge, Dianna Wynne Jones, and David Almond. They’re the writers that take my breath away. You know when you’re half-way through a book, and it’s so good, you genuinely don’t want to get to the end? I get that feeling with all of the authors above. They write very different books, some commercial, others literary, but all have an element of fantasy. It’s my favorite genre to read as well as write.

Who are some of the real people that inspire you and why?

I recently went to hear Commander Chris Hadfield speak at a packed theater in London. He’s a former test-pilot and heavily decorated Canadian astronaut who was the commander of the ISS and flew into space three times. He was incredibly inspiring. He had a great outlook on life and an interesting perspective on things. He said he had dreamed of being an astronaut ever since he was a little kid, and I find that really hopeful – that people do achieve their childhood dreams, and what you think might be impossible actually isn’t.

If you couldn’t write, what other method would you use to tell stories?

Movies, probably. When I was little, I wanted to be a film director and I went on to earn a degree in Film Studies – making student films and writing screenplays for shorts. It was a lot of fun.

Jennifer Bell The Uncommoners book coverWill there be more books about the Uncommoners?

YES! The first book in the series, The Crooked Sixpence, is just coming out in the U.S., and the second, The Smoking Hourglass, is already out in the UK. I’m writing the third book at the moment, and it is as yet untitled. But very exciting! I’ve been sneakily planting clues in the first two books for things which only unravel in Book 3, which is very fun.

What would you do if you walked into a bookstore and overheard some other customers talking about your books?

This happens all the time, as I still work a few days in a bookstore! Fortunately, I’ve only ever heard nice things said, so I always go up and introduce myself and say thank you. I think that if the customers didn’t like the book, I wouldn’t embarrass them, or myself, by saying hello. I might ask if they wanted help and perhaps recommend something I thought they would enjoy instead.

If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would you choose and why?

A dragon. Kitty Pryde from the X-men has an alien dragon companion named Lockheed, and I’ve always been jealous of her.

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