Attention all fans of middle school magic, today’s blog guest is Braden Bell, author of The Kindling. Here’s the tag line from the book’s cover: Homework? Of course. Crushes? Sure. But who knew seventh grade included superpowers? Braden teaches theater and music at a private middle school in Tennessee, so he knows teenagers. He’s also the author of The Road Show and blogs frequently.
List five movies you LOVE:
It’s a Wonderful Life—it reminds me of what’s important. I’m a school teacher with a large family, so material things are not among my blessings. This movie reminds me of the blessings I do have. Plus, Jimmy Stewart is a hero of mine.
Candleford Technically not a movie—a BBC mini-series but the writing is brilliant and the acting perfect.
Casablanca The scene where they sing La Marseilles in defiance of the Nazis gives me chills. And Bogart and Bergman—can’t beat it. They had class then, style, panache!
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Not perhaps the greatest art in the world, but it’s a multi-generational family tradition. It’s a fun way to kill three hour and makes me laugh every time I watch it.
The Scarlet and the Black It’s a little known movie with Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer about a fearless priest in the Vatican during the Nazi occupation of Rome and his incredible efforts to save Jews and escaping Allied soldiers. True story of incredible courage.
It’s a Wonderful Life was a Christmas tradition at my parent’s house, and I love Casablanca. I’ll have to add The Scarlet and the Black to my to-see list.
List four books you’re read recently that you liked:
Dispirted by Luisa Perkins
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
I’ve been so busy writing and critiquing that I fear I’ve not had much time to read!
Favorite book from when you were younger?
Anything with the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.
Favorite Shakespeare play:
There is something so wonderfully creepy about Macbeth that captured my imagination in high school.
“Wonderfully creepy” is a great way to describe Macbeth. I really like that play.
List three people you admire and explain why.
Winston Churchill: His absolute, unflinching determination, unconquerable spirit pulled a country through impossible odds and quite literally saved Western Civilization as we know it. He drank too much, smoked incessantly, and slept in far too long. He conducted much of the business of the war from his bathtub. He had a wicked wit and quick tongue. And we have a similar physique.
George Washington: I really believe he’s one of the best people that’s ever lived. His decency, modesty, and self-control were unique. He could have been a dictator or king, but chose not to be. He gave up power in a way few people would have and served at tremendous sacrifice, during the war and again as president.
Margaret Thatcher: I haven’t read as much about her as the other two, but she is a fascinating person. One of the strongest leaders of the 20th century. She had an enormous impact on the outcome of the Cold War and stood consistently on principle. A very strong person.
Writing advice you’d give to others?
Just do it. Do it the way it works. Learn from other people, seek honest feedback, but just do what works for you.
When did you start writing?
When I was young—perhaps 9 or 10?
What are you working on now?
The sequel to The Kindling and also a YA novel.
What process do you go through as you get a book ready for submission?
I have wonderful critique partners. Then I have as many readers as I can. I do lots and lots of revisions and try to have as many honest critics read my work as I can. Since I’m a teacher, I am fortunate in that I can draw from my students to get a lot of readers who give me honest feedback and excellent suggestions.
Here’s the back-cover blurb from Bell’s latest book: All thirteen-year-old Conner Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens. He didn’t mean to set anyone’s gym shorts on fire or make school lunches explode. But now that the strange powers inside him have been ignited, Conner’s normal teenage life is about to go up in flames!
To learn more about Braden or purchase The Kindling, visit his website. Thanks for being part of my blog today, Braden! Keep scrolling down to see the book trailers: