Author Interview and Giveaway – A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure – Angela Bell

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How many of you love a twist on your favorite genre? Steampunk is a delightful mix of history and fantasy, I think. And there’s a brand new one this month! Welcome Angela Bell to the Index!

Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Lady’s Guide to Marvels and Misadventure

When Clara Marie Stanton’s ex-fiancé begins to spread rumors that her family suffers from hereditary insanity, it’s all Clara can do to protect them from his desperate schemes and society’s prejudice. Her family may be eccentric, yes, but they certainly aren’t insane. Then Clara’s Grandfather Drosselmeyer brings on an apprentice with a mechanical leg, and all pretense of normalcy takes wing.

Theodore Kingsley, a shame-chased vagabond skilled in repairing clocks, wants a fresh start far from Kingsley Court and the disappointed father who declared him dead. Upon returning to England, Theodore meets clockmaker Drosselmeyer, who hires him as an apprentice, much to Clara’s dismay. When Drosselmeyer spontaneously disappears in his secret flying owl machine, he leaves behind a note for Clara, beseeching her to make her dreams of adventure a reality by joining him on a merry scavenger hunt. Together, Clara and Theodore set off to follow Drosselmeyer’s trail of clues, but they will have to stay one step ahead of a villain who wants the flying machine for himself—at any cost.

Angela’s Website

Angela Bell


Questions about Angela’s Story

What inspired this story?

This story was inspired by the grand adventure of Around the World in 80 Days and the enchanting whimsy of The Nutcracker. While Verne’s Phileas and Passepartout set forth on a race around the world, the characters in my book embark on a merry scavenger hunt across Europe. In every city they explore, my characters enjoy a regional dessert inspired by the confectionary citizens in the Land of Sweets who dance to honor young Clara in Tchaikovsky’s ballet. It was such fun to draw inspiration from these stories! I hope readers will enjoy finding the little head nods, easter eggs, and references to them I sprinkled throughout the book.


Which scene is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with? Give us a reason to look forward to it.

What a fun question! Let’s see…oh, there’s a delightfully funny scene in Chapter 27, which never failed to make me laugh out loud with every reading. It takes place in a magnificent European cathedral. All is hushed and somber until something rather unexpected happens thanks to the antics of my heroine’s animal-loving mum, Mrs. Stanton. Then the grandiose silence is abruptly shattered, and the fur quite literally flies as absolute hilarity ensues! Just thinking of the scene makes me smile.


Why did you choose the geographical location in which your book is set?

Like my heroine, I’ve always been fascinated by faraway places, especially Europe, but unexpected life circumstances have prevented me from traveling as much as I’d like. As I plotted the course of my fictional scavenger hunt, I specifically chose cities and landmarks I hope to see in real life one day, and through the magic of YouTube, travel blogs, and virtual online tours, I was able to visit them in my imagination. I learned about the cultures. Experienced the sights, sounds, smells, and local cuisine. Now, through this whimsical story, I hope to give readers a sensory experience that allows them to explore the world from the comfort of home.


Questions about Angela’s Reading

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that made you cry?

Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep. This gothic regency romance, inspired by the classic novel Frankenstein had me swooning and weeping in turn, necessitating the procurement of smelling salts and a proper handkerchief. With unflinching vulnerability, Griep’s tale explores the very depths of love and loss. Heartbreak and hope. Over the course of an achingly beautiful narrative, her complex characters bare their shattered hearts and weary souls without reserve, granting grief-stricken readers permission to do the same within the refuge of her story. The potent combination of raw honesty and resolute faith in God’s sovereignty makes for a tale that’s both gritty and utterly saturated with grace.


What was the last Christian Historical Novel that surprised you with a plot twist you didn’t see coming?

When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer. This innovative novel is an achievement in storytelling. As a writer and voracious reader, I can usually spot a plot twist on the horizon or at the very least, discern the general trajectory of a story. But somehow, Meyer managed to keep me guessing from the first page to the very end. And OH MY STARS, what an ending! I re-read it three times because it was so unexpected and astounding and breathtakingly beautiful! I should probably mention the sequel, In This Moment, as well because Meyer managed to pull off the incredible time-crosser premise a second time, after making it even more complex, AND completely blew my mind with yet another brilliant plot twist I never saw coming!

When the Day Comes

What was the last Christian Historical Novel whose characters stayed in your head days after you finished reading it?

The Weight of Air by Kimberly Duffy. This engrossing novel combines the emotional drama of Downton Abbey with the glittering spectacle of The Greatest Showman. I read it a year ago, and the characters still reside in my head rent free. Upon meeting Isabella and Mabel, it’s apparent that these characters aren’t merely figments of the author’s imagination. These characters are real people—flawed and fascinating, complex and compelling. Instead of crafting their stories, Duffy surrendered her pen to living, breathing souls and invited them to tell their tales of heartache, grief, and redemption. These two women—each strong, beautiful, and broken in unique ways—told their tales with a heart-rending honesty that unmasked a darkness the glitter of the circus had long concealed. In revealing their insecurities, anxiety, and depression, Mabel and Isabella issued their own invitation. Share your story. Unveil the shadows that have darkened your heart and mind too long. Don’t let shame and fear keep you silent and isolated. For it’s only when the darkness is exposed that the light can flood in . . . and with the light, comes the realization that we are never alone, not even in the shadows. This novel is an innovative triumph in the world Christian Fiction, but more importantly, it’s a beacon of hope for countless women, like myself, who are intimately acquainted with depression’s oppressive shadow.

Weight of Air

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