Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Beyond the Creek! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what (or who) was its inspiration?
Nico Bell: Thank you! This is a book about a young pregnant woman escaping an abusive past only to come face to face with an ancient evil threatening her happily-ever-after. When I sat down to write this story, I wanted to tell a tale of resilience. Alex, the protagonist, is fleeing an abusive ex-boyfriend. Just when she thinks she’s found a little slice of peace and stability, she must fight for her life, as well as the life of her unborn baby.
BD: What can you tell us about the creative process of bringing this story to life?
NB: I usually develop my characters before plotting an outline, and this was no exception. I like to spend time “interviewing” my protagonist and learning about their greatest hopes and fears. What is their flaw? What is the lie they believe about themselves? What’s the one thing they can’t do at the beginning of the story that they can do at the end? From there, I work on developing the building blocks of a plot, and then I start fast drafting.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Beyond the Creek will connect with and impact readers?
NB: Alex is a strong young woman who realizes her own power and resilience. She’s been knocked down physically and emotionally, but she continues to fight. Deep down, she desperately wants a life filled with joy, even if she doesn’t always believe she’s worthy. It’s a sentiment I’m personally very familiar with, and I believe others can relate to, as well.
BD: What makes D&T Publishing the perfect home for this story?
NB: D&T is fabulous! If anyone has the chance to work with them, don’t hesitate! There was always wonderful communication and a strong desire between both of us to polish the story and make it shine. Dawn made the entire publishing process a fabulous experience, and I love how dedicated she is to developing and sharing horror stories with the world! It was a delight working with them!
BD: Do you foresee expanding the story into subsequent books (or into other entertainment mediums if given the opportunity)?
NB: While I don’t see this turning into a series, I do think it’d be fun to one day see Alex on the big screen. I’d love for all of my stories to one day cross over. In fact, I’m currently working on adapting my B-horror coming-of-age story, Food Fright, into a screenplay.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
NB: I’m working alongside the fabulous Sonora Taylor to co-edit and publish Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology, which is available in June 2022. This is a fat-positive, body-positive horror collection featuring twelve stories with fat protagonists. As someone who has/had an eating disorder and felt the only way to survive in this world was to literally shrink herself, this project is especially important to me. Fat characters are rarely treated with respect and dignity, and this was an opportunity to present plus-sized bodies in a positive light.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Beyond the Creek and your other work?
NB: My book is up at Amazon. Readers can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok (@nicobellfiction), and I can also be found on my website www.nicobellfiction.com.