Quintette of Questions: Christine Bell

Today I’m asking Christine Bell 5 questions about her latest book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

No Small Shame isn’t the original title. My publisher ‘stole’ one of my chapter titles for the book, (their words 🙂 ), as they said the original title reflected the story of one of the other main characters more than that of my protagonist. I’d never thought of it that way; but once it was pointed out, it made perfect sense. I’ve known the story by its old title for such a long time, sometimes I worry I might accidentally call the book by the wrong name. Now though, combined with the gorgeous cover, I can’t really imagine No Small Shame being called anything else.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Once, I would’ve cast Olive Thomas, an early 20th century silent movie actress to play the role of Mary, my main character. Thomas had the exact same look, the unruly hair and defiant eyes. But seeing Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, I can easily imagine her playing Mary, except Ronan’s growing older faster than the book is likely to be made into a movie! Liam Hemsworth would make the perfect Liam. He’s the build, the looks, and could carry all the promise and sweetness lost.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Evocative, heartbreaking, authentic, compelling, tragic.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

I loved Tom and Isabel Sherbourne from The Light Between Oceans. Their great love created an impossible dilemma. But a greater love has no man than to give up his principles for the happiness of the woman he loves. And ultimately, Isabel gave up everything for Tom in return. The impossible moral choice resonates in No Small Shame.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

At first, I found this question really hard and then came the answer, boom! There is a scene that could be written and included if the book was made into a movie. It wouldn’t need any dialogue just visuals and the song Angel sung by Sarah MacLachlan. The mood, melody and lyrics all so hauntingly evoke Mary’s relationship with her husband.

About  No Small Shame

Australia, 1914. The world is erupting in war. Jobs are scarce and immigrants unwelcome. For young Catholic Mary O’Donnell, this is not the new life she imagined. When one foolish night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a loveless marriage, Mary’s reluctant husband Liam escapes to the trenches. With her overbearing mother attempting to control her every decision, Mary flees to Melbourne determined to build a life for herself and her child.

There, she forms an unlikely friendship with Protestant army reject Tom Robbins. But as a shattering betrayal is revealed, Mary must make an impossible choice. Does she embrace the path fate has set for her, or follow the one she longs to take? From the harshness of a pit village in Scotland to the upheaval of wartime Australia, No Small Shame tells the moving story of love and duty, loyalty and betrayal, and confronting the past before you can seek a future.

Buy  No Small Shame

About  Christine Bell

Christine Bell is a Melbourne fiction writer. Her debut historical novel No Small Shame will be published by Ventura Press (Impact) April 2020. In October 2019, Christine was awarded the inaugural Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) Colleen McCullough Residency for an Established Writer. She is a Varuna fellow and holds a Master of Creative Writing (RMIT). Christine has had 35 short fiction works published for children. No Small Shame is her first adult novel.

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So many book launches and author talks have had to be cancelled, I’ve decided to run as many Quintettes as I can to share some great upcoming work – and let you stock up on things to read while we’re all self-isolating.