Welcome to another exciting edition of Author Spotlight, where we celebrate the remarkable talent within the indie romance community. Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with the enchanting Bella Leigh Michaels, an author who is making waves with her debut novel, A Court of Broken Promises.
Bella’s journey into the world of writing is a testament to the power of creativity and passion. She has poured her heart and soul into crafting a fantasy romance that promises to take readers on a spellbinding journey filled with intrigue, suspense, and, of course, intense love.
In this interview, we will dive deep into Bella’s creative process, explore the captivating universe of the Kingdom of Adaria, and get a sneak peek into what readers can expect from A Court of Broken Promises. So, whether you’re a long-time fan of indie romance or just discovering the genre, join us as we step into the world of Bella Leigh Michaels and her upcoming release.
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your debut novel, A Court of Broken Promises? What motivated you to write a slow-burn, why-choose fantasy romance?
Fantasy Romance has always been my favorite genre. While reading I would predict the endings or the twists and I eventually started to write down the ideas, since I was always wrong. I am terrible at guessing endings, my ideas were always so outlandish. Before I knew it I had a ton of ideas written down. When reviewing what I wrote, I saw a plot coming together with political intrigue and secrets and mystery and lots of angst and tension and most of all an epic love story. It only became an RH once I got to know the group of MMCs and realized that I loved them all. They all served a purpose when creating them, but their personalities and backstories grew to close to my heart that I couldn’t possibly choose a man.
The Kingdom of Adaria series seems to be a blend of fantasy, romance, and suspense. How did you approach balancing these different elements in your storytelling?
The romance is a big focus of mine. It’s a soul mate connection, so that played in with the fantasy aspect. The powers are person specific, elemental magic, so that was easy to bring in too, since it played right into the plot.
The suspense was an accident. I was trying to do a slow reveal of information. I hate info dumps and upfront world building. So as a way to avoid that, I designed the plot in such a way that the information is presented slowly. This is a character driven novel, so a lot of the plot has to do with the characters’ choices and feelings on them. She is escaping a vengeful king and council and doesn’t know much about what’s going on. We’re learning things as my FMC, Kaia, learns them as well. The heroes help her on this journey. As a result, it became suspenseful. It was my BETA team that said the suspense kept you turning pages and added grit to the story. I was told they’re like the detectives connecting red dots on a board. That was the moment I realized I wrote a suspense. I personally have never read one!
The world-building in fantasy novels is often complex and intricate. How did you go about creating the unique world of Adaria? Did you encounter any challenges during this process?
I imagined a whole new kingdom governed by the most powerful magic users (Fire Users). Kings, queens, and council with each of the other elements governing themselves. Then I went back thousands of years and wrote a backstory on how the kingdom came to be. I had rivalries and wars and everything.
I spent a lot of time doing a slow reveal of world-building. I sprinkled that information as needed as the novel progressed so the reader would slowly see what they needed to see. All these elements play into the underlying mystery so it’s interesting rather than feeling like an info dump.
A Court of Broken Promises features a protagonist named Kaia who relies on four unlikely heroes. Can you introduce us to these characters and explain their significance to the story?
Kaia is the daughter of the leader of the Kings elite guard, the Denalian’s. She lived a sheltered life at the capital. Her father was arrested for trying to assassinate the king. This was a real shock for her since her father was always a loyal servant to the king. For reasons, she is arrested in relation to the crime.
The heroes are members of the Denalians, some of her fathers most trusted. They have secrets and inside information that showed she needed to escape rather than wait to be released, if she was at all. That introduces our MMCs.
Elijah (Ash) is a Fire User and the older brother of Kaia’s best friend. He’s the only one she knew well from her past. The rest are his best friends and team members. Ezra (Air User), Griffin (Earth User), and Aiden (Water User) help Elijah break her out. The group become fugitives on the run and together must discover what’s been going on in Adaria. They need to discover what her father knew. Why was he working with the rebels? Did he try to assassinate the king, and why?
Deceit, secrets, and betrayal are mentioned in the book’s description. Can you give us a glimpse into the twists and turns readers can expect in the Kingdom of Adaria series without giving too much away?
Refer to the last answer for some of thisz But this book is presented in such a way that as soon as a question is answered, four more are presented. So there is a twist or oh shoot moment in most chapters. At the end of the book, several huge questions are answered, but even more burning ones are presented.
Writing a series requires long-term planning and commitment. How did you outline and structure the overarching story arc for the Kingdom of Adaria series? Are there any hints you can give us about what to expect in future books?
There was an extensive outline written in advance. Major plot points were written almost fully and minor scenes were described for the entire series before I ever started writing book one. And honestly, as I wrote it only for more detailed. It is a planned trilogy. Book two will give readers answers to questions that the end of book one presents. There will also be more spice in the upcoming books. You have tons of tension and angst in book one, and a spicy scene, but the spice will pick up in later books. This series truly is a journey for Kaia.
The romance genre is known for its tropes and archetypes. What are some of your favorite romance tropes, and did you incorporate any of them into A Court of Broken Promises?
I sat down with my best friend (we met in a reader group years ago at this point) and discussed our favorite tropes and type of hero. We also discussed our favorite spicy scenes. I used this list to create the outlines and scenes. These are just some of the tropes we out together that show up in this first book:
- Why Choose/ Reverse Harem
- Slowburn Steamy Romance
- Angst and Tension
- Tight Group of Alpha Males (Elite Soldiers)
- Dirty Jokes / Humor
- Best friend’s Brother
- Soul Mates
- One Bed / Stuck Together
- Protector / Found Family
- Suspense and Mystery
- Elemental Magic
- Is it all as it seems?
- Dark Secret
- Emotional Scars
As an indie author, what has been the most rewarding aspect of your writing journey so far? Are there any particular challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think the most rewarding has been working with readers to perfect the book. I met amazing people. My ALPHAs and BETAs were incredible. They loved the book and worked hard to make it better. I couldn’t be more grateful. They have become friends. We check in with each other and still talk regularly. When I was in the hospital , several reached out daily to check on me. That’s warmed my heart. They still get me out of my head when imposter syndrome hits, which is seriously real.
The most challenging is definitely marketing. You write this amazing book and then need to share it yet have no idea how to do that. You also have to pick ideas out of your own book as teasers or quotes. And I find that challenging. I have several scenes BETAs highlighted that I could use, but they have spoilers. So it becomes challenging. Also. talking about myself or my book is stepping out of my comfort zone!
What do you hope readers will take away from A Court of Broken Promises and the Kingdom of Adaria series as a whole?
I spent effort making each character unique and have their own voice. I wanted a cast of characters you care for right away. I hope readers love each character equally, the way I do. I made a flawed heroine who has real growth in the book and will continue to grow. I also didn’t want anyone to have a clear favorite MMC. Want them loved equally. I believe I did that. Feedback is that each POV reads differently and no one can pick a favorite! Whoever is on the scene is the favorite. Kaia finds a home with these guys, I hope the readers do too.
Finally, can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or releases you have in the pipeline after the Kingdom of Adaria series?
I have talks of a spin-off planned with a couple of secondary characters in the series. That will be MF. But you will love them in this book and want to hear more about them. Their stories will only grow in future books. They’ll get their own adventure. That’s the hope at least:) Readers love her, so fingers crossed. I also have an idea for a fairy tale retelling, unlike anything I’ve read before. So lots on the pipeline.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Bella Leigh Michaels. To stay connected with her and get the latest updates on A Court of Broken Promises and the Kingdom of Adaria series, be sure to follow her on Facebook, GoodReads Instagram.
If you’re an indie romance author eager to be featured in my Author Spotlight, please fill out the form here: Author Spotlight Submission Form. I am always looking for talented authors to feature and celebrate in our vibrant community of romance book enthusiasts.