Name: James D. Bell
Book Title: Maximilian’s Treasure
Genre: Legal Thriller, Adventure, Romance
Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
James: I fell in love with the quest for justice the moment I first stepped into a courtroom. I lived real life drama hundreds of times in interview rooms, in the field investigating cases, and in courtrooms. I had a passion to write about my experiences, but for decades I lacked the proper motivation. Every book and every movie used to have a purpose, a “moral to the story.” I feel that we have lost that purpose with some of today’s entertainment. I am motivated to bring back the moral to the story. That is why I write. Maximilian’s Treasure is packed with hidden treasures for the reader to discover. I drew upon my actual experiences to bring life to Maximilian’s Treasure. I participated in many of the conversations, I dove the reefs, crossed the river, travelled the roads, climbed the cliffs, hung by my fingernails over the precipice, entered the cave behind the waterfall, just as described in the book. Ultimately, I found my Maximilian’s Treasure. If you persevere, you will too.
Is this your first book?
James: Maximilian’s Treasure is my second novel. The characters were introduced in my first novel, Vampire Defense. Both books are stand-alone novels. The legal team that handled the murder trial of a man who claimed the person he killed was a vampire steps immediately into their next great adventure involving arson, kidnapping, murder and a legendary treasure.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
James: I used a small press, Sartoris Literary Group. I took a course at Millsaps College on “How to Sell What You Write.” The class was taught by a publisher, James Dickerson, who presented a structured plan designed to increase the odds of 1) creating a sellable work, and 2) selling the work in an ultra-competitive market. I followed the plan. The publisher who taught the class offered to publish my first book! He later told me that Vampire Defense became his best-selling novel.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
James: I covered high school sports for the local daily newspaper when I was a teenager. I wanted to be an author, so I wrote a couple of short stories and sent them to magazines, but I only received rejections. I had a couple of professional works published, a law review in the 80’s and the Circuit Judges Bench Book, published in the 90’s. My wife and I write our yearly goals on New Year’s Eve. She pointed out that I had been talking about writing a legal thriller for years, and she urged me to put it on the list. With her encouragement, I finished the first novel that year. The next New Year’s Eve she urged me to put selling the book on our list of goals. We were able to get it published within the year. That was followed by a short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, published in Dog Stories for the Soul alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris, and others.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
James: There must be a million books published every year. You’ve got to find a way to make your book stand out. You pour tremendous effort into giving birth to your story, but just like raising a child, your work is not done when the book is finished. The real work is just beginning. You’ve got to sell your story and you must sell yourself to the publisher. The publisher wants assurance that you will invest as much time and effort as necessary to create interest in your work.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
James: No one way is best for everyone. I developed a relationship with my publisher. He is loyal to me and I am loyal to him. We want to succeed together. I can recommend that to anyone.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
James: You have stories in your mind that need to be told. Pick one that could be a best seller. Don’t be intimidated by a blank page or blank computer screen. Be intentional. Set aside time to write and follow through. Don’t quit. Finish the story and start the next one. Dream great dreams and do great deeds.
Genre: Romantic Adventure
Author: James D. Bell
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About the Book:
Rumors of a legendary treasure fuel a battle over possession of a Choctaw family farm. Two young lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley, agree to help the family keep their farm. Early legal success prompts the drive-by murder of the patriarch of the family. The grandson chases the suspects whose bodies are found on the farm, scalped. At the same time clues to a vast treasure are found on the farm. Jackson, pursued by fortune seekers, adventurers, an exotic beauty and a homicidal maniac, follows the clues from a Caribbean reef to the Chiapas jungle. John stays behind to defend the grandson and continue the fight for the farm. His efforts are complicated by arson, murder, race riots, and the realization that he lost his one true love. Though there is great distance between them, their adventures are intertwined as they rush toward a triple climax that could shake the world. Join the adventure and discover your Maximilian’s Treasure.
About the Author:
James D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America. He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure. His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Mardi Allen’s collection, Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others. The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne. They live near Jackson, Mississippi and have four children. Judge Bell returned to law practice but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments.
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