Ask the Author! ‘Bell Mountain’ SAQ

Bell Mountain (Bell Mountain, 1) - Kindle edition by Duigon, Lee. Religion  & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @

Wait a minute–what does “SAQ” mean?

It means “Seldom Asked Questions.” I might even say “Never Asked Questions.” But that would miss the point.

I’m opening the door to any and all questions about my Bell Mountain books–how they got written, where my ideas come from: anything at all except “How long did it take you to write it?”

I thought it’d be kind of neat to ask a question of any author whose books I’ve enjoyed. Then it hit me: we have the Internet now, we have this blog. We can do that very thing.

Seriously–whatever you want to know about the world of Bell Mountain, its people, their stories, the weird animals, the total absence of robo-calls: just drop me a line and ask. Specifically, drop it here, on this page, where everybody can read it.

Come on now–when do you ever do this? You could never ask the writers of Perry Mason about the pizza delivery guy breaking down in the courtroom and admitting he was the murderer. But me you can ask.

Go ahead, ask me anything. We’ll have fun.

14 comments on “Ask the Author! ‘Bell Mountain’ SAQ

  1. I have a lot of questions I could ask, the series is just so great! But one I am really curious about is how you created the character of Ysbott. He is one of the most believable, yet intimidating villains I’ve read for a while. I’d be really interested in any tidbits you could tell me about his character. Thanks!

    1. I started with the premise that Lintum Forest is full of outlaws; and it became Helki the Rod’s job to clear them out. Soon I needed an outlaw who’d be a match for Helki.
      Ysbott was just a name, just another outlaw, at first; he had to grow into the role–which happened in small increments.
      His character took off when I imagined the actor, Wes Studi, playing him in a Bell Mountain movie. (Great actor, by the way–and he doesn’t always play villains.) Once that happened, Ysbott became real to me and pulled out ahead of all the other outlaws.
      So, you see, I needed an arch-outlaw as a perpetual challenge to Helki and Ysbott was the go-to guy. The plot drew him out of the background, onto center stage.
      The better and more detailed picture I had of his character, the more I found for him to do. I just let that happen naturally. When you need a job to be done, sometimes you invent a character to do it. And the longer he sticks around, the more he does and the better a picture you have of him.

      This has happened with very many of the characters in the series; and sometimes I wind up surprised by the new character’s development. See Lord Orth, Judge Zeriah, and quite a lot of others.

  2. Thanks for the response! The friendship between Jack and Ellayne is one of my favorite literary friendships. Could you tell me your inspiration for that and how you continue to deepen the relationship between the two throughout the series? Also, how did you determine where the two would have similar views, and where they would differ?

    1. At the start I reckoned my audience would like it better if I had a boy and a girl as protagonists. And the more I wrote about them, the better I came to know them. Meanwhile, I wanted contrast: poor boy and rich girl.

      As the story went on, Ellayne was revealed to me as more adventurous than Jack, who had a cautious streak. **I don’t do these things on purpose! They just sort of happen as the story unfolds.**

      Their contrasting take on the Abombalbap stories tells us more about their differing personalities. I’ve been able to use that as a shorthand.

      Much earlier in my writing career, I used to try to plan out *everything* before I started writing the story. Now I prefer to be surprised. Sometimes that means I have to wait for inspiration till it comes: but thanks be to the Lord, it always does.

    1. Actually, it was sort of their idea. One of the editors said, “Let’s try publishing some fiction–if we had some.” And Susan said, “Well, we do have a novelist already here,” meaning me. I jumped at the chance to write another novel–it had been almost 20 years since my last horror novel was published.

      And almost immediately came the dream I had about Jack and the mountain. And that was the start of the whole Bell Mountain series.

    1. I can only say I get my inspiration from the Lord. But I can tell you how it works.
      First, each book ends with loose ends that have to be addressed in the next book. I do that sort of on purpose.
      Second, as the plot moves along, it calls for characters to do certain things; and sometimes new characters are needed for that. This is the coolest part of writing these books–because sometimes a character walks on for, as it were, a cup of coffee–and then stays in the story and does things I never expected back when that character first appeared. See Lord Orth, just to name one of many.
      Third, from the Bible, from vivid dreams, from my memories, from history, from other novels, and from my daily experience, all sorts of details rise up to be worked into the plot.

      As for the inspiration itself, well, mostly I just wait for God to give it to me.

      My question for you: which is your favorite book in the series, so far? And your favorite character?

  3. When did you first thought about the Bell Mountain universe, was it for some time and then you got to put it down on paper or it came to you instantly and you wrote it down right away

    1. Y’know what? The whole thing started with a dream about a boy and a mountain, with music coming from the mountain. At around the same time, Chalcedon’s editors asked me if I could write a novel. Well, yeah, sure! And it was off to the races.

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