Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Romance Author, fitness instructor and Super Zumba teacher Michele Ashman Bell.

“It’s amazing the power we have inside of us if we don’t let our fears stand in our way!” Michele Bell

S.B. – Michele, tell us a little bit about yourself, your career and your family.

M.B. - I grew up in St. George, Utah. When I was a kid it was this small, dusty, tumbleweed sort of town, and now it’s amazing and beautiful (and crowded) and I’m so proud to be from there. I went to college at Dixie State College and Southern Utah University, then served an LDS mission to Frankfurt, Germany but ended my mission in San Jose, California. I married my college sweetheart (we served missions at the same time) and now live in the Salt Lake City area. We have 4 children, an amazing daughter-in-law and 2 adorable granddaughters. I’m a fitness instructor and thought when I turned 50 I would retire but I discovered Zumba and now I teach anywhere between 8 – 14 Zumba classes a week. My other hobby is collecting Steinbach nutcrackers and Doris Day movies.

S.B.- Okay, so I had to look up Zumba, because I actually have never heard of it! After watching this video, I want to do it!
(This is not Michele's class)

S.B. -So Michele, do you believe that we all have an intended purpose, destiny or mission to fulfill in life?

M.B. -I believe that we have all been given gifts and talents and will be held accountable for how we use them to bless the lives of others. I’m also positive that there are things in this life that we were meant to do and we need to live our lives so that we will receive guidance and direction to accomplish those things. I feel like if I put my family and faith first, and always fulfill my obligations there, everything else will work out the way it’s supposed to. I don’t really know if being an author was my “mission” but I always felt compelled to pursue it, even though it took me ten years of rejections before it happened. I get so much joy and fulfillment from being an author; I can’t imagine not having it in my life. When I receive a letter or email from someone who tells me my books have touched their life in some way I am reminded at how blessed I am to be a writer. How would my life be different? Well . . . I’d have a heck of a lot more time on my hands.

S.B.Tell us about your work, what have you done? What are you working on right now?

M.B. I have been so blessed in my writing career. Even though I’m categorized as a Romance Author, my books usually have a bigger issue driving the plot. I feel like Women’s Fiction is a better description of what I write. I love to write stories about women in difficult situations who fight their way through all the obstacles and emerge stronger. Having said that I am actually jumping genres and am working on a horror story and also a science fiction story. I’m excited and nervous.

S.B. How do you balance your home and family life and your work?

M.B. This is probably the biggest challenge I have in life. I always try and put my home and family first, but it gets tough with deadlines or when I am passionate about a project I am working on. I find though, that my days flow better and life goes more smoothly when I keep my priorities straight. I am a planner and a scheduler and first thing every morning I plan my day and then get to work.

S.B. What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose? How does the quote “Steadiness and toil will serve you better than brilliance” helped you?

M.B. If I’ve taught my children one thing, it is that quote. Each of my children has excelled in different areas (basketball, dance, pageants, etc…) and I have told them over and over that success comes from hard work and persistence, not talent. I have seen so many wonderfully talented people not learn the strong work ethic that comes from having to acquire a specific talent or skill. Having a desire and a passion for something is a starting point, hard work and persistence can turn it into an accomplishment (i.e., talent or skill). I wouldn’t be published today if it depended on my talent, that’s for sure. Also, teaching Zumba did not come naturally. I have no dance skill or training, especially in Latin dance, but I wanted to learn so badly that I worked my tail end off to learn it. It’s amazing the power we have inside of us if we don’t let our fears stand in our way! If someone is trying to find purpose in their life I would suggest several things:

1) Get outside of yourself and volunteer somewhere. Put your efforts in helping others and YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF!

2) Focus on developing a talent or skill. The joy that comes from accomplishing something difficult will give you great fulfillment as well as great self-worth!
Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! I feel passionate about this topic and I’m certain that we all have a special purpose to fulfill in this life, thanks for sharing yours.

S.B. Thanks Michele, that is very good advice. I agree with you whole-heatedly in that service and growing our talents are one of the most important factors in happiness. I admire you very much and I did want to mention that Michele's latest book "The Perfect Fit" is available to purchase. I just finished it myself, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was one of the best contemporary romantic stories I have read in a while!

Thanks Michele for stopping by!

Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! I feel passionate about this topic and I’m certain that we all have a special purpose to fulfill in this life, thanks for sharing yours.


  1. Great interview, Silvina! Michele is truly a gift from God--her compassion and love shine through everything she does. I love her!

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  2. Great interview. I agree with the difference between talent and persistence. So true!

  3. Enjoyed this interview and it was cool watching the Zumba

  4. I know...watching Zumba made me tired! I can't believe how much talent and work it would take to not only learn Zumba, but to teach it! Michele is truly an inspiring woman!

  5. Thanks for the follow, S.B.

    Nice ta meet ya!

  6. I have seen Michele do Zumba. Wow! she is a great instructor. I love Zunba but my doctor won't let me do it. I have problem with my feet and Zumba use the feet to much. (For now) Incredible interview. I meet Michele at a writing class she gave and love to know how talented she is.

  7. Great interview and insights. Thank you!

  8. Great interview, both of you! I've thought about getting into Zumba. I did some ballroom dancing in high school and college and loved the Latin dances. :)

  9. There's nothing like a good latin beat to get the heartrate going! If you like Sakira, you should listen to Los Pericos! Argentine Reagge...yep. Stacy, look up "Caliente" by Los Pericos and let me know.