My lovely guest today on One More Page is bestselling author Carmel Harrington. Welcome Carmel!
November is known for many things, but one thing that is near and dear to many people’s hearts is the fact that November is Adoption Awareness Month. In her newest book Every Time a Bell Rings, Carmel Harrington explores many different types of love and hardship, and many of them involve the foster care system, which most of the main characters are a part of in one way or another. So as Adoption Awareness Month wraps up, let’s take a moment to hear from Carmel about what it meant to her to explore such a special kind of love and family.
I’ve always been interested in different family dynamics. I’ve learned that they come in different shapes and sizes, and isn’t that wonderful? Children may be biological or adopted or fostered. Some have a house full of siblings, others none. And more often than not now half siblings or step-siblings can be in the fray, as is the case in my own house.
I have a step-daughter whom I adore and love like my own, so I understand that you do not need to be a blood relative to love someone. I love exploring these different types of families in all my books and the subject of foster care is one of the central themes in Every Time a Bell Rings.
Belle Bailey is a foster child herself, taken from her mother for her own safety at four years old. Her life in foster care is quite chequered at first, as she struggles to find the right forever family. But when veteran foster caregiver Tess comes into her life, she finally begins to understand what it’s like to be loved and to love.
Belle meets Jim Looney whilst in Tess’s care. Unlike Belle, he is a temporary placement and eventually he returns to his mother. But during their time together in Tess’s, they form an unbreakable bond.
Belle goes on to become a foster parent herself, and that journey from child in care to caregiver herself was a joy to write. During my research, I had the pleasure of interviewing several foster children and caregivers. I learned that placing the right child with the right family can change lives. I also learned that these caregivers who take children into their homes and their hearts are walking angels. I am in awe of them and salute every single one.
Every Time a Bell Rings has many moments that are romantic, festive, magical, happy and heartwarming. But life can be dark and cruel at times, and I had to explore these aspects in my story too. Writing the scenes that revolve around Belle as a young child with her mother, Dolores, were incredibly difficult. They have the power to still make me weep, as I ponder a world where children are mistreated.
But then I think of all the real life Tess, Belle and Jim’s of this world, the walking angels and I smile. Because I know that right now, there are selfless people who are changing the lives of children all over the world. Isn’t that pretty amazing?
Wishing every single one of you the most wonderful Christmas.
Every Time a Bell Rings is out now in paperback and ebook formats.
Find out more about Carmel and her writing at: http://carmelharrington.com/