Aspiring novelist writes stories special to Columbus

Published: Oct. 26, 2014 at 10:21 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus native and aspiring author will soon be releasing her first novel based on untold stories unique to local residents and their neighborhoods.

Mari Bell, 47, was born and raised in Columbus and collects stories that were passed down from her grandmother as well as the residents of the city.

"It will bring a wealth of entertainment to the readers," Bell said. "Readers will find humor, religion, songs, family drama and even murder in the book. These are stories that have been passed down to me from my mother and other elders."

Bell's book, The Quarters is about two quirky sisters who move to Columbus, GA from Preston, GA to start a new life after unfortunate events continue to one of the sisters.

"My grandmother and aunt also moved to Columbus in the 1930's from Preston," Bell said. "My grandma passed away about eight years ago, and my mother is still in Columbus. I know my grandma would be so proud of me. There were many stories and incidents that were entertaining yet also shocking. When I learned about them, I knew I had to write about them. I just didn't know I would do it much later in my life."

Bell explained she started on the book about 13 years ago when she lived in Buffalo, NY. However, it wasn't until last summer she started typing away and found determination to complete the book in her Grandmother and mother's honor.

"These are stories that actually happened in a Columbus community called Bell Quarters, so that's why my book is called "The Quarters," Bell explained. "I took those stories and added a few things to make it into a fiction novel. Now Pacelli is where Bell Quarters used to be. It used to be a dirt road community and there were what people called shot gun houses that lined on both sides of the street. Of course, the story also talks about characters dealing with a segregation issues, but I wanted to portray a strong black community since that's what I viewed the neighborhood as a child."

Bell said readers will find rich history, old landmarks and situations that all families could relate to.

"I call it the thread of crazy that runs through every family, so you'll be entertained," Bell said.

Bell started a fundraising campaign to collect about $10,000 to publish her book. She needs to collect the fund by November 12, 2014 but she has only collected about $3,000 so far.

"My book will be published one way or another," Bell said. "If I can't meet the goal by November 12th then I will just have to market my book again and find ways to make it known. I want this book published so my child will have a copy and I hope our kids in Columbus will have it as well. I hope our future generation will read my book and realize Columbus is more than just a small city."

Bell now lives in Duluth, GA near Atlanta, but she calls Columbus her home and visits often.

"I always say Columbus is the place to raise your child and start your family," Bell said. "I grew up here. I went to Columbus High School, this city is very family-oriented, church life is amazing and it's a comfortable place to be. I want the world to know more about this city through stories that were passed on to me by other Columbus residents."

If you wish to donate to help Bell collect the fund she needs to publish her book or to learn more about her work, visit her website for more information.

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