James Scott Bell is the award winning author of several novels of suspense and historical intrigue. His fiction has been compared by Booklist and the Los Angeles Times to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, two of his favorite authors.
A former trial lawyer, Jim has also been the fiction columnist for Writers Digest Magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University. His book on writing, Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. Jim grew up in Los Angeles. “It’s my home,” he says. The sunset over the ocean, silhouette of palm trees against burnt orange sky, the mountains, the Hollywood Bowl on a warm summer evening. I guess I’m one of the few people who lives here who admits liking it.”
After graduating from Taft High School, Bell went on to play basketball at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he pursued a degree in Film. But his love of writing shot to the forefront of his interests. While still in college, Bell’s writing got him a spot to study with Raymond Carver, one of America’s most honored writers. Bell also won an award for a screenplay he wrote in his senior year.
After graduation, Bell moved to New York to write for the theater. Almost immediately he was cast in a small role in an Off Broadway production of Othello, “and I began my actor phase.” That phase included stints in several Off Broadway productions and in television commercials.
While in New York Bell met his wife to be, an actress, and decided one thespian in the family was enough. He went to the University of Sothern California Law School, graduated with honors and won the American Board of Trial Advocates’ Award as the top student in Trial Practice. He was a litigator for a year with a large L.A. firm before opening up his own office.
One day he and his wife went to the movies. They saw “Moonstruck,” and Bell decided he wanted to be a writer again, and wouldn’t stop, even if he never sold anything. He started with screenplays. After a couple of years and some options, he turned to fiction, and hasn’t turned away since.