Author Interview – Beryl Singleton Bissell

My book club enjoyed The Scent of God immensely but we did have a few questions about the up-and-coming author, Beryl Singleton Bissell, and she was kind enough to offer the following answers.

DR: What vestiges of your past with your husband Vittorio influence you the most today?

BSB: Because Vittorio loved me, I learned to trust human love. His courage taught me that life is to be lived and death to be embraced courageously. He took me to Italy where I became a lover of travel and learned that eating good food would not make me fat. Vittorio’s love made me beautiful and gave me two beautiful children who in turn gifted me with precious grandchildren.

DR: How did you meet your current husband?

BSB: I met Bill through a friend. Ellen told me that she had a wonderful boss who would be perfect for me — but he lived in Texas. And, she told Bill about me. When Bill needed a date for a benefit dinner dance being held in Minneapolis, he contacted Ellen and said, “remember that woman you told me about, do you think she’d like to go dancing with me?” I did and he moved from Dallas Texas to Minneapolis Minnesota the next month. We married three years later — and have been “happily ever after” for the past ten years. Though these years have been frought with pain, the greatest of which was the death of my daughter Francesca whom Bill loved as his own, suffering has forged our love into one of incredible understanding, tenderness, and compassion.

DR: From Beryl to Beatrice to Singleton Bissell, can you explain the various transitions of your name?

BSB: Meet Pamela! That’s what my mother planned to name me. It so happened that when my mother saw me after delivery, I looked so like her niece Beryl when she was born that she cried out “oh you little Beryl.” The next time the nurse brought me to my mother she said,”Here’s your little Beryl,” and so I remained until I entered the Monastery where I was given a new name, Sister Mary Beatrix (to symbolize my death to the old life and birth to a new life as a “bride of Christ.” )When Vittorio and I married, I became Beryl Bosca. I hope you don’t mind if I save the balance of the story for my next book. (Beryl winks!)

DR: How did you choose Lake Superior as the place to settle down and write?

BSB: We are here because we are crazy! Actually, the bones of the book began to take shape at a writing retreat on the North Shore where I wrote more in two weeks than I had in the two previous years. We moved here because we fell in love with the view! And, because Bill knew I’d never write if I kept working at Milkweed Editions (being surrounded by so much good writing made me wonder what I had to say that was worth reading) and that this is the perfect place for a writer who might not write otherwise.

DR: When can we look forward to seeing your next book in bookstores?

BSB: I am working hard on that book right now and it is finally falling into shape. I hope to finish it before the end of the year. If can take two years from that date until publication. Counterpoint put The Scent of God on a fast track and published it as their lead title for Spring 2006 and though I’d love to see that happen again, there’s no guarantee it will.

Many thanks to Beryl for her forthright and entertaining answers. I know more than just a few of us who are anxiously awaiting Beryl’s next book.


The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a “Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors.” Her book The Scent of God  was a “Notable” Book Sense selection for April 2006 and has been nominated by booksellers for a Midwest Booksellers Book Award.


3 thoughts on “Author Interview – Beryl Singleton Bissell

  1. What a nice surprise Diana. Thanks for posting this.

    Posted by Beryl Singleton Bissell | 29 June, 2008, 4:09 pm
  2. Diana, I enjoyed this interview very much. I loved The Scent of God and look forward to more from Beryl Singleton Bissell.

    Posted by Maura Alia Badji | 1 July, 2008, 11:41 pm


  1. Pingback: Author Beryl Singleton Bissell « The Raabe Review - 28 June, 2008

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