Isabella May is incredible. Don’t believe me? Check out this blurb about her upcoming book Oh! What a Pavlova:
Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.
Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.
Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.
And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…
But will she escape before it’s too late?
Wow! That sounds intense and is already downloaded to my Kindle. I absolutely love the name too 🙂
Isabella and I sat down for a little fun Q&A. Here’s a snippet of our conversation:
1. What was the first book that made you cry?
Isabella: Watership Down. I had two pet rabbits – Candy and Floss – at the time, and even now I can’t think about the story for too long before tears begin to prick at my eyes… seriously.
2: What is your writing Kryptonite?
Isabella: Coffee – just the one, but coffee!
3. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Isabella: Jot everything down! I only seriously started to brainstorm book ideas ten years ago. Think how many great ideas we lose simply because we didn’t have the self-belief to record them!
4. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Isabella: I have much more of the above word nowadays: self-belief. I also write faster (not in a ‘churning them out’ kind of way… I hope), I think we learn how not to write a book through writing and re-writing our first book. I was stunned to have written my second novel in a matter of months, but the words flowed, the inspiration never lost its momentum and I just went with that, trusting it would turn into something that equated a novel.
5. How do you select the names of your characters?
Isabella: I try to bear in mind the age and the era of both the characters and setting. That’s important credibility-wise. I also try not to have characters appearing in the same scenes with names starting with the same letter… or names that rhyme… It may sound a little pedantic, but, as a reader these are the first things I pick up on in novels and they do have a tendency to bug throughout the book and even confuse. If you have a James and a Jack in the same chapter – along with a Sara and a Savanna – it can become tricky to remember who is in a relationship with who!
6. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Isabella: I’ve gone from around seven years for ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’, to nine months for my second novel, The Cocktail Bar. I guess I will know the real answer to that when I have written book three.
7. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
Isabella: I had a burning desire to dispel the myth that a violent relationship is violent all the time: it’s not always the case. I also wanted to create a story which showed that the victim of domestic violence often lives two (or even three or more) very different lives. Behind closed doors is one thing, but often the Shiny Happy side of that very same person in the work place/with friends or family/in the public eye can be 180 degrees different. This separate life is very often their coping mechanism. In Kate Clothier’s case (she’s the protagonist in my novel), her outer life involves much comedy, cake and travel. Yes, it’s a huge contrast but without that distraction to keep her somewhat level-headed, she’d probably be dead.
8. Do you have any more books coming out in the next year?
Isabella: Not this year… however on February 13th 2018, The Cocktail Bar will be published. I am super excited about this one, having written it in a much shorter period of time. It’s another foodie/drinkie, comedic, spiritual, travel-based read packed full of jump-off-the-page characters. Once more, it’s set in the mystical town of Glastonbury, UK, but the main character, River Jackson (ex rocker of the indie band, Avalonia), travels to Tequila, Mexico and Prague too. There’s a love triangle, the Mean Girl from hell, loads of exotic cocktails, a magical Mexican elixir that goes AWOL, a fall out between two sisters over the artist, Sting… and a whole heap of ‘miracles’.
9. If you could spend the day with one author (living or dead), who would it be and why?
Isabella: Just one? I am going to say Paulo Coehlo then. And I would eke out every ounce of spiritual wisdom from him (as well as his secrets to being so flippin’ successful as a writer).
10. What genre do you enjoy reading?
Isabella: Lots! My own writing crosses genres and so my reading trends follow suit. At the moment I am reading a cosy crime mystery novel – which is very unusual for me as I hardly ever dip into this genre – but I am actually really enjoying it! I love contemporary fiction, literary fiction, good romcom and chicklit now and then too… but just because it’s a lighter read, it does need to be really well written and unpredictable. I also love tales with a spiritual thread and uplifting non-fiction. I’m a huge Hay House fan. And I love nothing better than to curl up with one of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks, which is like a novel in itself!
11. What genre do you write and why?
Isabella: The easiest way to give my genre a label is to call it contemporary fiction. In reality my current novel straddles contemporary, domestic noir, comedy, a hint of chicklit and even, at times, a hint of the literary. ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ could also be classed as a Mind Body Spirit read too… or travel fiction. I’m one of those irksome authors who just loves to break the rules…
12. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Isabella: The endless hours of creativity stretching before me with a coffee in hand!
13. Is writing your full time job or do you moonlight?
Isabella: Writing is my full-time (part-time) job. I am lucky in many respects to be able to say that. However, my kids go to Spanish school which not only finishes at 2pm each day… but they also have a whopping 11 week vacation in the summer. And then of course, when you consider the amount of marketing all authors have to do to be half successful nowadays, I don’t think any of us have the luxury of calling writing a full-time job any longer.
14. If you suddenly became famous overnight because of your books, what is the first thing you would do?
Isabella: Shake up the publishing industry by organising a great strike until all writers are paid/paid properly, and recognised entirely for their craft! Publishers (and here, of course, I am not talking about mine!) offering laughable royalty fees would be a thing of the past. This would also have the fantastic ripple effect of *hopefully* sending many a ‘celeb’ author on a much-needed writing course/into early writing retirement, because their ghostwriter ‘counterparts’ would be taking much more of their hard-earned glory on the front cover of their work, leading to more room on the shelves for the rest of us.
Amazing chat! Thanks for coming, Isabella. Want more from this special lady? Here’s how to get in touch.
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.
As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).
She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!
Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel… and her second novel has already been submitted to her publishers: watch this space…
You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:
Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/
Instagram – @isabella_may_author