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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Q & A With Author Camilla Isley



Hi, Camilla, thanks for joining me today! What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?

My main ambition is to write books that people will love. You know those books that when the last page arrives you’re sad the story’s over and you miss the characters a bit already. Books that you can’t put down because you have to know what happens. In short, I would love to write the kind of novels that have readers read past their bed times.

In an ideal career world… I would love to hit the bestseller list maybe just that once.

What’s your guilty pleasure TV show?

Ha! I have so many. From The Vampire Diaries to The Bachelor to Project Runway to Master Chef. I can never pass up a rerun of Beverly Hills 90210, Sex and the City, or Friends. Oh, and I've watched The Bold and the Beautiful since the eighties—this one is my dad’s fault for getting me addicted. 

Oh, the Bachelor and Project Runway are on my list too! Do you believe in fate or love at first sight?

Uh, considering that the first time I saw my husband we sort of disliked each other…I have to say no. I'm a big fan of love/hate relationships, though.

Sounds like there's a good story in there. Which writers inspire you?

I love romantic writers who can push the humor almost as much as the romance. Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk… and many others.

I'm a big Meg Cabot fan too. Give us an insight into how you create your main characters.

I’m more story driven rather than character driven. My stories shape my characters and not the other way around. I don’t do personality sheets or stuff like that.

What are you working on right now?

I have this idea for a Sliding Doors type of novel. I hope it will be new and exciting. I will develop two story lines, seeing what happens when one of the characters catches or misses a plane. I’m just two chapters in (the first one of each story line) so the final plot is still a total work in progress.

That sounds interesting! What draws you to writing romance books?

As simple as the fact that I enjoyed reading them in the first place. Especially the humorous one. I’m not one for romances with loss, traumas, and other sad things of life. There are too many already in the real world; I strive to write books that will leave the reader with a dreamy smile.

Is that also your favorite genre to read?

One of my favorites. I also enjoy classics (Dumas, Austen, Twain and many others), historical fiction on the adventurous side with a soft spot for the middle ages, and a bit of fantasy/paranormal.

Why do you write?

I have all these stories buzzing inside my head; if I don’t pour them out they get offended and misbehave, depriving me of sleep. 

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to publish their own book?

Before you start worrying about how or when to publish, write the book first. Don’t obsess over word count, tell the story you have to tell in how many words you need/don’t need. When you edit cut everything that could bore your reader. I know, it’s painful to say bye to those words, but if you can synthesize, do it! 

When your book is nice and ready. If you’re patient, try querying different agents. If you’re like me go ahead and self-publish it. But keep your expectations in check. It’s hard to get noticed and you must be ready to do all your marketing yourself.

That's some really great advice! What is the easiest thing about writing?

Honestly, for me, it’s the editing. Many disagree, but I feel more pressure when I don’t know where the story is going. I usually start writing knowing the beginning and roughly the end, but those middle twist and turns can be hard to achieve. When I’m editing, it means I already have a story I love. It just needs to be polished.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Keep every page meaningful. When I think that every chapter, every page I write has to keep the reader engaged, it can be overwhelming. And it involves plenty of second-guessing on my part.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Historical fiction adventure The Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith and romantic Summer by the Sea by Jenny Hale

What is your favorite quote?

I don’t have one. Before the age of e-readers I used to copy down bits of books, and who knows where those snippets went. Now I highlight, but there are too many to choose from. But I can open my e-reader and tell you the last thing I highlighted:

“Pett categorized the African as a potential impediment, to be considered and accounted for should the captain ever need killing.”

From The Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith… it’s probably not the next great literary quote, but it had a noir sense of humor I enjoy when I read.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Thank you for hosting me and thanks to all the bloggers out there too. One of the best parts of publishing my books has been being welcomed in your community. I have only found people willing to help me without getting anything (except for a free book maybe) in return. The amount of support and kindness I’ve received it’s been overwhelming. So a huge, huge thank you.

You're welcome! How can readers discover more about you and you work?

My website and social media would be the best options. To keep up-to-date with all my latest news, my newsletter sign up link is here. Or if they have any specific questions/curiosities in mind, my email address is camilla.isley@gmail.comI always reply to messages on Facebook, Twitter, or Email.

Twitter: @camillaisley


Check out my review of Camilla's book, A Sudden Crush!


Amber Gregg