** The badge above is attached to a link...or a link is attached to the badge...regardless, go click it. No really, go click. It leads somewhere very good indeed!
Okay, onto the good stuff...
I'm delighted to join in the blog tour for Isobel Irons, author of WAKE FOR ME, a new adult book dealing with the issues of love, connection and how people can overcome the most trying circumstances.
As you might have already guessed, Isobel Irons is a pen name.
In real life, I am (among many things) an indie film director and TV producer with a deep–some might even say obsessive–appreciation for onscreen storytelling and a lifelong book habit that I just can’t seem to kick.
In film, there’s nothing I like better than a JJ Abrams “show, not tell” character reveal, or a Joss Whedon banter session. Or an Erik Kripke-level “bromance.” And of course, I’m a die-hard fan of the will they / won’t they trope, where the fans start shipping two characters agonizingly long before they share their first kiss. Or in Hart Hanson’s case, like three frigging years before. (That’s right, Hart. I’m talking to you, you incorrigible tease.)
In my novels, I use my visual storytelling skills to show the reader an entire menagerie of hidden worlds. When it comes to imagination, there is no production value and no budget. But if there was, I would spend it all and then some. To me, my characters are real people, who just happen to live in my mind. Before I write, I scout locations to set the scene, I hold exhaustive casting sessions to find the perfect quirks that will ignite the maximum amount of conflict. Then, I throw in some tricky, but believable situations that allow my characters to expose themselves–sometimes in a figurative, emotional sense, other times quite literally. Rawr.
Finally, I sit back and let the story unfold. If it sucks, I cut it. I tell my characters–sternly, but calmly–to reset and do it again, but this time give me MORE. Show me MORE. Make me laugh or cry or want to hit something MORE. And then, when I realize I’ve read through the entire thing in one sitting and–Holy shit, is it really that late, and Oh my God I am SO hungry! Have I even eaten today? That’s when I know it’s ready to be unleashed into the world.
Vivid characters. Vibrant settings. Relatable problems. Together, these elements combine to form the Ultimate Literary Crack. Or, as I like to call it, “Promoting Literacy through Shameless Addiction.”
Join me in Shameless Lit & Film Addiction here:
I had the pleasure of interviewing Isobel. We did a "Why" interview, where each question had to be formed in the manner of a "why?".
Why did I do this? Because I'm nosy. No, wait, that's not right. Because I want to know why Isobel writes kick ass books. That's why. Okay...now look down...
1) Why did you become a writer?
Most kids want to grow up and be something awesome. Astronauts, secret agents, paleontologists... I, on the other hand, wanted to be a criminal psychologist. Why, you ask? Because that's what Nicole Kidman was on Batman Forever. In college, I had the most difficult time choosing a major, flitting between such emphases as film, journalism, photography, dance, and vocal performance before finally my university contacted me and told me it was time to get out. So I did what any undergraduate with a deep fear of leaving the insulated world of a college campus (and repaying the equivalent of a small nation's GDP in student loans) would do: I applied to law school. Fortunately, I discovered writing before I went the way of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Because I guarantee you that would not have ended well, for me or the law school professors who might have been forced to read my alarming treatises on criminal empathy, using examples of super villains from my favorite comic books. In short (too late, sorry): for me, the best thing about being a writer and filmmaker is, I can be all of those things I wanted to be as a kid, as a teenager, as an adult...but vicariously. And without the burden of excessive debt.
2) Why do you write in the NA genre?
I'm glad you asked this, because I think with each passing day the category is becoming more and more pigeon-holed, and I personally think that is a total bummer. For me, NA is like the Wild West circa the early 1900's. Whereas all the other existing categories seem to have all these rules of "should" and "should not," NA is still being defined. As someone who has been a die-hard rule breaker since the day I took my first step, I love the thought of being one of the lucky few to jump in and really make a dent. You know? Like carving your name into freshly poured cement. "Isobel Irons was here. And she was a total badass."
3) Why do you think romantic suspense is a genre that's still going strong after such a long time?
I will answer your question with a question: Why do they keep making action movies starring Bruce Willis? Some things will just always be awesome, no matter how long they're around. For me, there's something about watching relationships bloom even under the most dire circumstances...it's like turning up the volume on everything--emotions, humor, fear, sexual tension. It's delicious! That's why, when people ask me to describe romantic suspense, I just shrug and say, "Accidentally falling in love while someone or something is trying to kill you." It's the consummate embodiment of "serendipity." (Which, if you didn't read the "What" interview yet on Dannie Morin's site, means finding something amazing while you're busy looking for something else.) Or, in the words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."
4) Why did you choose to write about a character who is trapped in her own body?
I've always been fascinated by dreams, and if given the choice between sleeping and doing almost anything else, I'll choose sleep. So the thought of writing a character who is trapped in a constant dream state, (*spoiler alert* that's only for part of the book) intrigued me on a number of levels. Then, when I started researching dream symbolism and finding out about all the crazy things our brain is trying to tell us while we're dreaming, I realized that there was so much more to it than just being able to write these really trippy scenes. And, of course, there's that whole "forbidden romance" angle, since obviously Viola and Sam can't really be together when she's unconscious.
5) Why did you contrast this with Sam, an intern whose life is filled to the brim with so much activity and drama that his situation is the polar opposite of Viola's?
I think you kind of hit that nail on the head with the question. Tension, suspense, attraction...it's all about the contrast. However, I think you'll be surprised to find that in the beginning, their roles are actually reversed. I don't want to give too much away, but one of the predominant comments from my beta readers was that they loved how Sam seemed to be the one who was "asleep" in a lot of ways, until Viola came into his life. I do want to make sure that people understand this, though: even when she's in a coma, Viola's life is FAR from boring. This isn't your typical coma love story, guys.
6) Why do you think readers will fall in love with Sam and Viola's story?
I think (I mean, I hope) that readers will appreciate the fact that WAKE FOR ME is weighted on a number of psychological and emotional levels. If you want to read it purely for its entertainment value, you can. If you're like me, and you're the kind of person who tries to discover all these hidden connections and double-meanings in everything you read, well...let's just say that you'll have plenty to keep you busy. Also, I really wanted WAKE FOR ME to be the kind of story you could go back and read again, months or even years later, and pick up something new each time. Whether it's a joke or a comment you didn't get, or a part of a dream that suddenly makes a whole new kind of sense--something you wouldn't have noticed unless you were actually looking for it.
7) Why did you choose to have two characters fall in love, despite the fact they lacked the normal human interaction usually needed for this to happen?
Because I am nothing if not a rebel. Nothing against tried-and-true romance tropes, but to be honest I'd gotten a little sick of reading about people who fall instantly and hard for some random just because he/she has a sexy accent or because they meet under super awkward--yet somehow also sexy--circumstances. I wanted WAKE FOR ME to be one of those books where the reader was white-knuckling the pages going, "Argh! Just kiss already, damn you!" Because to me, it's that much more satisfying when you have to wait and pine a little bit first. Also, I wanted the readers to doubt whether or not the romance was real, or imagined. Whether it was one-sided, or reciprocal. Exactly the way we all do, in real life, when we meet someone and we're SUPER into them, but we don't want them to know we've been stalking their Facebook for months and have already memorized their birthday and the names of all their pets, so instead we're like "Oh, you again. S'up? No big deal, just call me whenever." Right?
8) Why do you choose to follow certain lines of inspiration when writing? Why one idea and not another?
That's an excellent question. The short answer is, I have no idea. Sometimes an idea just grabs me and it's like a crack habit. (I assume, having not ever personally had an actual crack habit.) Other times, an idea will occur to me, but it's not ripe yet, so I'll kick it back in with all the other ideas to stew for a while longer until it begins to take on a more recognizable form.
9) Why do you think readers will want to pick up your book?
Also a good question. I think different people choose to read different books for different reasons. Maybe some people will see the cover I designed and be like "Hey, that looks neat!" while others will read the blurb and think it sounds like an intriguing story. Haha, sorry if I don't have a more scientific sounding answer. But when I think about the way I buy books, it's basically something along those lines. Then again, I suppose I'd be lying if I didn't say I hoped more people would read WAKE FOR ME after reading this totally kick-ass interview.
10) Why this story? Why did it demand to be written?
Again I say: "literary crack habit." I wrote WAKE FOR ME faster and furious-er than any other novel I've attempted--which, granted, is only about three at this point. It started as an idea so ridiculous--I mean, come on! A romance where the main character spends the first ____ pages in a coma! Fugghetaboutit!--that a part of me just kept daring myself to keep writing, to see if I could make it work. Whether or not I did make it work...well, I guess that's currently the topic up for debate, isn't it?
Thank you, Isobel, for a fabulous, spunky interview. Now readers...go, flock, buy! This is one worth grabbing!
Oh - and comment. Wish Isobel well. Tell her the book she wrote sounds awesome. Because it is. :-)