Author Isabella May Answers all our Questions
- What’s your latest book called?
Costa Del Churros
- First of all – Can you give us the ‘elevator pitch’ version of your latest book.
The Costa del Sol’s most unlikely group of friends needs more than the sweetness of churros con chocolate to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs. Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the coast’s flamboyant dance teacher! But can flamenco flash mob really be the answer to their prayers?
- Tell us something about yourself that we likely don’t know! The more obscure the better!
I turned down two interviews to appear on The Apprentice, and thank God, as one of those was for the same series as Katie Hopkins. The TV production company called me up to try to persuade me and everything. I shudder when I think of the edited scenes they must have had lined up!
- Do you write in silence, or with music? If you write to music, give us the top three songs on your writers’ playlist this week.
I need silence unless I’m in a café – funny that. That said, I’ve been playing a lot of Sia around the house this week and it’s really helping me to formulate new ideas.
- Are you a Plotter or Pantser?
An absolute pantser. I was told by a writing teacher that this would change by the third book, but nope.
- Have your characters ever ‘gone off script’ – hijacked your story and taken it in a direction you didn’t expect?
Always – and I think that’s the beauty of letting The Muse take you where it wants you to go. It knows all the shortcuts and saves a lot of banging my head against my desk. When I write I surrender to the point that I feel as if I am channelling, I suspect that’s because I am; we all are. Some days, I really have no idea where the words come from…
- If you could spend time with any character from any of your books, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d love to sip (read: neck) cocktails with River Jackson at his Glastonbury bar. He’s the ultimate pin-up when it comes to spontaneity so I think he’d be full of good advice, and unconventional but delicious cocktails.
- Which of your characters can you say you would least get along with in real life?
Daniel from Oh! What a Pavlova. ‘Nuff said.
- Do you read your reviews?
I’ve stopped reading the Good Reads ones but alas, I’m not a big enough author to bypass the Amazon ones yet!
- What has been the toughest criticism you have been given since becoming a published author?
I recently received a scathing one-star review (on the aforementioned Amazon!) informing me that my debut, Oh! What a Pavlova was incredibly dangerous for the ideas it put in women’s heads… So, that one left me speechless.
- What is the best compliment you have received?
That my writing has matured (laughs!).
- Do you have a day job when you are not writing? If so, what do you do?
I’m also a pranic healing therapist.
- Can you name three authors who have inspired your writing?
Joanne Harris, Julie Caplin and Julian Fellowes. All the J’s.
- What was your favourite book as a child?
I loved the Mallory Towers series by Enid Blyton. I was bullied at high school and came across these books during my first year there, so they were sheer escapism and I wished my parents would pack me off to boarding school for midnight feasts.
- What scene in your latest book was the hardest scene to write (without giving away too many spoilers!)
In book four, which I am currently subbing to publishers and agents (this novel is off on a brand new journey), there were a series of past life regressions to Georgian Bath and Aragonese Sicily. I had to do a fair bit of research to make them – hopefully – sound authentic.
- Do you have any other author friends? If so, can you name a few and have any of them given you a piece of advice you would consider invaluable on your publishing journey?
N.J. Simmonds has been a big support and constantly reminds me it’s ‘a marathon, not a sprint’. Her debut, The Path Keeper is fantastic, and the trilogy re-launches next May. I challenge anyone who thinks that YA isn’t their cuppa, not to get swept up in those stories.
And I have too many fellow CATS (books 1-3 are published with Crooked Cat!) to mention, but here are a few:
Lizzie Chantree for romcom with kick-ass female protagonists who break the mold. Ninja School Mum and If You Love Me I’m Yours feature spies, artists and quirky business backdrops. Lizzie is a force to be reckoned with on social media, as well as a Shell Livewire judge for entrepreneurs. She also hosts #CreativeBizHour every Monday night between 8pm-9pm on Twitter. That gig is well worth tuning into as the most supportive tweeter receives a week of re-tweets… and Lizzie’s following is big!
Heidi Catherine, my Australian author friend is another great inspiration. She writes like a dream, has published an award-winning fantasy romance trilogy with CC this year – the first title in the series having won Australia’s Emerald Pro Award, which was judged by Cate Blanchett. Heidi encourages me to write with my heart, not my head. Just reading any of her three titles; The Soul Weaver, The Truth Seeker and The Shadow Maker, will help any writer keen to inject a little magical realism into their stories.
And I’ll stop there, otherwise I’ll end up writing an essay!
For Bonus Brownie Reader Points – Answer our five fabulous frivolous questions:
- What is your biggest fear?
Crickets and wide open spaces.
- If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?
To remember that our vibration attracts everything into our lives – good and bad – at all times!
We are all made of stars. Not just the chosen few.
- If you could write one line to be etched into your tombstone, what would it read?
She did like her cake.
- If you could give your younger self ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
We are all made of stars. Not just the chosen few.
- Finally – Who are your latest Cover Crushes?
Megan Mayfair’s Tangled Vines cover is pretty gorgeous. I’d also love to say I’m swooning over Joanne Harris’s The Strawberry Thief… but the much-anticipated cover for ‘Chocolat Numero Trois’ hasn’t been released yet, so I’ll choose another of her brand new books; The Blue Salt Road.
You can purchase Isabella’s latest book: Costa del Churros here on Amazon.