Friday, September 25, 2009

Today's Guest is Author Isabel Roman

Today we are proud to feature Isabel Roman here at Mistress Bella Interviews.  Welcome, Isabel.  Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us your latest news?

 I have a new book out, Kiss of Scandal, from Ravenous romance.  I love the story because of the unusual setting - Russia dulring the Crimean War.  Most people have only heard of that war from the Charge of the Light Brigade, a disaster of a British military charge set in a poem and brought to life lby Errol flynn.  Ok, this doesn't exactly take place on the front lines, but in the Winter Palace, with court intrigue galore.

When and why did you begin writing?

Hmm, seriously?  About 4 years ago.  When I discuvered that I had no idea how to write by the rules, that there were rules, and that in order to be taken seriously, I needed to figure out what they were and what to do about them.

What books have influenced your life most?

Influenced as in Best Book Ever? or Influence as in Oh, man, I so need to reference that? For Best Book Ever, I think it was Guide to Fiction Writing by Phyllis A. Whitney.  Got it as a Christmas present one year, devoured it by night's end, and realized that I wasn't crazy, that the stories in my head were stories, and hey, maybe I should give this writing thing a try.  Now it's chris Roerden's Don't Sabotage Your submission: Save your Manuscript from Turning Up D.O.A. I met her, and she's a smart funny lady with lots of experience who isn't afraid to share it with aspiring writers.

On the other hand, I read so much that' it's hard to really say what the Best Book Ever is.  Lady Chatterly's Lover is an awesome one for its detail of post WWI England and its taboo plot.

Agatha Christie - there's something about the way she took a plot you think you know and twisted it.  I love every one of her books, but when I started reading her she'd already died, so I stopped.  I  didn't want to not have any more of her writing. does that make sense?

Things you read in high school are way more appreciated as an adult than my teenage self could ever understand. Though I STILL don't like Charles Dickens. that man was just plain depressing.

What are your current projects?

I'm always working on something.  I once made the nmistake of taking time off and couldn't couldn't get back into the groove.  No discipline, no real interest, nothing.  I had to force myself to buckle down and get to getting.  It wasn't pretty.  So now i try to always have at least 2 projects active.  Just in case I run hard into a writer's block wall, I want to have the option of changing directions.

So, currently, I'm wokring on a series of (at the oment) 4 short stories for The Wild Rose Press for their Vintage Rose Line set in 1918-1920 about a detective agency.  specifically it's about the couple, but it centers on the woman who wants to be a detective during the first free love movement in the 20th century.  The 1960s had nothing on the 1920s!

Envision it as a sexy Thin Man series - smoking, alcohol, muder, and a pair of main characters with the hots for each other.  I'm really excited about it.  So far plotting it has been a lot of fun, I adore the characters and can't wait to start writing the first book.

I'm also working on another historical for Ravenous, a Regency-set treasure hunt.  That has gone thorugh two major plots, and I'm still having issues with the actual treasure hunt of the plot.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes! Naming characters and titling books. :) Beyond that, sometimes I have a great plot (or think it's a great plot) and I plan it out, I name the characters, I have it all set.  And can't write it! I don't understand why or how, but it doesn't gel.  Doesn't work.  Can't get past page 3.  It's depressing.  Usually, I can work through it, but I often have to change gears.

A plot doesn't always work no matter how I might want it to.  It may sound reall cool, may even work logistically, but if the characters don't like it, forget it.  It's not going to happen.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I'm not sure I have one.  I love to read, I love a wide variety of genres, so iti's really difficult to say just one author.  I mean I've read all the Scarlet Pimpernel books, and they're really cool.  Well, the beginning ones are best.

I could be all academic and say Shakespeare, but eh.  I only really love Macbeth.  The rest I can leave.

I'm currently breezing thorugh John Mortimer's Rumpole series, which is hilarious, and just found several Elizabeth Hoyt that look delicious.  I love historicals!  Plus they're several e-books I'm saving for a free moment: Susan Macatee's Erin's Rebel, Lorhainne Eckhart's The Captain's Lady, Angela Cameron's Blood & Sex series and Roxanne Dent's The American Heiress.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I always wanted to be one.  I know, I know, you hear it all the time.  But it's ture.  It just took me a while to realize it, get my act together, and start something not completely crap.

How long does it take you to write a book?

You have to realize, I write mostly on weekends.  Nights are reserved for editing and research, but the actual writing is done mostly on weekends.  When it flows, when it all clicks, maybe 10 days, so 5 weekends of 10-12 hours each for a 50-60k book.  a longer one probably more time, but the last longer one I wrote now resides under the preverbal computerized bed.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Insanity.  I don't see anyone.  I rarely talk to anyone, people think I fell off the face of the earth, which then has them calling and texting, which interrupts me and has me working longer.

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your 'r's or dotting your 'i's with hearts (anything like that)?

No, I'm not a cutesy woman, so nothing like that.   I don't do a lot of handwriting any more, my job rarely requires it and  I've noticed the nore I type the worse my handwriting gets.  Shame, because I always wanted that perfect Catholic School handwriting.  Usually, I'm in too much of a rush for neatness though.

What do you want to know about the future?

Lottery numbers.  Seriously, I don't want to know about the future.  Even the good stuff.  I'm a big believer in yin/yang so with the good inevitably comes the bad.  I'd prefer to just live life as it comes. Plus, I don't want to second guess myself.  I've seen too many science fiction episodes where they choose B when A was right all along and now they're screwed.

I can screw my own life up just fine, thank you very much!

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Late morning early evening, does that count? I know, you were expecting an easy answer, weren't you.  My days are so packed, that I'm usually exhausted by 9.  but man, is it hard to get up in the morning!

Do you like thunderstorms?

YES! I LOVE thunderstorms.  Except when the thunder is so loud it wakes me up.  Scares me then. :)

What is the best way for readers to contact you?

I'm on everything. Seriously.  It's a sad state of affairs, but there you have it.  Facebook, myspace, twitter, blogger, wordpress.  The easiest way to contact me is email: The best way to discover updates is my website: or my blog:

Anything you would like to add?

I don't think so.  These were some pretty thorough questions! I think you know more about me than my mother.  whose eyes glaze over 2.3 minutes after asking about my latest project.  She's thrilled, but not very interested in the work itself.

Thanks again, Isabel, for taking the time to share so much with us.  You gave me a few giggles too! Sky


  1. Isabel,

    What an entertaining way to get to know you!

  2. Isabel,
    Great interview! Now we know. :-)
    Congrats on the new series of books!

  3. A lovely interview! A very fun subject who proves to be entertaining. I liked the unexpected (to me!) question about thunderstorms.

  4. What a fun interview! And thanks for mentioning my book, Isabel! Sounds like you've got a lot of fun projects in the works. I don't know how you can just write on weekends though. I'm more the opposite, but if I'm on a roll, I'll write seven days a week.

    I loved your answer about the handwriting. I went to Catholic school too, and am now at the point where I can't read my own handwriting back. LOL.

  5. Thanks Debra, Jeanmarie, K.A., and Susan for stopping by!

    Susan, I write a lot on the weekends because of work and other commitments durng the week.

    K.A. didn't see me as a thunderstorm person? Or was it jsut the question itself? :)

  6. LOL what a great interview, Isabel. I'm with you on the thunder storms--I enjoy them during the daytime hours or early evening, but boy let one wake me up in the middle of the night and I'm shivering under the covers!

  7. I love thunderstorms at any time. Especially at night with the windows open!
    great interview, good luck!
    Big smile for Isabel!

  8. Nicole, there's something about being woken to thunder than makes it scary. I wonder if it's being shocked out of a sound sleep and not being prepared? Vulernable?

    Mary, thanks for the well wishes and smiles!

  9. Good interview,Isabel.

  10. Excellent interview, Isabel. Good luck with your Sexy Dame Meets (and bowls over) the Thin Man book. Sounds like a hoot.

  11. Thanks, Patsy, for stopping by!

    I hope I can write it as amusing as the Thin Man movies are, Gwynlyn! I love those movies, and am going to try but I'm better at one line scarcasm. :) We'll see lol

  12. Dickens WAS a depressing bastard, wasn't he?

    Isabel, I read Phyllis Whitney's 'how to' book on writing as well! If I remember correctly, she was a big fan of plotting things out with 3X5 cards...

    Very fun interview!

  13. Hey, Dana!Yeah, I think Dickens problem was a resurgance of the Little Ice Age...saw it on the History Channel once. :)

    3x5 cards...yes, I do remember that. No wonder I have stashes of them! Dang, should have use them, eh? Better dig them out.