Welcome to Summer's Point! I'm always thrilled when I get the chance to interview other authors. I love hearing what inspires them and what inspires them. Today I'm grateful to bring you Isabella Carter! This talented author will need to be on your To Read shelf quickly. Without further babbling from me, here is Isabella Carter.
About You: The Person
Where do you call home?
I've lived in Maryland around the Baltimore-Metropolitan area all my life apart from the four years I went to school on the eastern shore.
Do you have any siblings?
I have one older brother who lives on the other side of the country. We're complete opposites so it's strange when we get together. He serves in the military currently, like the rest of my family has at some point. I'm the odd person out since I've never served.
Favorite place traveled?
In college, I went to Japan for four months for study abroad. It was my first time away from home, so it was terrifying, but it was so much fun. I went to Jpop concerts and to a hot spring. The best part though was the complete immersion in another culture. And I think it's better when you get the change to travel to another culture to experience it rather than just hearing it. Because when you hear about it, you only hear the good parts, the idealized parts. But being there, you have a chance to learn all the bad parts and fall in love with them as well.
Besides writing, what do you do in your free time?
I spend a lot of time reading of course, romance and a large amount of young adult fiction (more than I'm comfortable admitting). Last year, I learned how to knit with the help of a coworker. I make a lot of scarves since I'm too scared to try anything harder. I love RPGs, so whenever one comes out, I play like mad. I'm also an online gamer. I started on Final Fantasy XI, went through a World of Warcraft phase, did a bit of Guild Wars, and right now I occasionally play Star Wars while waiting for FFXIV to come out. My father encourages the gaming the same way my mother encouraged my reading so I always have a partner in crime, which makes gaming all the more fun. (My dad encourages a lot of my bad habits actually)
I also work with computers for both fun and profit. I was lucky enough to find a day job in something I like doing.
About You: The Author
What was the first book you ever published?
My first story accepted for publishing was a story for Less Than Three's serialized anthology Something Happened on the Way to Heaven which came out on the same day as Shadow (Feb 20th). My first ebook however was a part of the Kiss me Quick Collection, a cute little story about a clerk that's had enough of his rude neighbor.
What made you decide to write in the MM genre?
When I was younger, I read every romance novel I could find and after a while, I tired of the dynamics in them. I discovered yaoi fanfiction and spent hours reading. When I started writing again, it seemed only natural that I'd write MM. I still write hetero as well, and I love writing F/F when the urge hits me.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A lot of my inspiration began in tabletop gaming. My drug of choice was World of Darkness and between tabletop and Live Action, I've played nearly all the games. I used to run them as well, which seriously tested my creativity. In a story, you have some reasonable ability to predict what your characters will do, but you can never guess what the dice will roll and of course, what your players will do. More than once, I had players ignore critical plot evidence, or take the game down a completely different track. I had to be ready to roll with the punches. And with live action, there were the costumes of course, and the props. You'd be surprised what we could do in a night with fifty dollars and the dollar store.
I love listening to music as well, and when I'm running on empty, sometimes a picture (Like the one I found for Phoenix Knight) inspires an entire story in my head. And sometimes, it's just the things I see. When I first started writing Shadow in the Winter of 2011, I had just adopted the cat I hadn't planned to adopt (It was a two for one special). His behaviors amused me so much I wanted to write a character that utterly baffled his human with that same behavior.
Who or what influences your writing?
Of all the things I've given up and been terrible at, there's always been one aspect I'm luck in, and that's picking good friends. I have one friend in particular who pulled me into gaming, then showed me the long stories she wrote about her characters and talked me into writing my own. After college, she challenged me to write small dirty fanfiction drabbles with her (That will never see the light of day). For her birthday, I wrote her a silly fairytale that she loved and I kept going. Most times, if I'm writing, I bounce my ideas off of her. She's the one who bullied me into submitting my first story as well as the one who yelled at me when I considered not submitting Shadow.
What current WIP are you working on?
Right now, I'm about to get into a new project about a witch and a demon. I'd say more about it, but these stories never end up where I plan them, so we'll see where this one goes. So far though, there's a dead body in an alley, and that's good enough for me.
I just finished writing The Dragon Slayer which is contracted with Less than Three. It's one of my favorite types of stories actually, about a prince that finds his courage. Also, it has dragons, so that's hard to beat. It's a sequel to The Phoenix Knight, but it's pretty easy to read without ever having read that story. (Since I know how some people feel about the female parts even though I, as its author, think it's an awesome story)
A Bell Jar Moment you will never forget as an author?
Originally, I went to college with dreams of being a writer. I took part in a freshman creative writing seminar and I thought it would be the best thing for my writing. It was and it wasn't. My teacher told me in far kinder words that I wasn't suited to be an author. As this had been my dream for years, I was understandably broken. I didn't write again for nearly four years.
But as bad as that experience was, it taught me a valuable lesson about dealing with criticism. And it taught me that sometimes, you really can't please everyone.
Solving a murder is never an easy matter, even when circumstances are ideal. For Basil, circumstances are far from ideal. Because the murder is far more complicated than at first it seems, and before he can even begin to solve it Basil must contend with a council that refuses to listen to him, a partner he despises, and a thief who is a temptation that Basil cannot seem to resist …
Stop by Less Than Three Press, All Romance Ebooks, and Amazon to purchase your copy of Shadow of a Dream.
Isabella has been gracious to give us a small preview of Shadow of a Dream! Enjoy!!
The Duke of Rutland was shorter than Basil had expected, but there was something about him that demanded obedience. He also looked quite young for his age, his hair full and dark with nary a line on his face. Rutland stood there and studied the both of them. For a moment, Basil thought he might have decided they weren't enough to investigate his robbery, but then Rutland nodded politely at the both of them and stepped fully into the room.
Two men entered behind him: only one of them resembled the Duke so much that Basil immediately knew he was the Duke's son. He wore his dark hair as short of his father's, though his gaze wasn't anywhere near as intuitive. However, Basil was far more intrigued by the other man who stood next to the Duke.
Whereas the Duke and his son were dressed in the muted colors that were common among the nobility in St. Michaels, the other man's dress made it obvious that he was from Augustine. His pants and coat were a deep purple and his waistcoat was light blue. The handkerchief and tie were an amethyst that matched the earring dangling from his ear. His coat hung past his waist, the sleeves wide and edged with lace.
But it was the hat that made Basil stare in a mix of wonder and horror. The wide-brimmed hat covered his eyes from sight and matched the purple of his earring. A lily sat daintily on the side. The Duke was speaking, but Basil couldn't tear his eyes away from the hat. He'd heard such objects were completely normal in Augustine, but he'd never seen such an article of clothing before. He half wanted to reach out to see if the flower was real.
As if sensing Basil's stare, the man shifted and now Basil could see his face. He was pretty, though his features were far too fine to make him handsome. He was trouble. Basil could see that in the slight smile on his face, the kind that looked as though he were laughing at a private joke no one else would understand. His eyes danced with mischief, and he winked at Basil before turning his attention back to the Duke.
"—my son has taken an interest in the affairs of late and thus will be joining us." The Duke was saying, "This is Mirza Delano from the Royal Academy in Augustine." He gestured to the pretty man in the hat. "My nephew."
Delano's mouth spread into a full smile as he held out his hand to a startled Alexander. "How lovely to meet you." Alexander didn't respond as he shook Delano's hand. He seemed to be just as distracted by the hat, and at least Basil wasn't alone in that. He held his hand out to Basil and Basil took it tentatively. "You may call me Mirza."
"Mirza? That's an odd name." Up close, Basil could smell the lily, which meant it was definitely real, but how had Delano gotten it onto his hat? And why had he done so?
"I was named for a friend my parents met on one of their adventures." The handshake was over and still Delano had not let go. His thumb brushed over the sensitive skin on the back of Basil's hand, turning the simple handshake into a caress that seemed far too intimate. Basil wanted to yank his hand back, but he found himself enjoying the warmth of human contact. Especially the way Delano's touch made him exceedingly aware of his body's reaction. Delano's eyes met Basil's once more, and Basil could see the answering interest. "And your name is?"
"Mirza!" Rutland scolded before Basil could decide whether or not to answer.
Delano released his hand with a quick laugh, "My apologies, Uncle. You were being far too slow with the introductions."
Rutland's smile was tolerant, "Please excuse my nephew. He was raised in the wilds."
"My parents would not appreciate that sentiment. They spent quite the fortune to tame me."
"All of it wasted." Rutland shook his head sadly and Delano laughed, the delighted sound filled with a magic all its own.
As always, thank you all for stopping by! A special thanks to Isabella Carter for opening up and allowing us to enter her world. Don't forget to enter your chance to win Shadow of a Dream!