What better way to break in my new blog than by inviting one of my writer-friends over for a little party? When Isobel (and yes, I know who she REALLY is, but my lips are sealed) asked me to play hostess during her “maiden” blog tour, I said, “Yes, Yes, YES!” If you’re now visualizing an Herbal Essence shampoo commercial, you’re on the right track.
Why all the excitement?
Yes, Isobel is my friend, and this is her “first-born” entering the book world, but more importantly for anyone reading this, I really loved WAKE FOR ME. Viola’s winery-heiress status and Sam’s medical intern gig automatically cast an alluring aura of glamour. Both characters are physically attractive – ain’t nothing wrong with that. BUT, those aren’t the elements that sucked me in.
Here’s what did:
1. The intriguing cocktail of interwoven realities (coma dreams muddled with real life). And here I must add that Isobel’s descriptions of Viola’s dreams depict a world that is lushly beautiful and savagely terrifying, with a twist of haunting melancholy. And honestly, dream passages generally don’t do much for me…
2. Suspense. Isobel won’t mind if I call her a dominatrix when it comes to plot twists and turns. But suspense only holds my attention if I care about the players. The underlying theme of betrayal engaged my emotions as well as my intellect.
3. Vulnerable characters. Viola and Sam may look “perfect”, but they aren’t. Even more than I wanted them to fall in love and kiss and such, I wanted them to trust each other, which was far more difficult for both of them.
4. Humor. My fondness for dark things is no secret, but I’m also a sucker for funny. Isobel’s razor sharp wit gleams along the edges of her writing and adds an extra dimension of pleasure to the read.
5. There is NO doubt in my mind that Isobel is going places. And I want to be able to say “I read her when…”
And there you have it, indisputable proof that you should read WAKE FOR ME.
By now you’re undoubtedly keen to know more about Isobel. So, I’ll hand her the mic.
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: