Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Elizabeth Isaacs Interview
9/6/2010 7:23:21 PM
Meet this talented debut YA novelist!
LTS: For today’s featured author, I’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Isaacs. I became acquainted with Elizabeth through Twitter and by reading all the fabulous tweets about her debut YA novel, ‘The Light of Asteria’, I felt this author was worth investigating for a possible interview. And guess what? I was right! Talented, funny and inspiring, I thought she’d be the perfect author to feature. (And yes, I admit I’m partial to featuring debut authors and those who struggle through the process of self-publishing, but she truly is fascinating!)
I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Elizabeth. Where do you call home and what do you do when you’re not writing?
EI: I live in Lexington Kentucky and I’m an elementary music teacher for over 630 kiddos. I also direct a Creative Arts Camp in the summer, and I’m the children’s music coordinator at Calvary Baptist Church.
LTS: I understand reading and books have always been a part of your life and you have been a closet writer for quite some time, but what inspired you to write this particular novel?
EI: A few years back, Kate, my daughter, and I were driving home from school. Kate’s always been a compassionate soul, and at that time, she was surrounded by mean spirited people who loved manipulation. Tearfully, she confided that she just didn’t belong; she’d never really felt like she’d had a place of her own.
Parents understand that a child’s pain is much worse than their own. It was poignant to see such a beautiful, incredible girl struggle in this utterly mundane world. She needed somewhere to go, if not a physical location, somewhere in the realm of her imagination. Something inside of me just clicked, and when we got home, I warmed up the computer and started to type.
LTS: What a touching and inspired beginning!
EI: Asteria started as a free write. The first scene was nothing but vast woodlands, the last pure land on earth, a place where selfishness and negativity didn’t exist, a place where Kate would always belong. The floodgates opened, and soon I found the true message my heart longed to share, the lessons I was unable to teach.
LTS: What encouraged you to take the next step of publication to share it with the world?
EI: It was a true sense of accomplishment when I handed Kate a two-inch binder, the first draft hidden inside; it was a gift from the heart. She read all weekend, and when she finally came downstairs, the only words out of her mouth were “Mom, you have to publish this.”
Honestly, I resisted the idea at first. These words were so personal, and I’m an extremely private person. Kate never let up though, and I finally let a few good friends read it. They were just as adamant, and so I took a deep breath and said a big prayer. Six months of revisions, and we finally were ready.
LTS: Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Nora Johnson?
EI: Nora is a character that has every reason to be bitter, but she always seems to find the best of life. She is loyal, trusting, forgiving, and kind, yet she will fight tooth and nail for what she believes in. She personifies the true human spirit, what we all can be when we put aside selfishness and pride. What I love most about Nora is her mantra. “Appreciate what people can give you, forgive them for the things they can’t.”
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the reader when they crack open ‘The Light of Asteria’?
EI: The story opens on a college campus in modern day North Carolina. Nora accidentally collides with mysterious stranger, Gavin Frey. His very touch sends flames through her heart. The world seems different—something within her has changed.
She tries to resume her mundane life, but she is now consumed with the one whose very presence ignited her soul, the one with eyes of emerald. Nora soon learns that an energy buried deep within has been unleashed. She now wields unimaginable power and has become Gavin’s source, his strength.
Her newfound joy is shaken when she discovers that Gavin is not who he appears to be and she has been thrust in the middle of a war of mythical proportions.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Did you try the traditional route of acquiring an agent prior to deciding on self-publishing this novel?
EI: To be honest, after I researched the industry I didn’t even try. The standard publishing process is long, arduous, and, at best, inconsistent. I didn’t know whom I could trust, and the daily horror stories regarding young agents ruining careers coupled with the industries “it’s not how well you write, it’s who you know” policies made the decision to self-publish easy.
LTS: Is self-publishing something you’d recommend to other authors? Why?
EI: Absolutely. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this industry. Self-publishing is no longer the pariah it once was; many established writers are taking this route because of the freedom and control they maintain with their projects. As they say, the times, they are a-changing.
LTS: What is the best advice you can share with an author deciding to go the route of self-publishing?
EI: I wish I had something original to say on the subject, but the truth is the best advice is to do your homework. Find a company that isn’t going to charge an arm and a leg for services. Realize that they are in it to make money, not to foster your dreams. Hire an independent editor, and be wary of any “choice” programs that say they are going to help you get noticed by the standard publishers. Walk into self-publishing fully aware that there will be those who automatically think that your work is substandard simply because you chose to go it alone. There may be doors not open to you. Brick and mortar stores, reviewers, agents, you may be sacrificing these opportunities. Most of all, make sure that your work is quality, that it can stand on its own regardless of whose name is on the copyright page.
LTS: Excellent advice, Elizabeth! Now, I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
EI: I guess you’d say I’m a mixture of both. I still get up every morning before five and write (although these days I’m writing more blog posts and marketing materials than fiction). I try to work on the new book every day, but if the creative mojo isn’t there, either I rework what I’ve already written, or I work on something else.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
EI: Writing for me is very organic. I’ve literally gasped at what a character has said, or the way things play out in my imagination. I live by the Robert Frost’s quote, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”
LTS: With ‘The Light of Asteria’ in print and another novel underway, where do you find your inspiration?
EI: I believe that inspiration comes from the intent. Why am I writing? What is it I’m really trying to say? I have a teacher’s heart, everything I do pretty much has a lesson to it, and so the inspiration for the Kailmeyra series stemmed from a desire to teach Kate about the power of love and forgiveness. Once this series is done, it’ll be interesting to see where the inspiration for the next story comes from.
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
EI: I usually start a session with a free write, letting my thoughts run wild. Normally these are bits of nonsense, whatever errant thought is flying at the moment is captured and put on paper. This allows me to clear my head, literally, but sometimes there’s a new character lurking, or a really great descriptor hidden within the lunacy. Also, I love to write in complete silence and when it’s dark. Normally during extremely creative times I’ll keep my eyes closed for hours. The typos are ridiculous, but the storyline comes through so much stronger when I shut out all distractions.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
EI: Sometimes I feel like the story is either stalled or going in a wrong direction. When that happens, I write … a lot. I’ve been known to write over 5,000 words of useless dialogue and scenes, just circling, milling around, meandering through, and then finally one character says something, the heavens align, and boom, we’re back in the story!
I think perseverance and believing that the story is buried deep within is what keeps writer’s block from taking hold.
LTS: Who is your favorite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
EI: I thought about giving some pat answer that would make me seem intelligent and well read, but then I looked to my heart and decided to answer honestly.
My two favorite authors are Dr. Seuss and Maya Angelou. I know, weird combo, but I’ve never claimed to be normal.
Theodor Geisel was my first love. I read every book he wrote before I was eight. More importantly, I understood the deeper implications of his work at an early age. Dr. Seuss was the first person in my life that inspired me to find different ways to phrase ideas, to love the way words are strung together. He taught me to have fun with words, to play with them, to find joy in reading them over and over.
Where Dr. Seuss taught that words could affect through humor and rhyme, Maya Angelou, taught me that words have power … that they can change who we are, who we want to be. Her voice is so deeply embedded in her writing that they literally go from the page straight to my heart. She has a way of turning ordinary words into extraordinary thoughts.
While neither of these authors inspired me to write YA, they greatly affect the way my thoughts flow to the page, and they helped foster the idea that great stories have a message.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
EI: I never really appreciated that writing is so very personal. Nora’s story originally manifested itself out of a desire to help my daughter. It was extremely private and I really did not intend to share it with the world. For the longest time, only a handful of people knew that I had written so much as a post-it note, and I honestly thought that I wouldn’t have the courage to go through with it. I have never felt such intense vulnerability in my life as I did the night the first review came in. What I soon discovered was that the love that I had poured into the story seeped through the pages only to touch the hearts of others as well.
The response to Nora’s story has been humbling and, at times, a little overwhelming. Over the past five months I’ve found that people long for a place where thoughts hold power, where relationships matter. I can only hope that, even in a small way, Asteria will help make this world a better place.
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
EI: The writing community is full of kind people who are willing to take a moment out of their busy schedules to offer you friendship, to follow a blog, to give encouragement or advice. I’ve met great authors, VP’s of publishing companies, executive producers of indie films, housewives, reporters, editors, bloggers, freelance writers, and they all have two things in common…they love the written word, and they are genuine and kind.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
EI: I’m finishing Jonathon Weyer’s new novel “The Faithful”. I’ve found that writers are an extremely enthusiastic bunch and I now have several works from other authors just waiting to be read. Jonathon’s novel officially hits the stores in a few weeks, but I have the privilege of getting a first peek at it. I’ve strayed a bit from YA into the adult realm, but I’m telling you it was well worth it!
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres?
EI: I’ve been offered a contract from a standard publishing company. I’m considering all the possibilities, but regardless of who is on the copyright page, the first draft of the second book is almost complete, and the third still has to be written.
I’m sure at some point I’ll write for a different demographic, but honestly right now I’ll continue to follow my heart.
LTS: When can your fans expect a sequel to ‘The Light of Asteria’?
EI: The Secret of the Keepers, Kailmeyra’s Strength is slated for release in the fall of 2011.
LTS: Thank you so much for taking the time from your hectic schedule to share in your writing experiences and for talking about your debut novel, Elizabeth. This sounds like one for my daughter to check out!
For more information about Elizabeth Isaacs and her novel, check out:
Follow Elizabeth on Twitter: .kailmeyra
Where to buy the book:
Amazon.com . http://amzn.to/98c0Ot
Barnes & Noble . http://bit.ly/cpu53c
Post a Comment new!
More Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Erica Lucke Dean Interview - Saturday, May 18, 2013
Amber Lea Easton Interview - Sunday, May 12, 2013
Ruth Nestvold Interview - Saturday, May 04, 2013
Rose Garcia Interview - Saturday, April 20, 2013
Robert Pruneda Interview - Saturday, April 13, 2013
Lance Burson Interview - Saturday, April 06, 2013
Rachel Thompson Interview: - Saturday, March 23, 2013
Samantha Martin Interview - Saturday, March 16, 2013
Lisette Brodey Interview - Saturday, March 09, 2013
Jack Whyte Interview Part Two - Saturday, March 02, 2013
Jack Whyte Interview Part One - Saturday, February 23, 2013
Molly Greene Interview - Saturday, February 16, 2013
Dionne Lister Interview - Saturday, February 09, 2013
Anita Reynolds MacArthur Interview: - Saturday, February 02, 2013
Alicia Kat Dillman Interview - Saturday, January 26, 2013
John Gregory Hancock Interview - Saturday, January 19, 2013
Adriana Ryan Interview - Saturday, January 12, 2013
Jennifer McConnel Interview - Friday, January 04, 2013
S.M. Boyce Interview - Saturday, December 15, 2012
James Tallett Interview - Saturday, December 08, 2012
Melissa McPhail Interview - Saturday, December 01, 2012
Roz Morris Interview - Sunday, November 18, 2012
Tania Johansson Interview - Saturday, November 10, 2012
Dale Ivan Smith Interview - Sunday, November 04, 2012
Respect Your Readers - Sunday, October 28, 2012
Greta van der Rol Interview - Sunday, October 21, 2012
Justin Bog Interview - Saturday, October 13, 2012
Thanksgiving Day: Gratitude - Saturday, October 06, 2012
Steena Holmes Interview - Saturday, September 29, 2012
Kenneth Hoss Interview - Saturday, September 22, 2012
Patty Jansen Interview - Saturday, September 15, 2012
Joshua E. Bigger Interview - Saturday, September 08, 2012
Joyce Damask Interview - Saturday, September 01, 2012
Marketing & Twitter - Saturday, August 25, 2012
Henry Herz Interview - Saturday, August 18, 2012
Kristin Bair O'Keeffe Interview - Sunday, August 12, 2012
William Linde Interview - Saturday, August 04, 2012
Micheal Rivers Interview - Saturday, July 21, 2012
Robert James Russell Interview - Saturday, July 14, 2012
Becka Sutton Interview - Saturday, July 07, 2012
Canadian Authors Feature - Saturday, June 30, 2012
Gini Koch Interview - Sunday, June 17, 2012
M. Pax Interview - Saturday, June 09, 2012
Karina Halle Interview - Saturday, June 02, 2012
Novice Writing Mistakes - Sunday, May 27, 2012
Pippa Jay Interview - Sunday, May 20, 2012
Glenn Starkey Interview - Saturday, May 12, 2012
Maurice G. Nicholson Interview - Saturday, May 05, 2012
How I Select Followers on Twitter - Saturday, April 28, 2012
Shaun Allan Interview - Sunday, April 22, 2012
Darlene Foster Interview - Saturday, April 14, 2012
Kim Aleksander Interview - Saturday, April 07, 2012
Hope Collier Interview - Saturday, March 31, 2012
John Kolson’s Writeado: A New Online Writing Tool - Saturday, March 24, 2012
Jeff Shanley Interview - Saturday, March 17, 2012
Stephen England Interview - Saturday, March 10, 2012
Everett Powers Interview - Saturday, March 03, 2012
The Kindle Prime Experiment - Saturday, February 25, 2012
Edward Lazellari Interview - Saturday, February 18, 2012
Connie J. Jasperson Interview - Saturday, February 11, 2012
Sally Dubats - Saturday, February 04, 2012
Selecting Writers For My Author Feature - Sunday, January 29, 2012
Tarek Refaat Interview - Sunday, January 22, 2012
Toby Neal Interview: - Saturday, January 14, 2012
Thomas A. Knight Interview - Sunday, January 08, 2012
Linda Poitevin Interview - Sunday, January 01, 2012
2011: A Year in Review - Monday, December 26, 2011
Angeline Kace Interview - Sunday, December 18, 2011
Eden Baylee Interview - Saturday, December 10, 2011
Cyndi Tefft Interview - Saturday, December 03, 2011
The Conference Experience - Sunday, November 27, 2011
A.R. Silverberry Interview - Sunday, November 20, 2011
Suzy Turner Interview - Sunday, November 13, 2011
Patti Roberts Interview - Sunday, November 06, 2011
Raine Thomas Interview - Sunday, October 23, 2011
LK Gardner-Griffie Interview - Saturday, October 15, 2011
Jonathan Gould Interview - Saturday, October 08, 2011
Brian Rathbone Interview - Saturday, October 01, 2011
Matthew Merrick Interview - Sunday, September 25, 2011
Dean Lappi Interview - Saturday, September 17, 2011
J.T. Ellison Interview - Sunday, September 11, 2011
Carolyn Arnold Interview - Sunday, September 04, 2011
John Kolson Interview - Sunday, August 21, 2011
Megan Curd Interview - Saturday, August 06, 2011
Elena Aitken - Sunday, July 31, 2011
When Book Reviews are Misleading… - Sunday, July 24, 2011
Deborah Riley-Magnus - Saturday, July 16, 2011
Jessica Subject Interview - Sunday, July 10, 2011
J. Alexander Greenwood Interview: - Sunday, July 03, 2011
When Social Networking is no so social... - Monday, June 27, 2011
Dannie C. Hill - Monday, June 20, 2011
Shay Fabbro Interview - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Genevieve P. Ching Interview - Monday, June 06, 2011
Al Boudreau Interview - Monday, May 30, 2011
Jennifer Hudock Interview - Monday, May 23, 2011
Paul Mansfield Keefe Interview - Monday, May 16, 2011
Rusty Fischer Interview - Monday, May 09, 2011
Jason McIntyre Interview - Monday, May 02, 2011
Emlyn Chand & Novel Publicity - Monday, April 25, 2011
Steve Umstead Interview - Monday, April 18, 2011
John Betcher Interview - Monday, April 11, 2011
Kimberly Kinrade Interview - Monday, April 04, 2011
Inspiration & Where You Find It - Monday, March 28, 2011
Christie Yant - Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Amy J. Rose David Interview - Monday, March 14, 2011
George H. Sirois Interview - Monday, March 07, 2011
Linda Nagata Interview - Monday, February 28, 2011
Adventures in Editing or... Is it Done Yet? - Monday, February 21, 2011
Greg Messel Interview - Monday, February 14, 2011
Jen Wylie Interview - Monday, February 07, 2011
Katie M. John Interview - Monday, January 31, 2011
How Do You Measure Success: - Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Avery Tingle Interview - Monday, January 17, 2011
Kristie Cook Interview - Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Ren Cummins - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
A Wish For the New Year - Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Trish Wolfe Interview - Monday, December 20, 2010
Jesi Lea Ryan Interview - Monday, December 13, 2010
Cat Connor Interview - Monday, December 06, 2010
How to Make a Story Ring True - Monday, November 29, 2010
Sharon Bially Interview - Monday, November 22, 2010
Donna Carrick Interview - Monday, November 15, 2010
Brenda Sedore Interview - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Robert Feagan Interview - Monday, November 01, 2010
Of Book Signings, Volunteering & Option Agreements… - Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Daryl Sedore Interview - Monday, October 18, 2010
Seven Day Blog Tour Begins October 17th - Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Todd A. Ritter Interview - Monday, October 04, 2010
Cheryl Kaye Tardif Interview - Monday, September 27, 2010
Claude Bouchard Interview - Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Dr. Peter Clement Interview - Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Elizabeth Isaacs Interview - Monday, September 06, 2010
Introducing a New YA Fantasy - Monday, August 30, 2010
Interview with Author Gene Doucette - Monday, August 23, 2010
It's All About the Books Part 2 - Monday, August 16, 2010
It's All About the Books - Monday, August 09, 2010
When to Abandon Your Manuscript - Monday, August 02, 2010
1st Anniversary Blog: A Celebration of Authors - Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Kathy Chung & the SiWC Part Twp - Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Kathy Chung & the Surrey International Writers Conference Part One - Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Deanna Jewel Interview - Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The Happiest Indie Author (me) in the World! - Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The Author Effect - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Jacqueline Pearce Interview - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Peggy Richardson Interview - Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga Interview - Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The Importance of a Critique Group - Saturday, May 29, 2010
Zoe Winters Interview - Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Zoe Winters Interview - Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tonya R. Moore Interview - Monday, May 03, 2010
Write On Bowen! - Monday, April 26, 2010
Dayna Hester Interview - Monday, April 19, 2010
Luke Romyn Interview - Monday, April 12, 2010
Rhonda Carpenter Interview - Monday, March 29, 2010
Lacey Weatherford Interview - Monday, March 22, 2010
K.M. Weiland Interview - Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords Interview! - Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Jo Lynne Valerie Interview - Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Dan McNeil Interview - Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Catherine McKenzie Interview - Tuesday, February 16, 2010
8 Years of Writing! 8 eBook Winners! - Sunday, February 07, 2010
Birthday Blog (or an Ode to Aging Gracelessly) - Monday, January 18, 2010
Interview with Paranormal Author Kate Austin - Monday, January 11, 2010
Riley Carney Interview - Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Ask an Editor - Monday, December 28, 2009
Lee Edward Fodi Interview - Monday, December 21, 2009
Interview with YA Author James McCann - Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Researching Historical Fiction with Diana Gabaldon - Tuesday, December 08, 2009
kc dyer Interview & Enter to Win an Autographed Novel! - Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Bev Katz Rosenbaum Interview - Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Writing Tips I Learned from Terry Brooks - Tuesday, November 17, 2009
An Interview with Tamara Sheehan - Monday, November 09, 2009
YA Author Loreena M. Lee Interview - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Why Do I Blog About Other Authors? - Thursday, October 29, 2009
Critique by Author Jack Whyte - Tuesday, October 27, 2009
BookCamp 2009 - Monday, October 19, 2009
Participating at VCON 34 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Therese Walsh Interview - Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Interview with Debra Purdy Kong - Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Twitter – The Power of the Tweet - Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Part Two: Publishing in a Foreign Market - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
An Interview with author Christopher Belton - Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Part Two of the Caroline Leavitt Interview: - Thursday, September 03, 2009
An Interview with Author & Book Reviewer Caroline Leavitt - Tuesday, September 01, 2009
An Interview with Kathleen Bolton - Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Interview with author/artist Scott Kessman: - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Interview with author/artist Scott Kessman: - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Part 2 of the Kim Falconer Interview - Thursday, August 13, 2009
An Interview with Kim Falconer - Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Part 2 An Interview with Alan Baxter - Thursday, August 06, 2009
An Interview with Alan Baxter - Tuesday, August 04, 2009
If You Write It, They Will Come (buy it)… Not! - Sunday, July 26, 2009
Lori A. May: Author Extraordinaire - Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Merits of a Writers Conference - Sunday, July 19, 2009
Part 2 Publishing in the Digital Age - Thursday, July 16, 2009
Publishing in the Digital Age - Monday, July 13, 2009
Writing Tips for the Novice Novelist - Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Flog the Blog - Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Do's & Don't of a TV interview - Saturday, June 27, 2009
Mortality & Writing - Friday, June 26, 2009
The Art of Editing 101 - Tuesday, June 23, 2009
How To Write When Suffering from Bad Memory Retention - Saturday, June 20, 2009
Finding Inspiration from Others - Thursday, June 18, 2009
To Blog or Twitter... - Tuesday, June 16, 2009