Interview with Ali Isaac
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Quite simply, I wanted people to read my book! Like many authors, I had started down the traditional route, sending out my manuscript to agents and publishers, but had no luck. Then I read an article about Amanda Hocking
, which got me interested in the idea of self publishing. It’s been a long hard journey, and a massive learning curve, I’ve achieved things I never imagined I would, and enjoyed every minute of it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Ooooh…this is a difficult one! Writing brings me joy on many different levels. I enjoy being able to express myself eloquently enough that people want to read what I write, and actually enjoy it. I enjoy the process of creation. I love receiving feedback, particularly if it is in the form of a positive review, hint hint! (only joking!) And I really enjoy connecting with my readers, either on my Facebook page, or via email.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on Book Two of my Tir na Nog Trilogy. It’s called Conor Kelly and The Fenian King. I’m about halfway through, just now. It has taken a lot longer than I had anticipated, because my daughter was quite ill at the beginning of the year, so I was quite distracted. I think I’m making up for it now, though! I plan to publish in time for Christmas.
Who are your favourite authors?
Oh no! Another difficult question! There are so many good authors out there, whose writing I enjoy for many different reasons. I read a lot of fantasy, and you can’t beat the classics, David Eddings
, Tolkien, CS Lewis
, and newer writers, such as JK Rowling
, Rick Riordan, George RR Martin
I have always loved Rosemary Sutcliffe
for bringing mythology to life for me, likewise Susan Cooper and Marion Zimmer Bradley
Who else? You might not think it, but I have always loved the classics from as far back as my GCE English Lit, (a loooong time ago!). I’m thinking Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy.
Finally, being an Indie author myself, I find that I am really getting into the writing of other Indie authors; they bring something new and exciting to the mix, I think. Check out Jay Howard
, Allie Creswell
and KA Krisko
, and you’ll see what I mean!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Actually, I’m rubbish at getting out of bed in the morning! I’m really not a morning person. My family have learned not to say much to me before I have my first coffee of the day! Once my husband has gone off to work and the children have left for school, the house is lovely and peaceful. That is my favourite time to start writing, but I usually have to take my dog, Indi(ana Bones) for his morning walk in the woods, and I love that too, whatever the weather; it’s my thinking time. Many a writer’s block has been dislodged during that morning walk!
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I’m researching, either on-line or visiting a location for my book. If I’m not doing that, I’m checking out keywords, writing a blog or Facebook
post, or proof reading for a fellow Indie author. Sandwiched in between, I spend time with my family, exercise, socialize, and read…a lot…usually at night, when I go to bed. I’m much too busy in the day time.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don’t know if it was the first story I ever wrote, but I do remember writing a story about a puppy following the butcher’s delivery boy on his bike because he smelled so nicely of sausages, and then getting lost. I think I must have been about seven. It got a gold star. but I think I probably ‘borrowed’ the idea from somewhere, because I’ve never known a butcher to deliver goods by bike!
But just to show off a bit, in senior school, I won the school prize for English Language and Literature every year for the whole five years I was there.
What is your writing process?
Oh, I’m a bit haphazard, I must confess! I always start out with good intentions of being well organised, and have my synopsis and characters written out beside me. but as the book progresses, the story and characters tend to take on a life of their own, and the story plan just goes out the window!
I have a lovely shiny red desk at which I write, and my laptop is called FoxyRoxy, she’s glossy and red too. At the moment, my desk is littered with scraps of paper covered in scrawl from my research, and notes and reminders that have occurred to me when I have been away from my laptop. It’s organised chaos…well, just chaos, actually!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
There are three books I read, all before the age of ten, all of which have stayed with me. Firstly, ‘Tristan and Iseult’ by Rosemary Sutcliffe, an Arthurian story based in Ireland; I have always been a little in love with King Arthur, and Sutcliffe just put a different spin on it with this beautifully written version of what is just a chapter in the Arthurian mythology. I loved the gorgeous illustrations by Victor Ambrus
, too; if only I could persuade him to illustrate my books, I’d be a very happy author! Next, ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams just blew me away. I read it so many times, my copy fell apart! And finally, Preussler’s ‘The Little Water Sprite’ is just a lovely little story which really captured my childish imagination, and also had cute illustrations. When I was fourteen, I wrote a poem called ‘By the Mill’ in tribute to it.
I can actually remember when I first realised I could read. I was aged about four, and was looking at a comic of the Disney version of Robin Hood, and suddenly the letters all seemed to just ‘swim’ together in a way that made sense. I was amazed!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I hate to say this, but I actually don’t own a Kindle! I read all my books via the Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy 4…it works perfectly for me! I love reading books on my phone; I love that I can finish reading one and instantly go on-line and download the next book in the series. And it’s so much easier to manage when you read in bed at night than a big, heavy clumsy book with, you know, actual pages that you have to turn, and stuff!
Having said that, there’s nothing quite like, the look, feel and smell of holding an actual book in your hands for a fully immersive reading experience. Book shelves can look rather bare when all your books are owned digitally. If I really love a book, I like to own an actual physical copy, too.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
When I was four, my parents sold their house and bought a Landrover, and we drove from the UK to Kuwait. We stopped there because the Landrover conked out big time, and lived on a farm in the desert for a while. Then my dad got a job as a diver with an oil company, and we ended up staying seven years. Then, on the strength of a three day visit, my parents decided we would move to Cyprus to live. Yeah, I think it is fair to say that my parents were a little on the impulsive side!
Anyhow, I think I inherited a bit of their impulsive, adventurous spirit which has had an impact on my life, and my writing. I became interested in ancient history and mythology while living in Cyprus, and toured endless archaeological sites with my dad. Living in a Muslim country was quite restrictive for western women and girls, so I read a lot and so fired up my active imagination.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
In Conor Kelly and The Four Treasures of Eirean, Conor discovers he is descended from an ancient God-like race of people from Ireland, known as the Tuatha de Denann. He becomes involved in a quest to find their lost talismans of power, the mythological Four Treasures of Eirean.
Conor is not your average hero. For a start, he can’t walk or talk, and lives life in a wheelchair.
My latest book is called Conor Kelly and The Fenian King. It’s a year later, and Conor is called upon by the Sidhe to help them yet again. Despite the return of the Four Treasures, there is political unrest, war and murder in the magical realm. There is a legend of a man who sleeps in a cave beneath a hill, awaiting the call which will wake him in order to come to the aid of his people. This man is known as Fionn mac Cumhall, and Conor is tasked with finding him.
Although my stories are fantasies based on Irish mythology, they also contain current themes. I was inspired to write them by my daughter, who has a rare syndrome. She can’t walk, talk or communicate, yet I’m sure she can understand more than she can indicate to us. I wanted an unusual hero, a flawed, imperfect character whom others would overlook and underestimate, and Conor gives me the opportunity to explore what it is like to be disabled in our modern world, in a subtle way without lecturing, I hope.
There is also the underlying question of Conor’s identity. All is not as it seems…I can say no more!
You can find out more at Smashwords.