Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Isadora: Thank you for having me, Fiona.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Isadora: My name is Isadora Montrose. I am ageless.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Isadora: Toronto, Canada
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Isadora: I have a BA in English Literature, and have worked both as a Financial Planner, and in retail. I have two fantastic daughters. At present I am a full-time paranormal romance author with over 35 e-books. I write BBW/Shifter romantic suspense. I have 2 bear series, a dragon series, and a phoenix series.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Isadora: This year I began a different, lighter series as part of a new multi-author book line. My Mystic Bay Paranormal Romances are part of the Shifters in Love Fun & Flirty line. Desired by the Dragon came out January 13, 2018 as the very first book with Fun & Flirty. My fourth book, Adored by a Dragon, will be published on Aug 3, 2018.
There are now over 20 of these light-hearted, feel good Fun & Flirty romances out and more every week.In fact, I just put Fated for the Phoenix (Mystic Bay Book 5) in pre-orders. It will be out on Sept 18. But in the meantime, more books by the other awesome PNR authors sharing this brand will be published.
All my Mystic Bay stories take place on the island of West Haven in the San Juans where the paranormal is normal and a host of sensitives live. So far I have had 2 dragons mated to fairies, a cougar married to a sorceress, a bear whose fated bride is a mermaid, and a phoenix in love with a unicorn. Secondary characters include sorcerers, rabbit shifters, crystal readers. Every book new ones pop up! These are easy breezy reads without any dark elements.
What’s next? Hard to say. I am thinking about a werewolf, as I have never had a wolf hero. But bears are calling my name again. Fortunately, there is room for lots more paranormal characters in Mystic Bay. And of course my dragon lords and alpha phoenixes are starting to get restless and invading my dreams.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Isadora: As soon as I learned to write my name. I have always amused myself by writing stuff. Poetry. Novels. I once alarmed my mom by compiling a series of letters that she thought was the foundation of some sort of mean-girl poison-pen nastiness.Actually it was a novel in letters modelled onDaddy Longlegsby Jean Webster.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Isadora: When I hit ‘publish’ for the first time on KDP back in October, 2015. What a rush putting Bear Necessities out was. Scary but thrilling. After that, I never looked back.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first published book?
Isadora: Some writer friends told me how easy it was to publish on Amazon. I brought out some old manuscripts. They laughed at them as old fashioned, and told me to start from scratch. To choose a genre and write for it. I decided to write steamy BBW/Bearshifter romance because I felt a connection to both and had a decades long familiarity with paranormal romance. Write what you know was and is good advice.
I have always preferred an alpha male hero. And military heroesare always the hottest. It was natural to plan a series with three bear shifter brothers who were in different branches of the US military. I added their Air Force cousin to round out the series. That was the beginning of my Bear Fursuits series, which is still going strong.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Isadora: I love puns. Readers like to know up front what the book is about. Hencethe BearFursuits series, which is a double pun.Bear Necessities and Bear Possibilities were the original puns. Bear Affinities and Bear Infinities came about because they matched the first two. I have since switched style: Bear Skin, Bear Pause, Bear Sin, & Bear Fate have a different flavor but still inform readers what’s inside.
Unfortunately, dragons and phoenixes are not as easy to make puns with. My book titles for those series are a bit more straightforward. But my Bachelor Bears of Yakima Ridge got punning titles based on bearly/barely.Bearly a Bride, Bearly Begun, Bearly Enough, Bearly Ever, Bearly Forever, Bearly Beloved.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Isadora: I try to write from my heart. And naturally.I work hard on my prose because never want a reader to stop because she is baffled by poor grammar. I don’t have a lot of foreign readers because my books have never been translated. But I am proud of my German sales. I must be writing comprehensible sentences if non-English speakers keep buying them.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Isadora: Full disclosure: I write paranormal fiction. Shifters do not exist. But I write as if they do. And I spend a lot of time working out their paranormal abilities. I have a single consistent world in which shifting is a secret. Only in Mystic Bay, which is a paranormal sanctuary, are sensitives totally open about their psi abilities. Everywhere else my shifters have to keep their secrets on lockdown.
On the other hand, all the feelings I describe are real. If I put something in a sex scene, even though the climax is OTT, the acts are physically possible. I draw on my real-life experiences to create realistic characters with recognizable flaws and virtues. And I incorporate actual events into my characters and plots.
For instance, my nephews and their escapades appear regularly in my books. The little kids in my books are funny because they are written from life. I practiced writing to my aged aunt who loved to hear about the exploits of my naughty little nephews.
Fair warning: If you know me, you could be in my book. Names and physical appearances are changed to protect the sexy and the silly. The evil will meet their doom, or at least drip coffee on their sweaters.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Isadora: Not really. I wish I could go hang out in the San Juans off the coast of Oregon state. But tragically, according to the Canada Revenue Agency, this is not a justifiable business expense. Wikipedia has ruined research trips.
I have visited the Pacific Northwest and I love it. Who wouldn’t adore those mossy forests and old growth forests? But I invented the island of West Haven and its small town of Mystic Bay. However, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca is an actual place filled with many private islands. And the weather, geology, flora and fauna are accurate.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Isadora: I have a wonderful graphic designer who has done most of my covers. Aria Tan of Resplendent Media is amazingly talented and always creates a genre correct cover. Right from the first cover of Bear Necessities she established adistinct style that makes an Isadora Montrose book instantly recognizable.
My Mystic Bay book covers, however, are designed by Willsin Rowe of Coverage who does all the covers in the Shifters in Love Fun & Flirty line. The Fun & Flirty books are not intended to be author specific.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Isadora: Love conquers all. Or at least helps make life richer, nobler, happier. I try to promote inclusiveness, high moral standards, and the importance of living a kind and honorable life. But I write escapist literature, so my message is cloaked in humor and even the direst of events concludes with a happy ever after. That is the convention of romance, and I am delighted to deliver.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Isadora: Golly. I am not sure who to tell you about. One drawback of writing for a living is not having time to read as much. The other is that when I read now I automatically correct typos, syntax flaws, and sentence structure. This spoils the reading experience and makes me wary of trying new authors.
But Lexi George has an awesome and funny series set in the southern US. I love her demons. I find her books hilarious, smoking hot, and well written. Demon Hunting in Dixie kicked off a trifecta of wonderful.
My go-to for years has been Jayne Ann Krentz, under all her names: Stephanie James, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick. That woman has been entertaining romance readers since the 1980’s with book after book of superior quality. Great plots, great pacing, realistic characters, and well-edited readable English.
There are not a lot of romance writers whose books stand the test of time. Jayne Ann Krentz’s mostly do. I aspire to be as prolific as she is, while still keeping the standards of my books high. Like Jayne I try to create heroines who take shift from no man, and men who are loyal to their women.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Isadora: I belong to a number of writer’s groups on Facebook. I found you, Fiona, on 20 to 50K which is dedicated to helping authors achieve financial as well as literary success. The administrators of that group are themselves successful writers who devote time every day to creating a safe space for novices. Here it is possible to ask basic questions without being trolled (we were all that ignorant once).It’s a great place to get advice on how to write, how to promote; who to seek out; and who to avoid.
The advice on 20 to 50K is usually spot on. Follow it and succeed is the lesson repeated daily. And of course there is always an opportunity to pay back the kindnesses received. This morning I told a neophyte how to put a book in Kindle Unlimited. Yesterday, I read a post of editing tips. At least 2 of which I will incorporate consciously when I edit my manuscripts.
The generosity of writers on 20 to 50K is matched by that of most of the authors I have met online and at conventions. There are always swindlers and negative people, but 99% of writers are helpful and supportive. I would suggest to any aspiring author that they ask the experts and take their advice.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Isadora: It is definitely my second career. I don’t intend to return to financial planning. This is what I do. Every day. I write something every single day. Most days I also connect with other authors, and there is the inevitable mountain of paperwork that goes with being self-employed. It’s a full-time job, with twelve-hour days.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Isadora: Hehehe. Ask me again, once I’ve seen the reviews for Adored by a Dragon. I recently spent two days rewriting my first phoenix shifter story. I decided that it needed some suspenseful elements to match the later books.
The trouble was I wrote Phoenix Aglow as a short Christmas story to give away. 8K is not long enough for dealing with bad guys, so while I had some shifting and lots of steam, there was no adventure. But once I took away the length cut-off, and expanded it to novella-length, there was room for phoenix Lincoln D’Angelo to save his fiancée from a pair of thieves.
It was nice to be writing suspenseful material with villains again, as my Mystic Bay books deliberately omit such elements to suit the Fun & Flirty line. Not that my other books are ever truly dark, but the hero usually gets a chance to be heroic. And his fated mate often takes a hand too! In the Mystic Bay books, the drama comes from interpersonal relations.
Phoenix Aglow will be republished in mid-Aug, 2018 with this new material. It will continue to be permafree.*
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Isadora: Tons! Always. This time, I had to research the geology of sink holes because I put one in the story. Turns out that there are sink holes in Oregon, and wet weather makes them prone to collapse. Which gave my hero, Admiral Daniel Lindorm, a realistic venue for a daring rescue. A pivot point in Adored by a Dragon.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Isadora: Admiral Lord Daniel Lindorm isa towering Swedish aristocrat. I need a tall, brawny, blond actor. Can I have 2 guys? Chris Hemsworth has the right look. Sam Elliot has the right attitude.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Isadora: Be true to yourself. Work at your craft. If you want to sell books, you need to write something that readers want to read. Which doesn’t guarantee success, but makes it more likely.
Fiona: What if being true to yourself conflicts with what readers want?
Isadora: Well, grownups make the hard decisions. Only you know if your message is incompatible with what readers are looking for. You can certainly write for yourself and keep your day job. Lots of writers do.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Isadora: I love to hear from readers. Writing is a lonely profession. On a good day, I get emails from fans. Or a new review. But otherwise, I write in a vacuum.
Every morning when I sit down at my keyboard, I imagine a harried woman opening her ereader and finding an hour or two or three of relief from the routines and strains of life by immersing herself in the story of two interesting people falling in love.
I try to write heart-warming stories with exotic elements that could transport that stressed out woman from the tedium of commuting, or cooking macaroni and cheese for the third time in as many days. Or the reality of hospitalized children or ailing parents.Plus a boss who wants 16 hours for the price of 8.Life is hard. Romances ought to be a break from that.
I try to create curvy heroines who look like real women, and behave as we all wish we could. And hot, handsome heroes who we would permit to sweep us off our feet, if we weren’t committed elsewhere.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Isadora: I am rereading Jane K. Cleland’s first Josie Prescott cozy mystery, Consigned to Death. Josie is just the sort of capable woman I most admire. She owns her own business, is kind, responsible, and knowledgeable. And her adoring boyfriend is a stalwart police chief. And Jane K. Cleland can really write. In fact, as Jane Cleland she has written two books on writing fiction that I refer to constantly.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Isadora: You won’t believe this, because it can’t be true. But I distinctly remember my grandmother looking at me one day when I was 4.
“You don’t know how to read,” says she.
So Grandma taught me to read that very afternoon and handed me A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens to practice on, since she had nothing more suitable for a child. I have been a bookworm ever since.
Even if it can’t possibly be true, that’s my story. Grandma passed away twenty-five years ago, so we can’t check with her.
Honestly, I wish I still had my big white book of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. I read that until the covers were loose! Heaven knows what became of it. I had four younger siblings. Probably they wore those pages thin.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Isadora: I like witty repartee. I deplore injustice. I am a total sucker for those video clips of naughty kittens and frolicking puppies. And moved to tears by human tragedy. There are days when Facebook with its harrowing newsstories of abused kiddies and animals is too much for me.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Isadora: More like a throng! But if you could arrange an introduction to Jane Austen, I would be eternally grateful. Why? Because she had and has no equal in the history of the English novel. Plot, dialogue, characterization, Jane Austen was the mistress of it all. And she wrote romances!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like to make my own bread. May I share an easy recipe?
Overnight Cottage Loaf
Start with ¼ tsp (1g) of dry yeast. Reanimate it in ¼ c (75ml) of warm water and a tablespoon of stone ground whole wheat until the mixture bubbles up strongly. No sugar is needed, I promise. But keep the cup warm while it revives. Takes around 10 minutes.
Weigh out 1lb 4oz (500 mg) of stone ground hard white flour (bread flour).
1 Tbs salt
Warm 4oz (125 ml) of milk and add 6oz (200ml) of filtered water. You want it to be cool room temperature.
Pour 2 Tbs of olive oil into the milk and water.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and salt mixture and add the yeast. Stir some of the flour in. Stop before it gets stiff. Gently add the milk and water. Knead just until it forms a ball. Do not work it until it is smooth and pliable. It should still be quite lumpy.
Place it in a clean, unoiled bowl. Cover with a clean, damp dishtowel. Leave overnight in a cool spot. If your kitchen is drafty and it is the wintertime, put it into the microwave.
In the morning it should be risen enough to knock down. Do this gently. Knead it 50 quarter-turns on a floured counter. Replace in a clean bowl. Let it rise for 4-6 hours. Shape it into a ball. Place in a well-greased 8” cake tin and let rise. (You can skip this step and go straight to the last rise, but the bread won’t be as flavorful.)
When it has risen but is not yet so soft that a finger poke makes it sigh or collapse, slash the top on an angle with a very sharp knife. This promotes a high risen loaf. If you go perpendicular to the dough, it will open up like a book. So don’t.
I like three curved almost horizontal cuts that open up into a flower pattern on top. Cover loaf with an oven proof bowl that is high enough to allow for expansion.
Put into a 450F (230 C) oven. After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 400F (200C) and after 30 more minutes, take it out. Be careful removing the bowl aim the opening away from your face. The steam, which gives you a beautiful golden crust, may scald you.
Rap the bottom of the loaf. If it does not sound hollow, put it back in the oven for 15 minutes at 350F (175C). If it does not release easily, it may be under-baked, or it may be stuck and need a little help from a knife.
This cottage loaf is a good keeper, but it never lasts long. Hiding the butter mayprolong its stay in your bread box.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Isadora: Reality TV. I love Say Yes to the Dress! I love the interaction of brides and entourage and those totally over-the-top dresses. And I love Vera the unflappable and talented seamstress in charge of alterations. That woman can calm Bridezilla with her placid good sense. And settle down any anxious mom-of-the bride with her excellent taste.
My readers know that I will frequently describe a fantasy dress for one of my heroines turned brides. All heroines get a HEA, but only some of them have an on-page wedding. And when they do, I go to town on the dress. And the shoes.Say Yes is my inspiration.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Isadora: Food: Right now I’m on a kimchi kick. Kimchi is a Korean fermented cabbage mixture. Sour, spicy and delicious. Goes with everything. I’m just saying.
Color: I adore periwinkle blue. A somewhat purplish blue. The perfect color for clothes and bedding. I prefer neutrals for walls so that art work is not overwhelmed.
Music: I listen to classical music. Bach, Handel, Mozart are favorites. I am fortunate to live in a city where summer or winter there is great live music being played.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Isadora: Read. I would read all day. What bliss! Except for the part where I wouldn’t eat.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Isadora: With my daughters. One last opportunity to be a family, to share a meal (assuming I’m capable), tell each other we love one another, and to give them good advice.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Isadora: She was kind.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Isadora: This is my website isadoramontrose.com
I blog on the website about my books. All my books are listed there. I post special events and promotions with other PNR authors.
However, as all but two of my books are in Kindle Unlimited, I sell mostly on Amazon. My Amazon author page is: amazon.com/author/isadoramontrose
My newsletter sign up: http://isadoramontrose.com/newsletter/