Today, I’m happy to host Isabella Adams, AKA Izzy. Izzy was born in New York in the 1970’s. She has lived all over the world, and currently lives and works on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Izzy enjoys her three children (unless they are intent on rupturing everyone’s ear drums in a mile radius), the beach, her husband, and her dog, Isaac. And naps. Izzy loves a good nap.
Favorite Author: Ursula K. Le Guin, close second is FF Amanti
Favorite food: Baklava
Favorite beverage: water
Isabella draws her inspiration from the world around her. The ever evolving, ever surprising, and never boring, rock in space upon which we all sail along.
The book she’s talking about today is called Dancing For A Stranger. It’s 213 pages long and was released on April 2, 2018 by Foster Embry.
About the book:
Donny is looking for The One.
How many women will he kill before he finds her?
Five young dancers are found dead, their windpipes crushed by a serial killer. When Aphrodite, a burlesque dancer, interrupts his latest attack, she becomes his new object of desire. Dr. Andromeda Markos, along with Detective Sean Malone, and their childhood friend, Dr. Anastasia Antoniadis, fight to discover the killer’s identity before more women fall victim to his brutal violence. As they close in, the killer’s mind unravels and the friends must race against his tangled psyche in order to save one of their own.
Why did you decide to write this book?
This is the second novel based on the same characters. The first story came to me in a dream. I wrote it down, and away it went. The second one came to me in a dream as well, and begged to be written. My best friend is a burlesque dancer in France, and I believe the dream stemmed from a conversation with her about a show-gone-wrong. I work in the Greek community every day, and if I don’t write about it I will go nuts. Well, a little more nuts than I already am.
What genre is your book?
Mystery, cozy mystery, women’s fiction, or chick lit, as my husband likes to say.
Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?
Both live large in my brain, so I think it’s hard to tease them apart. If I had to choose I would say character. I could hang out with my characters and write twenty pages about them in the car on the way to a movie, so I suppose I just like spending time with them.
What makes your book unique?
The characters, the setting… not much is out there about the Greek culture in the US right now. We had My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but after that it kind of fell away (until #2, but we won’t talk about that). Physician protagonists have been done to death, in my opinion, but Dr. Markos… well, she’s not just a doc. She’s a single mother, newly in the dating pool; she’s a daughter caught up in cultural expectations; she’s a best friend and confidant. In addition, the friendships in the story are almost as important as the plot. They are based on my own relationships, of course (write what you know, right?), and I wish that every woman in the world had the opportunity to have close friends the way I do, and as Andie does.
Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
I am a super duper pantser. I have an idea and I sit down and see what happens. ‘Oh, look at that, who knew there was going to be a magic bowl in the story!’ (not in this story, of course, but another one). Things show up, twists write themselves in… I remember saying to my best friend, the dancer, “I can’t wait to sit down to see what happens next,” because even I didn’t know. That being said, I often have a general feeling as to what the end is going to look like, but as some of my closest friends can attest, endings have been known to change at the last minute.
How do you develop the names for your characters?
In this story the main names came to me in my dreams. To be fair, I do work with a woman named Aphrodite and a woman named Kaliope every day. Andie’s name likely came from a discussion the night before my dream about the Andromeda galaxy, and Sean, well, that just kind of fell into place. Sophia was my roommate in college, and Sully, while an overused nickname in my estimation, was in the dream as well.
How do you decide on a setting?
As above, most of my ideas come to me in dreams. As far as setting…if I had to think about it I’m sure I would choose a setting that would lend itself well to the theme of the book, or in which my characters would naturally reside. Unless the story was about them being out of place, then it would be in a contrary setting.
Do you have a writing mentor?
Nope. Actually, I face a lot of criticism on a regular basis. Does it count if I have a negative mentor, like I write in spite of something or someone? Because then yes, I do.
What is your writing scheduled? Do you have a favorite place to write?
Ah, yes. I do not have a schedule. I work full time, Monday through Friday, and have three children, AND am married, which is a full time job unto itself. So here’s what I do: I get up earlier than everyone else and pray, do yoga, and make coffee. I then hope for at least half an hour to myself to write something. If not, oh well. If I get it, great. Then, at work, I write on my lunch hour. I do get kind of cranky when that gets interrupted, as it often is the only time I have for my creative expressions. There have been moments, while putting the kids to bed, or standing in line at the grocery store, where a scene occurs to me, in which case I put it in my phone and transcribe it later.
As for place to write, I love my leather armchair at home. My husband’s desk is great too, but that doesn’t happen often. I write at my work station out of necessity, but I could take that or leave it. I have written on the couch watching cartoons, in bed, in a hospital, and in my car. Basically, I write where I can, when I can.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I have to say this: For anyone who has a story that lives loud in their head, write it down. And for those of you who perhaps are stuck, my best advice is this: write. Just write. Don’t censor or edit, don’t listen to the voice that tells you your work is horrible. Just write.
Don’t give space in your life to those that would sap your creative energy. There will always be someone to tell you to “be real,” or “stop thinking you can write, that’s not reality.” I write my own reality, it’s part of what we do as writers. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do this. Just write.
Where can readers find you?