Studioenp: Silence or noise when writing?
Isabelle Drake: Music or a movie. Music if I’m revising or editing; a movie if it’s a first draft. Is that odd to watch one story while writing another? Probably. Focusing on the movie helps me get into my subconscious. And it keeps me from self-editing while I’m getting the bones of the story down.
Studioenp: Whatever works for you! Sounds like it does, so that’s all that matters. What’s your latest release?
Isabelle Drake: My erotic horror, Servant of the Undead from Riverdale Ave Press.
Studioenp: Oooh, horror. Brilliant! How did the plot come about for it?
Isabelle Drake: It came from a writing prompt I was assigned while working on my MFA in Creative Writing. The assignment was to read a tabloid newspaper and pull an inspiration from one of the stories. I pulled from three. One about a blizzard, one about how to get ready for a zombie attack, and one about Barbie.
Studioenp: LOL! Quite a mix there. How long did it take you to write it?
Isabelle Drake: About a year. I wrote the first bit as a short story then, because I couldn’t stop thinking about Mattie, the main character, I wrote more.
I wrote a lot of it in a bowling alley while drinking Stroh’s beer.
Studioenp: Ah, the dreaded character thing where they still have something to say. That can be tortuous on the old brain. You did the right thing by giving in, otherwise, Mattie might still be yapping in your ear now. What’s next on your writing list?
Isabelle Drake: A dystopian urban fantasy and a book to follow Servant of the Undead.
Studioenp: Oooh, dystopian. Great stuff. Plotter or panster?
Isabelle Drake: Both. I start a new story, write until I’m stranded, then plot.
Studioenp: Great! What is your go-to form of procrastination?
Isabelle Drake: Watching baseball, riding my bike, other work.
Studioenp: How many hours per week do you write?
Isabelle Drake: It varies. I teach college writing so during the semester its ten. In the summer, twenty-five. On breaks…maybe something in between.
Studioenp: Wow, a lot whichever number it is. Dedication or what! What’s one genre you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t—and will you ever write it?
Isabelle Drake: So far I’ve written: erotic romance, sexy romance, sweet romance, romantic suspense, Chick Lit, erotic horror, grit lit (yes, I just made that up—it’s like noir but without the smoke-filled bars or femme fatales/women who need saving), young adult romance, and young adult thriller. I’ve been writing for a while so I’ve had the opportunity to try multiple genres.
The sci-fi I’m working on will be the first sci-fi I’ve published so I’m excited about that.
Studioenp: It all sounds rather exciting. Lots of different genres there. What’s the best book you’ve written?
Isabelle Drake: Servant of the Undead. It combines the best of my commercial and literary skills. It’s not something I expected to write so when I did, I didn’t have any preconceived ideas of what it should be. So I let the story be what it already was.
Studioenp: Yes, that’s the best type of writing experience. Just let it go where it wants to, regardless of what’s trendy at the time. If it needs to come out, out it comes! What’s your favourite drink and why?
Isabelle Drake: Bourbon whiskey. Because each brand tastes a bit different. Because it’s a pretty colour. Because it smells good. Because it burns when you drink it.
Studioenp: LOL @ the burn. Well, I think your deserve a bourbon after all you’ve been up to lately. Thanks so much for being with us today, we really appreciate it.
Dear readers, please grab a drink (all right, we’ll allow you some bourbon if you so please. It’s in the cupboard there, at the back) and a slice of vanilla cake covered in oodles of creamy icing. Then feast your eyes on Isabelle’s excerpt.