Want to know a little bit more about Isabella Wiles then read on...
Did you always know you were a writer?
Yes and No. I did write as a child and kept a journal for many years, but then one day a classmate swiped it from my bag and passed it around. I remember everyone in my class laughing at me. At the time, having my most inner secrets and private thoughts ridiculed was enough to stop me putting pen to paper for a very long time. Only very recently, one of my old classmates reminded me that they’d all thought it was brilliantly written and the self-deprecation, hilariously funny - but you never remember that part when you’re ten years old!
Is the Victoria in Love series the first thing you’ve ever penned?
No, but it’s the first fiction I’ve ever published. Over the last twenty years, I’ve written thousands of blogs and articles in non-fiction that relate to my consultancy work. I’ve had two non-fiction works published previously, initially via a traditional publisher and this year I plan to self-publish updated versions of those books, under the name Nicola Cook.
Until I started writing Victoria’s story, I’d never written a word of fiction.
Where did the idea for Victoria’s story come from?
I’ve carried Victoria’s story with me for many years. Some parts reflect aspects of my own personal struggles and growth, but Victoria’s journey is her own, not mine.
I’m a voracious reader of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Both very diverse and wide genres, but when I was penning ‘Victoria in Love’ I decided to mash these two genres together. I’ve created a romantic and thought provoking woman’s fiction story, peppered with a bit of steam. Personally, I love stories that twist and turn and where there is no obvious happy ending, which is how I write. (Check out my recommendations and reviews on my blog for some other suggested reads.)
I always deliver a satisfactory ‘Happy For Now’ ending at the end of each book, and expect a mind-blowing series finale, but not all my stories end how you would expect, which I appreciate will not endear me to everyone. If you enjoy reading Shari Low, Denise Grover Swank or Kate Field then you'll love my work whilst my readers say my stories also remind them of Judith Krantz or Sidney Sheldon. Epic sagas, intercontinental, spanning years.
You absolutely must read ‘Victoria in Love’ if you like flawed characters. They’re all doing the best they can, making mistakes, making peace with their own demons, whilst striving for loving harmonious relationships and isn’t that what we’re all doing every day in our own lives? I want my readers to feel everything my characters feel be that, passion, desire, love, struggle, pain, heartache, loss, guilt - I really put it all out there on the page. My stories are emotional for sure.
By challenging my characters with traumatic and tough real-life situations (unplanned pregnancy, sexual abuse, rape, infidelity, low male libido, marriage, divorce, abortion, miscarriage, infertility), through the safe medium of storytelling, my hope is to stimulate and contribute to ongoing debates and deliver a modicum of hope to anyone else who may have experienced trauma in their own lives. Anything that happens to Victoria could have happened to you, your sister, your best friend, your mother, your daughter. This is a real woman telling a real women's story through a fictional lens, which is why she is so relatable.
Where did you come up with the ‘style’ of the prose, writing alternating Point Of Views in the first person?
I have to credit my amazingly supportive husband for this stroke of genius. My non-fiction work is written in the second person as is the norm for that genre, so I had no experience of writing in either third or first person, but I heard Victoria’s voice clearly inside my own head and knew it had to come out in the first person. However, I felt writing a full-length three-book saga would become a bit monotonous if the reader could only be inside the head of one character, which is the main restriction of first-person prose.
At the time my hubby was reading some Nick Spalding and suggested I try that style. At first, it was a real challenge to make the male voice sound authentic, (I remember an early email from a Beta reader pointing out that Chris had ‘snuggled’ Victoria five times in as many pages!) but now I think it’s one of the real strengths of the series. I’m able to really pitch two characters against one another, taking the reader right inside their heads.
Particularly towards the ends of the books as the twists and turns begin to reveal themselves, by the end of one chapter you might empathise with one character whilst feel frustrated with another, then your opinion will totally flip the other way by the end of the next chapter once you appreciate what the other person is thinking and feeling. There are no villains in my work, even when my characters don’t always do the right thing by one another.
Where and when do you write?
My life is crazy busy and I travel all over the place, so I don’t have the luxury of a daily writing routine, but I do write every day - even if it’s only two hundred words. It’s a discipline I always stick to. I could be on a train, sat in bed, on a plane, on a tube - anywhere and everywhere I can open my laptop. My characters are never very far away.
When I’m at home, I do have a favourite armchair and during a full-on writing day, I usually switch to dictation and can rattle out five thousand words in a session. I prefer not to write at my desk in my home office, as that part of my life is very formal (spreadsheets, numbers, finance etc.) and I like to sit somewhere comfortable, close my eyes and let the words flow.
I once woke up in the middle of the night with an entire scene right there in my mind, so I snuck into our ensuite bathroom to bash down onto the page - so sometimes I could even be sat on the loo!
Do you have any advice for any aspiring authors?
Never stop learning. Hone your craft. Learn to market your work. Listen and learn to constructive feedback. Reach out and connect with other authors - we’re a friendly bunch and I’ve had nothing but support from all my peers, from all around the globe.
Accept that some people will love your work while others will hate it - and that’s OK (although it’s often a hard pill to swallow when you receive critical reviews), so stay humble when you receive praise and stay strong when others tear you down. And ultimately, if you want to write - then just write.
My personal driver is simply to pen good quality fiction and to get it into the hands of every reader who would love my stories. So if you’re one of them, then I’ve achieved my aim!
Finally, if you’re not already, I would love you to join my tribe on Facebook, follow my #authorlife on Instagram.
If you’ve read and enjoyed any of my books then I’ll be eternally grateful if you would leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, and please remember to recommend my books to all your friends and to your BookClub. (Did you know I include some thought-provoking starter questions at the back of my full-length novels specifically for BookClub-ers).
Thank you all so much and keep on reading.