Author Interview: Issabelle Perry
Y'all have probably seen this beautiful girl hangin' around my little ol' blog. In fact, she was the one who wrote this fabulous guest post. Not to mention, she's part of the super fantastic Teen Writers' Nook, which you totally need to check out. Oh, and she's also my twin sister.
But what you may not know is that Izzy just had her short story, Fairly Impish, published in Owl Hollow Press' Change the World anthology this past month! So that means I get to have my amazing friend on for an author interview!!! SQUEE!! I guess this one is both an author and a blogger interview, since Issabelle is better known for TWN.
Either way you look at it, I am BEYOND honored to spotlight this beautiful-inside-and-out person and share her awesomeness with y'all! She is so full of joy and life and wisdom!
So here we go!
GJ: What first inspired you to write?
IP: Truth was, I was bored one day and just started writing. Okay, I’ll give a better answer. XD My mom is a writer, and when she published a novel back in 2013, it made my older sister, Katherine, want to write. Well, I had always looked up to Katherine and if she was writing, then I needed to as well. So I sat down, wrote like a page in my story idea, and gave up the next day. Don’t worry, I ended up getting bored again, wrote a little more, and eventually writing just stuck.
GJ: What are the driving forces behind your writing now?
IP: I’ve honestly been trying to figure that out. I guess I have stories in my head and I want others to read them. I know I want God to somehow use me to help expand His Kingdom, but I’m not sure yet how my li’l ole stories are gonna accomplish that. So I guess it’s the hope and faith that God wants me writing right now for some reason that is my driving force!
GJ: Can you name any authors who have inspired your voice in different ways? How can you see their influence in your writing?
IP: First I must say Ally Carter. She was the first YA author I ever read, and as soon as I found her, I immediately started devouring any thing of hers I got my hands on. When I began writing one of my first novels, I noticed my writing voice strongly mirrored hers with short sentences, use of one-line paragraphs, and ALWAYS leaving my chapters with a strong cliff hanger. However, my writing voice now bears more of a mix between Ally Carter, Jennifer A. Nielsen, and my own unique side. I still see Carter’s influence in the short sentences and paragraphs, but I noticed a lot of my character monologue and descriptive words bear a resemblance to Nielsen.
GJ: What are some of your most favorite books/genres—to read and to write?
IP: First off, I obviously love the fantasy and fairytale retelling genres, they’re my favorite to write in. My favorite genres to read are spy fiction, action-adventure fiction, historical romance, Grace A. Johnson *cough* that’s a genre, right? *cough* and I do enjoy a good thriller as long as it’s not too intense. Basically, write me a thriller like Ally Carter’s Embassy Row Series, keep it clean, add some spies, politics, and suuper hot Russian boys, and you’ll be my favorite author for life! XD
GJ: What do you do when you aren’t writing?
IP: *thinking hard to the rare occasion when I’m not writing or doing school* Well, if I’m not writing most likely I’m reading, blogging, talking, eating (VERY important XD), designing stuff on Canva, listening to music, or watching tribute videos to Legolas is that really the best way to spend your time, Izzy? I also take dance lessons and am in Girl Scouts. Guys, I never said I was interesting.
GJ: Your short story, Fairly Impish, was just published in a teen anthology (which is super exciting)! Can you tell me a little bit about it?
IP: Yes, I’ve been just bursting with excitement over its publication!!!!!! Sure!! Fairly Impish is a YA fantasy short story about sixteen year old Aria Kessler. For the past few weeks she’s been having this exact same dream over and over and over of this boy. Well, one day that very same boy appears out of nowhere in her bedroom and tells her his kingdom’s existence is at stake and he needs Aria to help. Before she knows it, Aria is whisked to a strange new world. But she will have to look past her flaws if she wants to find the courage to do the right thing!
GJ: What are you working on now?
IP: Right now I’m working on my latest YA medieval fantasy novel, Heir to His Crown, about a young prince who has to reclaim his kingdom from a tyrannical ruler. There is an infamous rebel group, magical and dangerous daggers, a forbidden love, and overall a story about how the most broken people can still find the courage and strength to save the day.
GJ: Do you mind sharing a little bit about your writing process for this story? Are you pantsing it or plotting it? How far along are you?
IP: So this novel’s process was a bit different than what I normally do. I had started it during a week-long writing competition and came in with very small planning. Basically all I knew were the names of a few characters and that the MC was a prince who was going to reclaim the throne and there was a rebel group. AND THAT WAS IT! But as I said, I was in a writing competition. I didn’t have time to plan anything out - imagine what happened when a character showed up and I had to come up with a name on the spot. So, though I’m more of a plantster, this novel I’ve been full-blown pantsing and it’s been WONDERFUL! I’ve enjoyed being able to just have fun with my story and do whatever I want. As I write this, I have a little over 55,000 words written of what I’m hoping to be an 80K novel. I think if I make a lot of time to write, I can wrap this story up in a couple of weeks. (Also as a side note: DO NOT get really into The Hobbit movies and start listening to the credits song of the second movie - “I See Fire” - while trying to write a medieval fantasy novel. You may end up with waaaaay too many scenes that involve fire in some way XD)
GJ: What are your thoughts for other aspiring writers on writing?
IP: That if you want to be a writer, then you can. The question never is can I be a writer. The true question is: Will you write? If the answer is yes, then you CAN be published. I’m going to quote one of my friends I was talking with one day about how hard it was to be an author and be published. Whether you publish traditionally or independently, it’s gonna be hard. There’s no easy ticket in this business. But she told me: “You can do the hard things because the hard things are usually the ones worth doing.” Yes, writing’s hard but keep pressing forward (maybe gather a couple of crazy cheerleaders and a good pile of chocolate) and if being published is what you (and if you’re a Christian, God) wants keep aiming towards it and YOU CAN DO IT! And in the end, you’re gonna be soooo glad you did!!!!
GJ: What do you want your readers to take away from your writing?
IP: I want my readers to walk away believing that no matter how flawed or broken you are, no matter how far you’ve run, or if you believe you’re weak, a coward, or whatever. The world still needs heroes like you. In fact, those are the very people that God uses to do great things. Maybe, like me, you’ve tried so hard to do or be things and you’ve failed. Maybe you tried to rise and you stumbled. Maybe you’re so tired of this cycle of trying and failing and you’re just ready to give up. Can I just say that I’ve been there! But that is the moment when you will rise the highest, when you will stand the strongest. That is the moment, oftentimes, when one chooses to just simply stand for what’s right. And that small act changes lives. Standing for what’s right is how heroes save the world. Maybe you’re not very courageous or bold. But this is what I wrote in my novel, Into the Lamp: Courage is made when you rise and keep pressing forward. Courage comes with a choice. If you choose to fight for what’s right, then you will find your God-given courage. There’s one thing all my characters have in common. They are broken and flawed and yet they have to save a world or a kingdom. Or their friends and family. Whatever it is, they are unlikely heroes who do extraordinary things.
GJ: Have you ever endured any discouragement being a young author? If so, what inspired you to persevere?
IP: Yes, I actually have. I had stumbled across some published dude’s website and he had a blog post about some things all young authors need to know. And the first point was, and I quote, “Your writing sucks.” Yes, that’s what this dude said. He assumed, because the things he wrote in high school were bad, that all teen writers' works were terrible. Now, I’m not the best writer ever, but I read teen authors' writings EVERY SINGLE DAY and many of them are writing stories that would rival any book you’d find in a store. If you don’t believe me, go read a book by the lovely girl running this blog. I just read Grace’s short story Six O’Clock a few weeks ago and I’m STILL blown away by it over here!!!!! What inspired me to persevere was basically ‘cause I just wanted to show that dude how wrong he was about me and other teen authors. XD (Yes, I’m that kind of person.)
GJ: What are your greatest aspirations for your future, be it as a person or as a writer?
IP: Wow, GREAT question!!!! Lemme see...Outside of my writing, I’m not quite sure what else God’s got in store for me. I kinda feel called to be a Christian speaker, like Priscilla Shirer, but I’m not sure if God and I are gonna do anything with that road yet. XD Right now, I feel like that’s something we’re gonna focus on later. As a writer, I’d just REALLY LIKE for one of my novels to be published, whether that be traditionally or independently. I’ve still got my fingers crossed for Into the Lamp, but I’m kinda smart enough to know when I need to move on to another story. So I’m definitely looking at seeing Heir to His Crown to publication, if the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
GJ: What has being a writer taught you?
IP: Honestly, as I’ve been writing, I’ve been seeing a lot of parallelism between God and writers. God is the author of our story. And how authors have to sometimes allow bad things to happen to our characters because we know in the end it is what’s best for them, sometimes God allows bad things to happen to us because it will change us and make us stronger Christians.
GJ: I absolutely love your blog, Teen Writers’ Nook! Tell me a little bit about how that came to be!
IP: Aww, THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, it all started with the virus we do not speak of. With the pandemic, Teen Author Boot Camp’s conference had to be postponed so they did some free webinars instead. Well, I follow my favorite author, Jennifer A. Nielsen’s site and she posted mentioning how she was going to do one of those webinars. I signed up and attended all of the other webinars that followed. I learned SO MUCH about writing and I was in a communityish of other aspiring teen writers like me. Plus I believe it was around this time when I read that article about the dude who talked negative about teen authors. Anyways, I knew I wanted to inspire and motivate other teen authors like TABC did for me. My mom had mentioned starting a blog and it just seemed SO perfect. So at the end of May, I opened Google Sites and created TWN!!! YAAY, right? Well, come to find out there was this thing called comments that blogs needed and well, the new Google Sites didn’t have that. So in June, I went to Wix and created the new TWN site which then went live on July 31, 2020. Well, it didn’t work out quite as I had hoped, so TWN changed sites yet again at the end of September before we found our *hopefully* forever home at WordPress. And that’s where we’ve stayed since. It’s not been an easy road, but I’ve been really surprised and proud of where TWN is at right now. I don’t know all of God’s plans for this little whim of an idea, but I can’t wait to see where TWN is headed in God’s roadmap of life!
Issabelle Perry is an ENFP published author of YA fantasy, a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, and a self-proclaimed exclamation mark enthusiast. She is a co-founder behind Teen Writers’ Nook, a website devoted to motivating and supporting teen authors. Her short story “Fairly Impish” was featured in Owl Hollow Press’s 2021 Change the World: All-Teen Anthology. What she’s probably doing right now is either fangirling about her favorite books to random people or scanning the pantries for chocolate. You can find her online at teenwritersnook.com!