About the Author
Isabo Kelly is the award-winning author of numerous science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romances. Her life has taken her from Las Vegas to Hawaii, where she got her BA in Zoology and worked with dolphins, back to Vegas where she looked after sharks and snakes, then on to Germany and Ireland where she got her Ph.D. in Animal Behavior watching deer mate.
Now Isabo focuses on writing. She lives in New York with her Irish husband, two beautiful boys, and funny dog. She works as a full time author and stay-at-home mom.
What inspires you to write romance books?
I love the complexities of romance stories. The emotion, the tension, the sex of course, the ups and downs on the way to a satisfying final relationship are just fantastic things to write about. So much potential drama in all that! And that search for love and a satisfying relationship are universal topics, something most readers can relate to on some level. Since I write science fiction and fantasy, bringing the universality of a romance story to those subgenres gives readers a way to relate to the fictional world even in the most unfamiliar backgrounds.
Tell us about how you write:
Almost completely by the seat of my pants. 🙂 I’ve had to learn how to plan out a little as I’ve gone on in my career, but I’m a very organic writer. I generally have a good idea where the story starts, a vague idea how it needs to end (since this is romance there has to be a happy-for-now or a happily-ever-after for the main couple), and maybe a few basic ideas of what might happen in the middle. I absolute have to have the characters in mind–with at least a basic knowledge of their backstory. I learn more about them as I write, but I have to have the basics to get started. Without characters, though, I can’t even start writing. They’re the most important part of my process. Once I’ve got that very general framework, I sit down and write and see how things go.
I really enjoy the first draft most of the time too because it’s like discovery and exploration. I love traveling, and I travel the way I write–get there with a vague idea of the location then see what’s going on as I explore. I don’t necessarily recommend this way of writing if you can write any other way because I have to do a lot of editing. At this stage in my career, I’ve gotten it down to 2 to 3 rounds of edits before I show the book to anyone, but I do still have to edit a lot. It’s the only way I can work, though. I’ve tried a few other methods and this is just what does it for me.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Oh yeah, definitely. They always surprise me, and what they tell me tends to be the exact right thing for the story so I listen and follow along. In fact, I usually have a harder time with a story when I’m trying to force a character to do things for plot rather than listening to them. This is one of those things that makes me glad I’m a writer. I’d probably still be hearing these people talking to me, and if I wasn’t writing down their stories, someone might start to think I’m in need of therapy. This way, I have a very valid excuse for the voices in my head.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write the type of books you love. Don’t try to write to the industry, especially if it’s in a subgenre you don’t particularly like, because it will show in your fiction. And it will make the writing more work than enjoyment. The business is tough enough as it is, and we have to do so much that is outside the actual writing. But the writing is the most important part of the job and it should be the part we actually enjoy. So write the kinds of books you want to write, the stories you have to tell, the book you’d pick up in a bookstore if you saw it. Then no matter what happens, you’ll have something joyful to look forward to, especially when other aspects of the business get difficult.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m publishing the Fire and Tears series (epic fantasy romance) through Samhain Publishing. I love working with my editor there and they give me excellent cover art. Plus, I just adore the company. They are a super publisher to work with. I have my science fiction romance series with another small press publisher–Tirgearr Publishing. I love them too. I do have one book self-published (an anthology called Going All In), and I think I’ll try my hand at self-publishing more in the future. But for now, I’m enjoying the relationships I have with my current publishers.
For new writers, I highly recommend looking into all the options and not eliminating any of them. From everything I’ve learned and studied over the years, the best way to survive in this changing field is to make sure you diversify and don’t put all your books in one basket. I’ve had a few publishers close on me, so I learned that lesson even before the self-publishing option became so popular and easy. I’m a big believer in diversity. However, that said, do your research. Every author must choose the publishing path that works best for them. None of our careers will look like anyone else’s. That’s kind of the fun part.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I love all the possibilities open to writers now. We’ve never had so much freedom to control our careers. And it means books I might not have ever seen as a reader, I get to enjoy now. I love that.
I think the industry will continue to change and evolve. I worry about that change on one level–I worry all this freedom we’ve gained will vanish and we’ll have to go back to the strictly traditional way of publishing. I know the only thing that’s guaranteed in our industry is change, though, and so I try to keep an open mind. I’m also very careful about the contracts I sign! I do think we have a very bright future, but I approach it cautiously.
What genres do you write?
fantasy romance, science fiction romance, paranormal romance
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Both eBook and Print