Please help the us welcome Isabel Cooper to Romancing the Book. We’re happy to have her stop by and I have to thank my staff for helping me interview her. Enjoy!!
IC: At the end of No Proper Lady, Simon and Joan decided to start training other people to continue the war against dark forces. In Lessons After Dark, that training begins, and Englefield Hall plays host to a small crowd of students: some interested in the unseen world, some drawn into it by their own powers. Olivia Brightmore, a former fake medium who discovered real magic, arrives to help teach, and almost immediately finds herself in conflict with Gareth St. John, the handsome school doctor who met her years ago and still suspects she’s a fraud. They don’t like each other, they don’t trust each other—but they have to work together, especially because matters at Englefield start getting darker and more dangerous than either of them could’ve expected.
Since finishing No Proper Lady, I was pretty sure that my next book was going to involve Englefield and its founding. I really enjoy stories about the start of organizations; I also like academic settings a lot. One of my major inspirations was the X-Men. Jean Webster’s Dear Enemy was another—particularly for a hero and heroine who start out really not getting along!
IC: With considerable difficulty! 😉
Finding the right title is actually one of the hardest parts of the book for me, and one where I owe a lot to Leah Hultenschmidt, my editor, and the rest of the Sourcebooks team. We usually go back and forth a few times, narrowing down a small list, and there’s often at least one change before the book goes to press.
IC: I would really love to take a slow boat around the world, actually. I love the idea of being on the “road” and not really under your own power—just going wherever the journey takes you—wandering around in a bunch of different cities, and so on, while still having time to relax during the day. I’d like to see Australia, particularly, and some of the Mediterranean, and I’d love to spend more time in the UK.
IC: I’ve been making up stories as long as I can remember—my sister and I used to stage murder mysteries with our Barbies, usually involving the sabotage of plastic Jet Skis—but at some point around sixth or seventh grade, I wrote a story for a class project. I wasn’t the most popular kid in middle school, God knows, but everyone was laughing in the right places and seemed interested. I realized that this thing I did for my own good time could also entertain other people.
IC: I’d like to, but I end up writing at too many odd places and times these days. If I did, it would probably involve a lot of soundtracks from Regency movies, mixed with intense battle music, and maybe a couple tracks from Silent Hill when things get too creepy. (I love lyrics, but find them too distracting when I write.)
IC: There’s a great sense of potential about it. I like the idea that there’s something more to the world than what we see, and that people can learn to interact with that extra dimension in a number of ways: fighting some things, learning to use others, and so on.
Plus, I was exposed to Lord of the Rings early in life, and have been a ginormous fantasy geek ever since.
IC: Well, I lived all over the place growing up—Pennsylvania until I was eight, then Southern California, then back to the East Coast for boarding school in Massachusetts, down to Rhode Island for college, and finally up to Boston—and went on a lot of family trips, too, so I got a taste for travel that’s never really left. I like both video games and ballroom dancing, thus covering both sides of some spectrum or other, and really never got over my Lisa Frank phase. And I have horrible judgment in footwear: everything I buy turns on me the moment I try walking to work in it.
I’ve got a website at www.isabelcooper.org, where you can find book announcements and a link to my blog!
- 2 winners will each win a copy of Lessons After Dark.
- The contest is open to US and Canadian residents only.
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- While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
- The contest ends on Wednesday, April 25.