Title: NO PROPER LADY
Read an Excerpt
It’s Terminator meets My Fair Lady in this fascinating debut of black magic and brilliant ball gowns, martial arts, and mysticism.
Simon Grenville has his own reasons for wanting to destroy Alex Reynell. The man used to be his best friend—until his practice of the dark arts almost killed Simon’s sister. The beautiful half-naked stranger Simon meets in the woods may be the perfect instrument for his revenge. It will just take a little time to teach her the necessary etiquette and assemble a proper wardrobe. But as each day passes, Simon is less sure he wants Joan anywhere near Reynell. Because no spell in the world will save his future if she isn’t in it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Debut author Isabel Cooper lives in
and maintains her guise as a
mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing. She only travels
through time the normal way and has never fought a demon, but she can waltz.
Her next book, No Honest Woman, will
be in stores in April 2011. For more information, please visit http://isabelcooper.wordpress.com. Boston
Author of No Proper Lady
What is the best part of being a writer? What is the worst?
IC: The best part is getting to create stories. When everything’s going well, it’s like a game: I put this character with this other one, in this situation, and see what happens. Also, because my plots and stories tend to be on the bizarre end, describing them to my friends is hilarious. “…and he’s attracted but he says something snotty to disguise it and she smiles but is inwardly all ‘I will stab you with a hatpin, fool’ and then the dining room explodes. No, it actually explodes. There’s a thing with a demon.”
The worst is probably getting stuck on a scene and not knowing how to get around it. It’s rather frustrating—but hardly the worst thing ever. There’s not much about writing that I don’t like, come to think of it, other than the occasional software glitches and so forth. Actually, the worst part may be “wait, I had a file here”, but that’s less of a problem these days: I am paranoid about backups.
Why do you write?
IC: Because it’s fun, basically: that’s why I do just about anything that doesn’t directly keep me alive. I’m quite the hedonist.
Really, though, telling stories in one form or another is something I don’t think I could get away from if I tried. I end up thinking out stories when I’m walking, and when I don’t have some narrative project or other going on, I get weird and twitchy and restless.
Name one eye-opening thing you learned from your book research.IC: Just how varied the Victorian Era was. We’ve had a tendency—though steampunk has mitigated this in the last few years, which is awesome—to think of “Victorian” as a synonym for repressed, stratified, and overly mannered. In some places and times, that’s correct, but it definitely wasn’t universal. The first waves of feminism, socialism, religious plurality, and even gay rights were emerging during the late 19th century; science was making new discoveries and coming up with strange theories; and all sorts of weird countercultures were busy pushing various boundaries.
Do you have a favorite motto?IC: “Carpe diem”. I don’t know if we only get to go around once, but this is the only time we’re here and who we are. Might as well enjoy it as much as we can.
Do you have a favorite fictional hero? Favorite fictional heroine?
IC: On heroes, it’s a two-way tie between Aragorn and Giles—I apparently like men with accents and destinies, who knew?—with a small yet vocal minority in favor of Conan. (Not as played by
, though.) Arnold
Which fictional character would you hang out with?
IC: I’m assuming this is “just hang out with,” not “hang out with and attempt to hit on,” in which case see the fictional heroes thing, plus David Bowie’s character in Labyrinth. Honestly, I might hang out with that guy anyhow. He seems like he’d be entertaining.
What is one of your favorite book covers, your own or someone else’s?
IC: Can I pick those seriously bejeweled books in the opening of the Disney princess movies? Those were *awesome*.
What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
IC: I was the least romantic person ever back in high school and early college—I think my entire MP3 collection was along the lines of “Love Stinks”, I scorned anything to do with makeup and fashion, and man, was I a pain.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever learned by Googling your name?
IC: I found the Wikipedia entry on Isabel Cooper-Oakley, a Victorian lady and Theosophist who wrote a lot of books on the Count of Saint-Germain and Freemasonry. She married Alfred J. Oakley, and he changed his name as well.
I had no idea about any of this when I went with “Cooper”—it’s actually my middle name—but coincidence is neat!
If you could go backward or forward in time which would you chose? Why?IC: Backward if I could come back afterwards—men had fashion sense a few decades ago and more of them could dance, plus I’d love to be able to get some vintage clothing on the cheap—but forwards if I had to stay there. Assuming the future isn’t Joan’s, of course. I don’t think I’d be very good at fighting demons.
Isabel, please tell us more about your debut novel, No Proper Lady, in stores this month from Sourcebooks Casablanca.
IC: As I hint in the question above, my heroine, Joan, is from a dark future. Demons rule the world, most people are either pets or food, and the few who aren’t are a ragtag band of warriors hiding out in caves and losing. Joan comes back in time to kill Alex Reynell, the man who brought this future about—and meets up with Simon, his former best friend. Simon agrees to help Joan out by teaching her how to fit into Victorian society, and the two of them end up falling for each other in the process.
Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
IC: It’s a bit of a balance, but I’d go with story. That doesn’t mean I need all sorts of action, but there has to be a compelling plot, and I have to like the protagonist characters. Voice and style is great, but if I hate the hero or the story doesn’t go anywhere, I’m pretty much done.
Isabel, please tell us where we can find you out in cyber world.
IC: I’m still working on getting a web page together, insofar as I’m really bad at coding. You can find my blog at isabelcooper.wordpress.com, though, or I’m Isabel Kunkle on Google+.
I know this is a difficult question with there being so many amazing authors out there to choose from but who are some of the
GOT-TO-HAVE authors in your TBR pile?
IC: Ooh. Huge pile—I’m so glad for both ebooks and my library, since I’m paranoid about acquiring too much stuff. (Moved sixteen times in ten years. Argh.) Just off the top of my head: Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Robin McKinley, Naomi Novik, and Diane Duane.
What’s next in the works for you? When can readers expect to see it out on shelves in their local bookstores?
IC: My next book is No Honest Woman, coming out in April 2012. It features Gareth, a former Army surgeon with healing powers and Olivia, a fake medium who learned real magic by accident, both of whom become teachers at the school Simon and Joan found—sort of the Victorian magical equivalent of Xavier’s School for the Gifted from X-Men.
Thank you Isabel!! It has been a pleasure having you stop by to share more about you and your fantastic book. =)
Celebrating the the September 2011 release of "NO PROPER LADY" by debut author Isabel Cooper Over the Edge will be giving two lucky readers the chance to win a copy. Here is what you will need to do to enter.
* If you could time travel where would you go?
Who would you be?
What would you do?
*Leave a comment for
*Tell us what you like about
NO PROPER LADY
The giveaway is open to ALL readers and will be running until October 1, 2011. I'll be picking and contacting the winners directly on October 2, 2011. One entry per reader. Please make sure to include your email with your comment.