LESSONS AFTER DARK
Contest & Conversation
Why do you write?
IC: Definitely for fun! I’ve always enjoyed making up stories, and it wasn’t much of a stretch to writing them down. I like getting to create characters and worlds, and to make up amusing bits of dialogue or dramatic scenes.
Name one eye-opening thing you learned from your book research.
IC: How awful it really was to be without resources back in the 1800s. No insurance, no unemployment, and pensions were very much dependent on your (or your husband’s) trade; if you weren’t really rich, a little bad luck could really ruin you, as Olivia found out in her youth.
Do you have a favorite motto?
IC: Carpe diem. Life is short—might as well enjoy it!
Do you have a favorite fictional hero?
IC: Quite a few of them! My absolute favorite is probably still Aragorn from Lord of the Rings—youthful habits stay with you—but at the moment, I am also loving Roland Deschain from King’s Dark Tower series, with a minor in Alistair and Zevran from Dragon Age: Origins.
Which fictional character would you hang out with?
IC: Kaylee from Firefly, Sunshine from, well, Sunshine (in part for the baked goods), and a whole bunch of others!
What is one of your favorite book covers, your own or someone else’s?
IC: I’m pretty enthused about the cover for Lessons. I also like the cover for Mercedes Lackey’s Unnatural Issue, which is…pastoral with zombies, or something.
What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
IC: In real life? I’m cynical and rather solitary by nature: I get more like Henry Higgins as I get older.
If you could go backward or forward in time which would you chose?
IC: Forward to stay, because I’m basically optimistic: I think society and the world improves in the long run, even if it goes through some rough bits on the way. I’d love to take a vacation in Victorian England, though, or in Mad Men world.
Isabel, please share with us more about LESSONS AFTER DARK released by Sourcebooks.
IC: It’s the story of a school for young people who, either by choice or by chance, aren’t ever going to be entirely part of the normal world; it’s also the story of two teachers there who start out not liking each other at all and end up falling in love. Looking at it as a finished work, I think it’s largely about identity: are you what you’ve done? What you want to do? How other people feel about you? How you feel about what you’ve done?
I noticed that LESSONS AFTER DARK is a sassy sensual paranormal historical romance. What is it about this genre that piqued your curiosity?
IC: Well, I’ve always really enjoyed writing fantasy: anything I write will pretty much involve woogy paranormal stuff going on. And I decided to try romance because it was a chance to really concentrate on interpersonal relationships, and how people find their place in the world.
Name one or two fascinating things you learned while researching and writing LESSONS AFTER DARK.
IC: One, like I said, is how tough things could be—especially for women on their own!
I also learned a little bit about the Anglo-Egyptian war, where Gareth picked up his wound: it sounded even nastier and for murkier motives than most wars, and really influenced Gareth's issues with honesty and trust.
Okay, I want to give a warm welcome to, Olivia Brightmore and Dr. Gareth St. John. (Waving frantically, trying to get the besotted couple’s attention). I know you two have gone through a lot to get to your happily ever after so I will try to be brief. (Blushes scarlet as she catches the intimate glance between the newlyweds, clears her throat). Okay, so you two are still in the honeymoon stage, I see. I would like to know what each of you thought when you first laid eyes on the other.
Was it love at first sight?
Olivia: Not at all! Though he was pleasant enough for, oh, the first five minutes of our acquaintance. Things degenerated rapidly after that.
Gareth: Lord, no. Not that she wasn't quite pretty, but I was in no state to think much about women at the time.
When you met, did you believe in true love? You can both answer. I’m quite curious to know both of your opinions.
Olivia: Yes, but I rather thought I'd had my chance at that already.
Gareth: Not in some years. I hadn't much thought about any kind of love, true or not.
Olivia, name the one thing about Gareth that you believe won your heart.
Olivia: His honor. He's a man who knows both what's right and what's necessary, and he'll act on that knowledge, no matter what.
Gareth, name one thing about Olivia that you believe changed your outlook on love.
Gareth: I believe it was seeing how dedicated she was to Englefield, and to the students there. I'd always known she was, ah, a very determined woman—but seeing her put that determination in the service of others was a shock. A very pleasant one, in time.
Now back to Isabel.
Isabel, what is more difficult to write: an intense sexual scene or a heart-wrenching emotional scene? Why?
IC: Both are tough! I've had somewhat more difficulty with the sexual scenes at times, purely for logistical reasons. It's tough to keep track of everyone's...hands, say...and Victorian clothing does not help!
When you were writing LESSONS AFTER DARK did you have music playing in the background? If yes, what type? Does music play an intricate part in your writing?
IC: I would have loved to, but I did most of my writing at work. I do like music a lot, though, and really enjoy finding theme songs for characters and books. “Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall” goes pretty well with LESSONS AFTER DARK at the moment, though I'd love to hear other suggestions!
Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
IC: Story, by far. Voice is important, especially when I'm in the characters' heads or writing dialogue: it's important not to have anyone sound too modern. (Except maybe Joan.) But the central part of any book, for me, is having events unfold, whether that means fighting demons or bantering across a dinner table.
Isabel, please share with desperate readers where they can connect with you in cyber world. :)
IC: Aw, thanks! My webpage is isabelcooper.org, and I have a blog linked off of there. Comments are great, and so is email!
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: That is tough! I'm really looking forward to the next books by Stephen King (Shining sequel! Dude!) and Robin McKinley; I'm also going to be downloading a lot from Emma Holly, Rose Lerner, Susanna Fraser, and Angela Knight in the future. And I have to admit that I'm kind of anticipating the next Merry Gentry novel from Laurel K. Hamilton: hot elves are like the guy version of Junior Mints, for me.
What’s next in the works for you? When can readers expect to see it out on shelves in their local bookstores?
IC: Next up is Curious Affairs At Midnight, the story of Charlotte Woodwell (who appears as a student in Lessons), a handsome government agent, the possible end of the world, and a surly hedgehog. I had a great time writing it, and it's due out in December.
Isabel thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with Over the Edge readers and myself; it has really been a blast getting to know more about you and your books.
Thank you so much for having me!
LESSONS AFTER DARK BY ISABEL COOPER – IN STORES APRIL 2012
A woman with an unspeakable past…
Olivia Brightmore didn't know what to expect when she took a position to teach at Englefiend School, an academy for "gifted" children. But it wasn't having to rescue a young girl who levitated to the ceiling. Or battling a dark mystery in the surrounding woods. And nothing could have prepared her for Dr. Gareth St. John...
A man with exceptional talent…
He knew all about her history and scrutinized her every move because of it. But there was more than suspicion lurking in those luscious green eyes. Even with all the strange occurrences at the school, the most unsettling of all is the attraction pulling Olivia and Gareth together with a force that cannot be denied.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Critically acclaimed author Isabel Cooper lives in Boston with her boyfriend and a houseplant she’s kept alive for over a year now. She maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing; all the while, she’s writing dark, edgy and magical romance novels. Her debut novel, No Proper Lady, was named a 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in the romance category, a 2011 Library Journal Best Romance of the Year and received an RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence for the month of September 2011. For more information, please visit http://www.isabelcooper.org.
Over the Edge, RCJR eZine along with Sourcebooks are proud to present the next enticing installment in paranormal romance author, Isabel Cooper's LESSONS AFTER DARK which released earlier this month. I'm sure after getting know more about Isabel and her work you will be come a devoted fan.
THE PRIZE: Two (2) eCopy of LESSON'S AFTER DARK is up for grabs.
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