Monday, March 5, 2012

Name Before the Masses Tour: Interview with Isabo Kelly!

Isabo Kelly is the award-winning, best-selling author of multiple fantasy, science-fiction and paranormal romances and erotic romances. She regularly publishes articles on the craft of writing and the writer’s life and has taught various workshops on world-building (which she claims is a lot more fun than teaching classes on dissecting insect mouth parts).

Reviewers have called Isabo’s books “Hot, hot, hot…”, “sexy, fun…”, “fast-paced, page turning…” and “Beautifully romantic…Isabo Kelly is one author you should add to your auto buy list.”

Her gypsy soul has taken her around the world, including Hawaii where she got her B.A. and worked with dolphins and Ireland where she got her Ph.D. in animal behavior watching deer. Now she’s a stay-at-home mom and a full time writer living in New York City with her brilliant Irish husband, her son and their mad dog.

Isabo's Current Releases:

Where to Find Isabo: 

TBQ: Let us begin with the typical question: Who is Isabo Kelly? Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself (no cutting and pasting from your bio, please!)

Isabo: LOL. Well, I grew up in Las Vegas of all places, determined I’d go on to work with dolphins (as you do when you grow up in a desert), moved to Hawaii for college, which was awesome, and actually got to work with dolphins. Hawaii was where I first really started writing regularly and even submitted my first few short stories to magazines. You’d think working with dolphins would be enough to keep me well entertained, but I actually found I needed another challenge.

So off I moved back to the US, worked with sharks (also fun), almost got my finger bitten by a little nurse shark while doing a TV spot (my mother still scolds me for this because she was watching and screaming at the TV as it was happening), and discovered Romance novels. I also started my first fantasy romance at this stage. 

Then I toddled off to Germany, then to Ireland for graduate school (watching deer mate this time), and met my future husband (that’s a story in itself). I also managed to get my first novel published during my Ph.D. work. After all of that, I realized the only job I’d never gotten bored with was writing. Though, I still gravitate toward travel adventures (my toddler is great on airplanes because he’s been flying since he was 3 months old). 

TBQ: I see that you have been to many different places, including German and Ireland (I'm very envious about this one!). Do you have a favorite? Is there a place you haven't been to, but you are dying to see?

Isabo: I’m not sure if I can claim to have a favorite place because I loved a lot of the places I’ve visited, but I like to think of Dublin as my adopted home town. I loved living in Ireland a lot. But it’s kind of expensive and it rains a lot! I adore Italy too, especially Florence. And I always have time to visit Paris and Vienna.
As far as places I’m dying to see, oh there are lots. I’d love to get to India at some stage. And my husband and I are talking about Istanbul in 2013 as a possible holiday destination. Actually, I have a list around here somewhere of the places I want to visit. It’s several pages long.
OH! And if they make space tourism affordable in my lifetime, I am so going to the moon! I don’t care if I’m a hundred years old, I am gonna be on that tour!

TBQ: You've written a variety of novels, including paranormal , fantasy and science fiction. Which is your favorite genre to write about?

Isabo: This is so standard, but whatever genre I happen to be writing in at any given moment is my favorite. I know, I know. But actually, I love all of these subgenres a lot, both reading them and writing in them, so it really just depends. The one thing I like the most about fantasy, though, is that I get to make everything up. When I really feel the need to develop a world from the ground up with no actual connection to Earth, I dive into fantasy worlds. That’s great fun.
But then there are the spaceships…

TBQ: Would you (or have you already) considered writing any other genres (for example, historical or erotica?)

Isabo: I’d consider writing in any other genre where I got a good idea for a story. Thrillers appeal to me (and my mom would love that since that and mystery are her favorite genres). I’d consider historicals because I love to read them, but I don’t think I have the right voice for a historical novel. I’ve written erotic romance and have considered writing more straightforward erotica, but I waver on that one. I love the genre, but I’m not sure I could write in it for very long. Maybe one day.
I try not to discount anything because I just never know where my imagination might take me. I used to say I’d never write a horror novel because I’d scare myself too much, but I’ve even been considering a good old fashioned horror book lately. LOL. See, can’t discount anything. (Although, I probably won’t be able to sleep if I write a horror novel. Or climb into bed normally—I’d have to leap from a foot away so the monsters under the bed don’t get me!)

TBQ: Your newest release, Brightarrow Burning, has been out for a few months now. But for those of us not yet familiar with it, tell us a little bit about it—in your own words. Why will my readers love it? :D

Isabo: Brightarrow Burning is a dark, angsty, emotional romp through the war torn city of Sinnale. Okay, romp is probably the wrong word. *g* It’s a sexy high fantasy story about a heroine caught up in a war and forced to distrust the man she’s loved for years because he’s an elf and his brother is officially on the wrong side of the conflict. My elf hero, Ulric, is super sexy and strong and will do anything for the heroine, Layla. Layla would love nothing more than to spend her days and nights in bed with Ulric, but she can’t trust him because of his brother. And if he turns out to be a traitor, she’d be risking more than her own life. She’s strong and conflicted, he’s gorgeous and protective. And they have a lot to overcome before they get their happily ever after—including actually staying alive.

TBQ: I know author's always hate this question, but I have to ask: where do you get the inspiration for your books? For example, Brightarrow Burning?

Isabo: LOL, you know why authors hate this question? It’s so hard to answer! I’m like most authors, though, I get my ideas from everywhere. The idea for Brightarrow Burning actually came to me while I was trying to think of an idea. A former editor asked me if I could write a story for her as a contingency to not getting all the stories due for a particular project. Before answering the email, I let my imagination go and figured it would be fun to work in a fantasy world again so it’d be nice if I had an idea along those lines. But I wasn’t really trying to think of anything specific, just let my mind do its thing in the background while I finished cleaning out my inbox. Then I got this snippet of dialogue. That snippet became the opening of Brightarrow Burning and the idea just grew from that.
More than once I’ve been working on a book and a secondary character jumps up and says, “I need a story now!” The initial idea for my very first published novel (The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan) came to me in a dream. And I got an idea for another science fiction romance (Marshall’s Guard) while I was half-napping, half-listening to Futurama. See, these ideas come from all over the place! It’s actually a little crazy. I’d be willing to bet a non-writer would consider a writer’s mind a scary place to visit.

TBQ: When sitting down to write, do you have any rituals or quirky things that you have to do, either before writing or during the process?

Isabo: My first reaction to this question is to say no, I don’t have any rituals. I really don’t. I don’t have a consistent enough writing schedule (and haven’t ever in my writing career) to be able to develop actual rituals to get me started. But, over the last few years, I actually have developed a kind of bribe for myself that gets me to sit down and put words on the page. I bribe myself by saying I only have to write one paragraph. That paragraph can be a single sentence long if that’s all it’s going to be. But all I have to do is write that one paragraph and then I can go do something else.
Once I get through the paragraph, I’m usually back into the world and too involved to stop writing so soon. But despite the fact that I love losing myself in writing a new book, it’s also hard work, and it can be hard to make myself write when I’m tired. The bribe gets me to turn on my computer and add words to my project without getting overwhelmed by the job ahead. So I guess I do have the ritual of promising myself I can get up and walk away after a single paragraph. Hey, I have a ritual!

 TBQ: Do you have a favorite hero (be it one you've created or one from another author)? Why is he your favorite?

Isabo: This one is hard because I have a lot of heroes I love. One of my favorites from my own books is Jacob Marin from Thief’s Desire. I adored him from the moment he appeared on the page as a secondary character (in a book I’ve never published), and he still holds a special place in my heart. He’s sexy, strong, and he loves women—in a good way. He’s just hard to resist.
I love Roarke from JD Robb’s In Death series (probably because he’s Irish and so is my husband). And I have to say I’m still pretty mad about Simon Bassett from Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. So tortured and wonderful all at once! This is so hard, though, because there are just so many fabulous heroes out there. The list could go on and on.

TBQ: What about a favorite book (favorite one that you have written AND favorite from another author)?

 Isabo: Favorite book that I’ve written is tough because that’s usually whatever book I’m working on. Thief’s Desire ranks high up there as one of my favorites, but I also really adore this paranormal romance I’ve written and which hasn’t been published yet. It’s a were-tiger story with a really charming and kick ass hero and a lot tension. It’s so fun. I hope I can find a home for it so I can let other’s read it too. And of course, I love Brightarrow Burning! Sexy, dark, adventure stories do tend to make me a happy writer and reader.
Favorite book from another author is really tough too because I have several depending on the genre. But my current tops are Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook, and the Alpha and Omega series from Patricia Briggs. As well as anything that Linnea Sinclair writes. Oh and Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber. She’s so good at lyrical and spooky and perfectly period books. (A lot of great authors! :D I've read one of Leanna's books, and I have to agree with you--she has a very unique and talented way of writing!)

TBQ: Can you give us a little bit of a preview on any of your upcoming works? (Titles, brief summaries, release dates, etc?)

Isabo: My next release is a science fiction romance which is the sequel to my very first published novel, The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan. The Secret of Narava is due out in late spring/early summer. When I have an exact date, I’ll put it up on my website. I’m really excited about this release because this book has been a long time in the works. The story revolves around learning much more about the alien species, the Shifters, first seen in The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan, and a quirky, geeky heroine finding her super sexy hero.
After that, my Christmas novella, Christmas Present, will be re-released in October. This is a fun paranormal romance, playing with the Ghosts of Christmas and came from the initial idea—what if the ghost of Christmas Present fell in love?
My works-in-progress include a sequel to Brightarrow Burning, which I hope my editor will like enough to contract. It’s about an elf heroine, cousin to the hero in Brightarrow, and her romance with the most dangerous elf in all of Glengowyn. The war is ratcheting up and danger surrounds them. That’s all I can say without getting into spoilers. I’ve also got a hockey romance novella, part of an anthology, that’s being shopped around. There’s a paranormal element in because that’s what I do, but there’s also a hot professional hockey player hero (Alex is very yummy too!).
That’s what I have coming up so far, but readers can check back at my website for all updates on my releases. (Might I say, I hope that the sequel to Brightarrow Burning comes through, I look forward to it!)

TBQ: Your turn to ask a question, this time for our readers:

Isabo: Thanks for having me! This was such fun. Now I would love to ask your readers, what makes you buy a book? (I think most authors would love to understand this better!) I usually decide to buy a book based on word of mouth, the author, the genre, and the blurb. Cover art may or may not get my attention, but I don’t tend to buy books based on things like cover art and title, those are just things that might make me pause over a book to read the blurb. So what about you all? I’d love to hear how other people choose their books.

Brightarrow Burning by Isabo Kelly
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (October 4, 2011)
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Summary (
War tore them apart. Betrayal could bring them together…

Layla Brightarrow’s world fell apart the day the Sorcerers invaded her city, intent on using her fellow humans’ pain to augment their spells. Worse, the neighboring elven kingdom declared neutrality, effectively abandoning her people to struggle for survival.

Then some of the elves break neutrality to trade with the Sorcerers, and Layla is ordered to assassinate Althir, brother of the elf lord she has secretly loved all her life.

When Ulric of Glengowyn uncovers his brother’s plot—and that Layla is one of the assassins sent to stop him—his first instinct is to protect her from all possible harm. He’ll even use seduction, if necessary, to get her into a position to talk some sense into her.

Years of pent-up desire is too much for Layla to resist…and one touch unleashes an unquenchable fire that changes everything. Leaving Layla caught between duty and a love that could be her destruction. Or her salvation.

Warning: This book contains evil sorcerers, a scarred heroine, a sexy elf hero, naughty language, and an intoxicating and addicting pheromone that leads to wildly hot sex. Plus traitors, deadly magic, bespelled baddies, and a really, really rotten brother. 

Where to Buy*:  Kindle | NOOK | Samhain Publishing

Read my review for Brightarrow Burning--I absoutely loved this book!


Excerpt 1 (from Chapter One):

“I knew I’d find you here.”

Layla Brightarrow flicked a glance over her shoulder, then returned her stare to the labyrinth of cobbled streets below. “What do you want, Ulric?”

“I’d like to know when you’re going to stop trying to kill my brother.”

“When he stops luring, capturing and selling my people.” She felt Ulric move up close behind her but refused to flinch. Her every sense, however, focused on his presence, his movements, his breathing. Her muscles instinctively tensed, preparing for action, but she forced her body to relax.

“You know I don’t condone what he’s doing…” Ulric murmured.

“So you’ve said.”

“But this is dangerous. For you.”

She snorted, still refusing to face him. Ulric of Glengowyn was beautiful, sexy, and the man she’d been in love with since she was old enough to understand what those strange feelings in her gut meant whenever she looked at him. He was also an elf, and while he wasn’t exactly an enemy now, he wasn’t an ally either. “Go away, Ulric.”


“If you’re so concerned about your brother—”

“I could care less about that traitor, and you know it.”

She turned her head just enough to glance at him from the corner of her eye. “Do I?”

“Don’t play games, Layla. You know I don’t support the traitors.”

She made a vague noise in the back of her throat to keep from giving him a direct reply and looked out over the cityscape again.



During Isabo's tour, she will be giving away:

A $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter!

To Enter:
Mandatory: Leave a comment answering Isabo's Question, complete with a valid email address!
Or, if you do not wish to leave your email in the comment section, it must be visible on your Blogger profile. No Email Address, No Entry!

Here is Isabo's question: What makes you buy a book?

And be sure to stop by the other stops on the tour, not only to learn more about Isabo's work, but also to increase your chances of winning. Good luck!

I would like to say a big thanks to Isabo for being here today--I enjoyed our interview, and I look forward to reading more of your books in the future! 

I would also like to thank Goddess Fish for allowing me the opportunity to host Isabo, as well as providing me with a copy of Brightarrow Burning to review (my reviews posts March 26th--please check back then!). 


Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Mary Preston said...

A wonderful interview thank you. To buy a book I first need to know it exists. Book blog tours are a great place to start. I look at genre, author, reviews. A well written blurb will convince me too.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Isabo today.

Anonymous said...

Covers are always a first draw for me, most especially if I'm considering a new author. The blurb should be interesting enough to make me want to read a chapter excerpt. This comes into play for me when I'm visiting publishing sites. Often, new to me authors come from word of mouth and VBTs like this one.

I have to agree though, Thief's Desire was a great book!

Good luck with Brightarrow Burning and your upcoming releases.

Isabo Kelly said...

Thanks for having me here today! I really enjoyed doing this interview.

Marybelle glad to hear blog tours help! :) I wondered if reviews helped. I do notice a book will get my attention from a review. Thanks!

Scarlett, I think covers are is important too if only to tell me what genre I'm looking at when I investigate a book. Thanks!

On this topic, I picked up a book recently because I thought the title was dumb, looked closer at the cover art and paused, read the blurb, looked at the author copywrite notice & realized the book was written by one of my favorite authors under a pseudonym and the genre was one I love! I didn't get that at first glance at the book, but the dumb title actually made me pick the book up investigate. so titles do matter for me! LOL

The_Book_Queen said...

Hi marybelle,

Thanks for stopping by! I have to agree with you, there are so many possibly great books out there that I probably have no yet discovered purely because I have yet to see them or hear about them. :)


The_Book_Queen said...

Hi Scarlett Valentine,
Thanks for stoping by! :)

YEAH--another Cover Lover! :D Covers grab my first, then titles (or authors, if it's one I know) and then I'll look at the blurb. At least when I'm looking online. In an actual store, I might look at the blurb second.


The_Book_Queen said...

I'm curious now--what book was this that you picked up?! :)


Isabo Kelly said...

Its called Assassin's in Love! I hope the author does get mad at me but I really did hate the title and yet I bought the book! LOL Its by Kris DeLake which is the pseudonym for Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I love her. and the book is actually a sci-fi romance which is a genre I adore. I'm really looking forward to reading the book. Actually might have missed it though if not for title that made me cringe so I think she knew what she was doing with that title. :-)

Robin Greene said...

Hey, Isabo!

How are you doing?

What makes me buy a book?
1. Author - If I've enjoyed the author and the subject before.
2.Subject and Genre.
3. Word of Mouth

robincgreene @

Karen H said...

Several factors come into play when I buy a book. First is author and genre. If it's a new-to-me author, then I rely on recs from fellow readers and friends then trusted blog reviews. I never go book shopping without a list of books to buy. And I don't buy anything not on that list. If I see a book not on the list that I think I would like, I make a note of it and research it at home. Who knows, if it sounds good in the store, I might already have it on my evergrowing TBR pile!

Question for you: This story sounds like it would translate well to film. If your book were to be made into a movie, who do you see playing the major characters?

kareninnc at gmail dot com

MomJane said...

Actually, I used to browse through Barnes and Noble and the library. Now I follow tours because I have discovered new writers and very delightful stories. I love the sound of the next one you are writing too. I love sci fi and fantasy.

Isabo Kelly said...

Hi Robin! Word of Mouth seems to be a big one. I listen to friends about books a lot.

Isabo Kelly said...

Karen you are so disciplined! I'm impressed. I am a disaster for walking out with more than I meant to buy. LOL. This is why I have to be careful how after I go to a bookstore.

For actor to play my characters: I am really really bad at this. They never look like other people in my head, just like themselves so I've always had a hard time casting my books. Hmmm... Yeah I have no idea at the moment. I'll go internet rolling and see if I find some likely candidates. :-)

Isabo Kelly said...

Tours are a great way to learn about new writers I'm finding. It's nice getting to know a prospective new to me author. Glad others like this method too!

Very happy to hear my next book sounds good to you, MomJane! I'm a big sci fi and fantasy lover as well so it's exciting to meet others who love these genres.

Isabo Kelly said...

Oh another way I've discovered new to me authors is reading one of their stories in an anthology. Anyone else ever do that?

The_Book_Queen said...

I just read that one last month, actually, and my review will be posting soon. I'll be honest---I wasn't thrilled with it at all, and it had nothing to do with the cover or title...

Hope you have fun reading it though! :)


The_Book_Queen said...

I know I've discovered new authors that way, Isabo! I just finished "Kiss Me, I'm Irish", and while all three authors are big names in the business, I had never read any of their books. After the taste I had in that anthology though, I put all of them on my list! :)


Isabo Kelly said...

Cool! I've done the same thing but I hear from publishers that apologies aren't great sellers. Maybe not but they work for me for finding new authors! And I like short reads for when I'm too busy for a full novel. Yay for anthologies!

Catherine Lee said...

TBQ...I'm glad to hear that you loved the book. I look forward to reading the review.

Isabo...As a librarian, I depend heavily on reviews in standard, vetted review sources when I am selecting books for my library. I guess that has carried over to selecting things for my own reading. I look for reviews and word of mouth from people I trust.

catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Isabo Kelly said...

Ah, interesting. I'm looking forward to reading your review! I'd better read the book first though LOL

Isabo Kelly said...

Ah that's very interesting Catherine. I have wondered how much reviews come into play, and its particularly interesting that you use them for the library. very cool to know.

Isabo Kelly said...

LOL my auto correct strikes again. apologies above = anthologies