Wednesday 7 January 2009

Q & A with Inbali Iserles

I'm very excited to present you with my first interview ever. Inbali Iserles, the award winning author or The Tygrine Cat and The Bloodstone Bird, was so kind to agree to answer a few questions about her books. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.
To read why I like her books and why you should read them, go here and here.
While if you want to know more about her, visit her website: The bio article is worth a reading, as well as the Q&A...oh by the way, I love Marmite too!

Q: Hello, Inbali! Can you tell us something about your second book? Was it hard to come up with an idea after your first book? Did you feel the pressure of expectations or was it easier because you're now a published author?

A: In my second book, The Bloodstone Bird, a quest for an enchanted bird takes school boy Sash and his classmate Verity to a dangerous parallel world. The adventure starts behind a lonely taxidermy shop in an unassuming city street where Sash’s father practises his trade. Life for Sash seems bleak: his schoolmates torment him, sensing an outsider, and his father is too busy to notice – lost in his mysterious research. Everything changes when Sash finds a riddle in his father’s study, revealing a quest for a magical bird. Fame awaits its captor, and Sash decides to track it down. Verity insists on helping, whether Sash likes it or not – perhaps she has reasons of her own for wanting the bird. But beneath the suns of a dazzling new world, dangerous forces are also stalking the bird. Who will stake the most to catch the greatest prize of all?

The idea for the story was in my head for years but writing it was challenging. Expectations and deadlines certainly cranked up the pressure. On the flip side, I now had a wonderful editor to keep me on track!

Q: I know you had the inspiration for The Bloodstone Bird after hearing about the Fleet, the subterranean river flowing beneath London. But what about the bird from the title? How did that come to your mind?

A: I have always found birds intriguing. As a child I would sit for hours in the Cambridge University Zoology Museum sketching the birds of paradise. These sad but exquisite creatures were stuffed and long dead – preserved forever through taxidermy.

The birds in the story represent a great deal to different people: wealth, fame, danger, power and harmony, depending on the perspective of each of the characters. From eagles of power to doves of peace, birds seem curiously suited to mythologizing and symbolism. They soar overhead, seemingly free – and yet their natures remain remote. I was fascinated by the dissonance between a creature – the symbolic bird – and human expectations: the hopes and fears that are manifested in a human perception of something wild.

Q: About The Tygrine is the sequel going? Do you have a deadline?

A: I am in the thick of the sequel to The Tygrine Cat and the deadline is looming. At this stage of a book, the world of the story begins to take over my conscious mind – I’ve even started to see whiskery faces at the borders of my dreams.

Q: And now some more general questions: how did you decide to write for children? Was it a conscious choice?
A: It really wasn’t conscious at all. I had filed away dreams about being a writer in a dusty compartment of my brain marked “Impossible” and was training to be a lawyer in London. The idea of a rivalry between ancient feline tribes came to me by chance as I flicked through a book on cat breads, and I brooded on it for weeks before the story took shape in my mind. I wrote it for young people because I imagined that fewer adults would be interested in feline fantasy – although the four-pawed fraternity may disagree!

Q: Usually, how much do you write every day? Night or day? (I prefer to have the whole day. Write a bit, then break, then a little bit more writing, then break again, and so on. I know, it's a lot of procrastination, but it works for me!).

A: I would love to say that I wake up at 7am, have a brisk run and write between 9am and 5pm. I try to be disciplined, but my writing patterns remain frenetic. I agree with you though – it’s better to have the whole day. In reality, I probably only “write” two or three hours a day, if I’m lucky! Research, notes, planning and editing seem to occupy most of my time, together with book-related events – that and nipping out for coffee, getting my shoes re-heeled, de-frosting my freezer… I’m open to more inventive procrastination suggestions.

Q: Who are your favourite authors?

This changes by the week. Of recent reads, I love Neil Gaiman’s balance of mystery, wit and the bizarre; the exquisite detail of Lian Hearn’s Tales of the Otori; the depth and tenderness of Toni Morrison; the warmth of Alexander McCall-Smith.

Q: Do you have any recommendations for our readers?

A: For young readers or those who are young at heart: Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book; Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations; Linda Newberry’s Catcall.

For adults: Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient; Sarah Water’s The Night Watch; A.B. Yehoshua’s A Late Divorce; Caryl Phillips's Crossing the River.

Q: Anything else you'd like to say?

For anyone who would like to write, I really recommend going for it. Write whenever you can and try not to worry too much about how it sounds – you can go back and edit later. Don’t let a crafty nuance waylay you. Think about what inspires you: what makes you laugh, or cry; what makes your heart start thumping, or your blood run cold. Start there – the rest will follow.

Thank you very much for your time, Inbali. I will keep in mind your recommendations and precious advices.

As for The Tygrine Cat's sequel, it's still too early to announce a possible date of release. Any updates will be published on Inbali's website.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Love the interview. Great job. I really enjoyed her advice for those that want to write...I definitely need to keep those things in mind. :)

I'd neve heard of Inbali or her novels, but I'm quite intrigued now and it would fit perfectly on the foreign blog, Bridge the Gap.

Yay for ideas! lol


Debi said...

I think Annie has The Tygrine Cat in her just may be time to go stage a raid. :)

Wonderful interview! Thanks Inbali and Valentina!

Ana S. said...

"I love Neil Gaiman’s balance of mystery, wit and the bizarre; the exquisite detail of Lian Hearn’s Tales of the Otori; the depth and tenderness of Toni Morrison; the warmth of Alexander McCall-Smith."

I like her already :D Thank you for this interview. I'm so looking forward to reading The Tygrine Cat.

Anonymous said...

I awarded you the Butterfly Award.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Great interview, fantastic questions and answers. I really enjoyed hearing that she is so much like every other writer in that she has to fight procrastination and that all the mundane things that would never sound appealing somehow sound wonderful when it is time to sit down and actually write. :)

And of course she hooked me when she mentioned Gaiman!

Unknown said...

Hi Valentina! Have awarded you with he Butterfly Award. Love your blog. xox