Author interview with Ishbelle Bee

Author interview with Ishbelle Bee

Author bio: Ishbelle Bee writes horror and loves fairy-tales, the Victorian period (especially top hats!) and cake tents at village fêtes (she believes serial killers usually opt for the Victoria Sponge).

She currently lives in Edinburgh. She doesn’t own a rescue cat, but if she did his name would be Mr Pickles.



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Hi Ishbelle, welcome over at The Book Plank and for taking your time to answer these few questions for us.

BP: First off could you give us a short introduction as to who Ishbelle Bee is? What are you hobbies, likes and dislikes?
IB:   I live in Edinburgh, Scotland and I am half Scottish and half English ( I was born in London). I write adult fairytales infused with horror elements and inspired by folklore and mythology. My hobbies are reading and illustrating. I like cheesecake and  I dislike thoughtless, rude people and tripe.

BP: Mirror and Goliath was your debut. When and where you first decided to write your first story?
IB:  I have been writing since I was very young but MIRROR & GOLIATH I began writing in 2012 while I was working fulltime and it took a year to complete as I was trying to squeeze it in to my free time.

BP: What gave you the idea/inspiration behind the The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart?
IB: I love the Victorian period and I was interested in writing a horror/ fairystory  involving Jack the Ripper and exploring the idea of ‘demonic’ possession. I am very interested in quirky characters who are colourful and perplexing with their own little eccentricities and I wanted to incorporate a lot of them into a strange imaginative Victorian London.

BP: Writing a debut is a daunting task. How did you went about and plan writing Mirror and Goliath?
IB: Although I tend to write books fairly fast, MIRROR & GOLIATH was written in tiny sections over the course of a year due to my job at the time. There was no actual plan for the plot- I had an outline in my head, and scenarios I wanted to pursue ( a coffin clock was a particular idea I had in mind). It was frustrating writing the book in small sections but I slowly found my voice whilst it was being created. I was rather self conscious at the beginning but by the end of the book I felt comfortable and at ease with the style and flow of the narrative.

BP: Mirror and Goliath is being compared to big names writers such as Neil Gaimen, what does that mean to you?
IB: I am, of course very flattered by the comparison. Gaiman has a beautiful imagination and I find  his work  wonderfully sensitive and poetic. My favourite works of his are STARDUST, CORALINE  and THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. I also love the SANDMAN series.

BP: The second book, The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl, is out this August if you would have to sell the book with a single sentence how would it go?
IB: Marc Gascoigne  the founder of Angry Robot books pitched it  perfectly - ALICE IN WONDERLAND GOES TO HELL

BP: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when during the writing of the series so far?
IB: The increasing surge of enemies amassing against Mr Loveheart. He really annoys a lot of demonic individuals.

BP: Did you encounter any specific problems during your writing?
IB: The counterbalance between insane characters and sane ones. There are more mad than not, and I have to keep a check that there is a rational voice ( usually a detective ) to keep  the storytelling sane from one perspective.

BP: Besides the problems and difficulties, which chapter, scene or character did you enjoy writing about the most?
IB: Mr Loveheart is the most fun for me to write as I usually have no idea how he will react to a situation ( I don’t think he has any idea). It’s great writing really unpredictable characters because it keeps the storyline fresh and lively.

BP: The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl is your second book in the series, have you already mapped out how many volumes the series will run?
IB: I have so far set out the series to run for 5 books with a Christmas special book and possible sidesteps into other areas.

BP: Next to the The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart series, do you have any other projects that you wish to pursue in the near future?
IB: Oh yes- I have  several other fairytale projects I am writing which are also set in the Victorian era/ Georgian period and Medieval period.

BP: Everyone enjoys fantasy in his or her own way. What do you like most about reading and writing fantasy?
IB: The freedom to create my own strange little world and decide the outcomes myself for the characters. It’s especially satisfying with a villain – to make sure they get their just desserts.

BP: If you would have to give your top 5 favourite books, which would they be?
IB: That’s a really difficult question as I have too many favourite books but I will give it a go-

THE NAME OF THE ROSE   - Umberto Eco
MARTIAN TIME SLIP   - Philip K Dick
THE BLOODY CHAMBER -  Angela Carter
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS – Lewis Carroll
THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH – Philip K Dick

BP: And just lastly, can you tell us a bit more of what might be in store for the readers of The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl and a possible teaser of what’s might to come?
IB:  In book 2 Rufus Hazard gets to brandish a machete and Mr Loveheart gifts Walnut a handgrenade which comes in use.
As for what’s to come – Mr Loveheart will be visiting New York in a future book

BP: Thank you for your time Ishbelle and good luck with your future writing!



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