Isabelle B.L. releases new collection!

5 Questions with an Indie Author

We’d like to extend a shoutout and huge congratulations to coalitionist Isabelle B.L. (CW1) on the release of her latest collection of short fiction, Prickly Pears!

Prickly Pears is a collection of short stories and prose poetry that blends elements of reality and surrealism to explore the human experience. Diverse thought-provoking themes, such as marriage, mental health and mother-daughter relationships exist alongside the treatment of animals, lookism and religion. Hard-hitting truths are revealed via diverse settings, plot and voices. Hope, love and resilience move these character-driven pieces forward. Prickly Pears is now available on Amazon!

Can you tell me about the origins of Prickly Pears and how it came to be?

I wanted to gather work that had been first published elsewhere in one collection. It’s a body of fictional work, but full of truth. Growing up in Melbourne, my grandmother had a wonderful Sicilian garden. Prickly pears, pomegranate, lemon and olive trees. Prickly pear fruit and the cactus on which they grow, have to be handled with care because of spines and prickles. Life throws at you many prickly situations, obstacles, challenges, illness but it can also present us with opportunities to rise and bloom. So that’s what the collection and title encompasses to me.

When did you first encounter surrealism and know it would be a part of your creative expression?

The problem with my earlier writing was that it was linear. It was rigid. Living near Paris, reading French every day, I’m exposed to surrealism art and text. As a spectator and reader, it lessens my anxiety, makes me smile yet I didn’t realise until a couple of years ago, that this is the direction my writing should take. Experiment more, free write, take risks, tap into the unconscious, look at the minutiae rather than the big picture, search for a hidden meaning and truth.

What was your biggest obstacle in writing this collection and how did you overcome it?

As most of the stories were already published, it was more about getting it into book form and formatting. Health issues with me and in the family stalled the process. I overcame it by not stressing about the when—when it was going to get published—and focused instead on writing bits and pieces every day and reading. The poetry of Jane Kenyon was incredibly healing.

Any advice for young writers interested in pursuing the independent publishing route?

Go for it. You’re in the driver’s seat but be prepared to invest in hiring professionals like editors, proofreaders or ask for volunteers to read your work and look out for any incoherencies, spelling mistakes and all that type of stuff. You have to market your own book. I don’t have any social networks but I must admit it does help. A web page and author page on Amazon could also promote the book.

Can you share three books, entertainment, or other media that you are enjoying at this time?

The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. La Légende de la Vieille Morte – Jean-Paul Chabrol. Short Story Masterpieces (Edition edited by Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine.)

Thanks so much for being a part of coalitionworks Isabelle, and again: congratulations on your latest release!

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