Author Feature,  Pride Feature

Writer Spotlight – Isabelle Palerma

Hey friends! The entire month of June, we’ll be featuring LGBTQIAP+ authors on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Send them some love, check out their books, and let us know what you think!

Introduce yourself! What’s your name? Genre you write? Fun fact(s) about yourself?

Hi! I’m Isabelle Palerma…well, sort of. Isabelle Palerma is my pseudonym. I am passionate about writing, painting, photography, hiking, music, and more. I’m a big thrill seeker and love rollercoasters, but I also love cooking and experimenting with spices.

I write poetry and speculative fiction mostly, as well as literary fiction and paranormal women’s fiction. I love experimenting with different genres, but so far, my favorites are contemporary fantasy and magical realism. I like writing stories that elevate the reader away from reality.

How did you start writing?

I have been reading since I was three and writing stories since I was six. I’ve always had an overactive imagination, and somehow, writing fiction helps quell that beast somehow.

What is your writing process like?

I don’t have a specific time of day I write. I know a lot of authors say to write whether you’re inspired or not, but that’s not my style. I usually make a very broad outline of the story, either on a giant dry erase board I have or in my mind. I usually write in the afternoon and early evening. Sometimes, I write in the morning with a cup of cinnamon nut coffee and French vanilla creamer.

What inspired you to write Catching Dreams? What is it about?

As cliché as it sounds, I had a dream over twenty years ago that really stuck with me. It doesn’t feel that significant in describing the events, but the feeling that lingered after I had it stuck with me for a long time. I had this pervasive feeling nagging me, asking me, “What if you couldn’t tell your dreams from reality? …What if? What if?” So, I wrote a novel about exactly that.

Here’s the blurb for Catching Dreams, the novel I’m currently searching for an agent for:

Twenty-one-year-old manager at Attic Books, Aisling McHale, thinks she has her head on her shoulders, but when her an evil entity from her nightmares intrudes on reality, she begins to question her own sanity. The world she inhabits while asleep lies dormant alongside her current reality. Now, that subconscious world threatens to interfere with everything Aisling has known and loved.

Aisling confronts her inner demons externalized as battles wage throughout the city of New Amhurst. She must protect her loved ones from this unpredictable foe. Forced to adapt to this hellish new reality, she must figure out how to salvage her relationships and stop this adversary from obliterating everything. Will she surrender to these grotesque nightmares and gradually lose touch with reality?

She disconnects from everything she has known as her subconsciousness and consciousness blur. Can Aisling defeat the enemies that her mind has created? What will happen to her city, family, and friends? Aisling must choose… before it is too late.

Do you have any other books published/are you working on anything new?

So far, I only have short stories and poems published, but I am constantly working on new projects. I am working on a semi-autobiographical poetry book as well as a paranormal women’s fiction series. I have a few upmarket novels I’m working on as well that combine literary fiction and the contemporary fantasy genre.

Do any authors influence your writing?

I think every author influences my writing, as silly as that might sound. I love Neil Gaiman; he is a brilliant and masterful storyteller. I also love books with poetic prose so authors like Simon van Booy and Jeanette Winterson, specifically her short stories, inspire me.

I just finished reading Mirrorland (Carole Johnstone) and The Shimmering State (Meredith Westgate), and wow – those are stunning works of literature. Dizzyingly talented writers there in vastly unique ways.

I love authors who can tell dark, gritty stories in beautiful, transcendent language so Janet Fitch and Laurie Halse Anderson are two big inspirations of mine as well. 

What is your favorite piece of writing advice?

I had a mentor when I was a teenager who told me to read everything I could get my hands on, whether it’s well-written or riddled with clichés, whether it’s award-winning or the back of a cereal box. Just read constantly. I truly think my passion for reading has influenced my writing in an extremely positive way.

I also think it’s important to develop a thick skin when you’re writing, especially when faced with rejections and critique. If you have onion-thin skin, you’ll end up emotional about it all. While a degree of sentimentality is important when writing and receiving feedback, if you take everything too personally, you’ll break your own heart.

Time to promote you! How can people find you? What should they look out for next?

I’m all over social media and have a website!

Twitter: twitter.com/IsabellePalerma

Website: isabellepalerma.com

Facebook: facebook.com/groups/IsabellesStargazers

Instagram: instagram.com/isabelle.palerma

I’m hoping to finish my first book in a series of paranormal women’s fiction books by the end of the year and either get my debut novel Catching Dreams published or independently publish it myself. I’m also constantly writing poetry, drabbles, longer story excerpts, and more on my website so please subscribe.

Thank you so much for this interview; it was an honor. I love talking about myself. 😉

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