3 Aug 2015

Author Interview / Camilla Isley

If all your wishes could suddenly come true, what would you do?
A year ago when the love of her life dumped her for no apparent reason, Ally thought she had hit rock bottom. But now that she has seen him with another woman, and one she knows only too well, her life seems to have reached a whole new level of low.
Yet, when she stumbles across an ancient object infused with magical powers and a stranger with a dark past appears out of nowhere promising to grant all her wishes, she finds herself hoping again.
Suddenly Ally’s life is turned upside down; she has a mystery to solve, a rival to beat, a millenarian curse to break, and well, she wants to have some fun playing with her new “gifts”…
But can she wish her way to happily ever after?

1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
Within my genre, Romantic Comedy, it would definitely be Sophie Kinsella. Her standalone novels are something else, romantic, smart, and they definitely make you laugh out loud. If I were to choose anyone, I would go for J.K. Rowling. I grew up reading Harry Potter, I was twelve when the first book was released, and never have I been so addicted to something. Not even coffee.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 
The best part of my job is that I can stay in my pajamas all day and write from home. On a good, inspired day I write non-stop from dawn till dusk. On a bad day, you’ll probably find me at my laptop promising myself to open that dreaded word document in just five minutes and procrastinating forever on social media instead. And that’s the bad part about working from home, you get easily distracted. My solution is usually to turn off the internet connection and to hide the remote.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
The biggest struggle for me is the mid-part of a book. Usually I know pretty early how I want my stories to end, and I come up with beginnings pretty easily. But all the twists and turns in the middle, those are hard work. And the most dreaded social-media-bad-TV day catalyzers.

4. When and why did you first start writing? 
My husband and I had to move to the other side of the world for his job. So I quit mine, I’m an engineer by training, and followed him in this new adventure. With this new situation in my life I had a lot of free time for the first time in a while and many ideas buzzing in my head. So I decided to give it a shot and transposed some of those ideas into my first novel.

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book? 
I wanted to write a book that I would enjoy as a reader. So I tried to make it magical, romantic, and fun to read. I created a world filled with possibilities where wishes do come true. There’s a bit of me here and there, as it is almost impossible not to bring yourself to the page while writing, but mostly I Wish for You is a work of sheer imagination.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? 
Yes of course. I love a variety of genres…Romance, and Romantic Comedy in particular, Chick Lit, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, a bit of Paranormal, and many Classics. Since discovering Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) a website where you can download books with expired copyright for free, I’ve been catching up with a lot of literature that I had not read before.
Right now I’m reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

I get asked this question a lot, and I try to give a unique advice each time. Today my advice would be to listen to others and ask for help. As writers we tend to be introverts and a bit jealous about our work. One of the biggest mistake we could do is not to be humble enough to listen to what others have to say about our precious manuscripts. But in my experience our work can only benefit from a second, or many more opinions. Even if it entitles a painful round of re-writes.

The Day After
I abruptly wake up thanks to the racking sound of my alarm clock piercing deeply into my skull. I come to a sitting position and silence the damn thing, slamming my right hand on the off button.
My head is spinning, I feel kind of ill, and as soon as my comatose brain regains consciousness I remember why, which definitely isn’t a good thing. In fact, as my memory comes back I experience a stream of increasingly awful emotions. It starts with a choking pain, immediately followed by fear, anguish, and a strong wave of nausea. Ouch, heartbreak sucks!

I lie back on the pillows trying to abate my squeamishness. Sugar, my black and white rescue cat, decides this is a good moment to jump on my belly meowing for his breakfast.

“Not now, baby.” I say, pushing him aside. “I need five minutes before I get up.”

No. No. No. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to go into work either, not today, please, not after what happened. I’m not ready for it. I will look awful, and I’m being optimistic.

I spent the whole night crying, my eyes are going to be horrendously red and puffy, and my skin will probably be ghastly, in-between a putrid mustard and greenish coloring. There will be no mistaking my utter state of distraught. Damn! I can already picture the evil grin of triumph on her face. Of course she’s going to mask it as one of her best I-want-world-peace beauty pageant smiling faces, pretending nothing’s wrong.

Don’t you hate it when you know someone to be vicious, but you’re the only one who can see it since he or she always pretends to be the most kind and caring person in the world? Well, she’s the kind of two-faced poser that manages to make you feel like the wrongdoer even when it’s her delivering a sucker punch to your stomach. She does it with such grace and poise that you don’t even feel entitled to argue or be angry.

I have a horrible feeling she knows exactly how badly this hurts for me. Now that I think about it, many of the little nasty remarks she’s been making in the past months about the guy she was dating begin to make sense. I had a feeling that she was taking my unconcerned responses as a personal affront. Maybe she thought I knew! Well, from my reaction yesterday it must have been pretty clear that I didn’t. Wait a second, how long has she been doing it? When did she start? Did she say dating? Did she use the word boyfriend?


At the thought, my heart skips a bit and I gasp for air. Wow, this hurts…this physically hurts! I have a huge ball of pain in my chest that expands all the way down to my stomach. I can hardly breathe and I feel terribly dizzy; lying back on the pillows is not helping. My heart is beating so fast I can’t suck in air, and I feel trapped. Yeah, trapped in my horrible, disastrous life.

I need to calm down. I’m just having a panic attack! Aha! Mark the roots of a problem and then find the solution. What did Dr. Oz say? Ah yes, I simply need to take deep, profound breaths: air in, air out, in…and out…

Gradually my respiration returns to normal and I feel able to inhale and exhale properly. I have to decide what to do. Clearly, I can’t go to work in this status; the mere thought makes me sick. Well, more sick than I already am! Wait, sick…I am ill! This is my way out. I’m going to pull a sickie. Genius!

I haven’t taken one illness leave in the five years that I’ve been with my company. Surely no one is going to suspect me, and it’s not going to affect my career too badly. I mean, it’s just one day. Yes! I just need the one day to calm down, regroup, and think of a strategy for what to do next. Of course, she will know why I’m not there today. Oh, screw her! She can think whatever she likes.

Where is my cell phone? I need to put on my glasses because without them I am basically blind. Usually I do that on autopilot before even opening my eyes. You know, that way I can pretend I can actually see, but I guess today my routine went out the window. I grope the nightstand, grab the glasses, and put them on.

Ah, this is better. I scan the bedside table for any trace of my cell but it’s not there. Instead, nicely perched next to my table lamp, there is an innocent looking Sugar. I follow his not-so-innocent gaze to the floor and finally spot my mobile lying discarded on the carpet. I grab it before I change my mind and dial the office’s number, all the while shaking my head at my vindictive cat.

“Good morning, you’ve reached Crispy Koob Corporation.” Instead of hearing Michelle’s voice, the company’s receptionist, I am redirected to voicemail. “Our offices are open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to—” I end the call.

This is weird. The answering machine is never on during the week; they only turn it on for weekends and holidays. Hold on a second. What day is it today? I look at my phone’s screen and there it is, the sweetest writing I have ever seen:
Saturday, May 16
Yes! Yes! This means I have not one, but two full days before I have to face the world. This is so much better. I’ll have time to recover, think a little, and craft a plan. 

Duh, why am I always this dumb? What made me think it was a weekday? As my self-questioning goes on I spot the culprit standing right there on my night table—the abominable alarm clock. Why the hell did it wake me on a Saturday? I never, and I swear never, turn on my alarm clock on weekends, I mean, sleeping in is the best part of the weekend, so why…


The doorbell rings interrupting my train of thoughts. Who’s at my door this early on a Saturday morning?

Twitter: @camillaisley
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=NGMICgAAQBAJ