Today on the blog is Isabella May, author of The Cocktail Bar out now from Crooked Cat Books!
Welcome to my blog, Isabella!
Name: Isabella May
Book Title: The Cocktail Bar
Genre: Contemporary Rom-com
How would you describe your latest book in one (or maybe two) killer sentences?
I have so much going on in my stories that it’s always quite tricky to condense them into a couple of sentences. You have set me a hard task! Here goes:
Rock star, River Jackson returns to his hometown to set up a cocktail bar with a spiritual twist… amidst a frenzy of opposition.
How did you come up with the idea for The Cocktail Bar?
I grew up in the town of Glastonbury, UK, where The Cocktail Bar is set. Despite it being a unique and captivating little place, it was seriously lacking in the entertainment department during my late teens and early twenties! You’d have to travel to neighbouring towns and cities for a decent night out. And that got me thinking… how amazing it would be if an unconventional yet classy cocktail bar were to set up shop in the High Street! How would the locals react (bearing in mind that Glastonbury is a mixture of the hippie-dippy and working class)? How would the bar survive?
What have you learned in your journey from first draft to published author? And how do you feel you’ve grown or changed from your first published title to your second, and now your third?
When you set out to write your first book, patience is everything. It’s also crucial to take time out. It might seem a little extreme, but it took me seven years to knock my first novel into shape. Nowadays, when I set my mind to it, I can write a novel in six to nine months. So those seven years were very much my apprenticeship and a necessary journey to find both my style and voice.
One of the biggest things I have learned is that writing a decent debut novel is one thing. If you want to replicate that then it’s a good idea to read voraciously, and across genres too. The more I read, the more fluidly and assuredly I write.
How did you celebrate when you learned The Cocktail Bar was going to be published?
I usually find these things out on a Monday. This news was no exception! I think I stayed up on my own with a glass of champagne and then waited until the weekend when I had several more glasses…
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read The Cocktail Bar?
I have quite a distinctive voice, and hopefully offer something for many readers, since my writing is pretty multi-genre, too. Contemporary Romcom is probably the closest fit for my books, but in truth it’s impossible to pinpoint them to any one literary market. The Cocktail Bar covers a wide range of subjects from magical realism and drinks (I had to research a fair bit to polish up on my historical liquor knowledge!), through to travel, Somerset, romance and comedy.
What’s one piece of advice you would tell a writer who feels discouraged?
Write a little every day. It’s amazing how quickly your words can snowball from mere sentences to paragraphs to chapters. Also, don’t worry if you have no idea where the story is going. Never let that put you off. My past two novels were written that way and eventually your characters will ‘speak’ to you. It’s always a revelation when that happens and then the story really starts to flow!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, put your blinkers on to the naysayers…
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
Thank you, Isabella! The Cocktail Bar is available now.
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.
As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).
She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!
The Cocktail Bar is her second novel, following on from the hit sensation, Oh! What a Pavlova, published in 2017. Her third novel, Costa del Churros, will also be published with Crooked Cat in September.
The Cocktail Bar is available to buy from Amazon via this universal link: http://myBook.to/thecocktailbar