Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve been writing since I was in middle school. Typical broken-heart, teen angsty stuff. Dark and broody and usually chock full of rhymes. I can’t write like that anymore. I can barely stomach reading through that old stuff anymore.
When I decided to publish At Arm’s Length (my first and only book, so far!), I really had no goal in mind. It was just something I wanted to do, for myself. It still is, mostly, but I have been flattered by the comments on how relatable my writing is. Friends have said “you described exactly how I felt when I…”, and I loved that. There are a lot of things that happen to us that we tend to keep secret, even when we shouldn’t, and when I write, I’m writing so that I can help work those things out of my head, out of my heart, for ME to heal. If something I said hits someone where they need it, maybe provides a little bit of closure, then maybe I’m doing this with more purpose than I ever considered.
Most of the time, I’m lucky enough to stay at home with my awesome son, supported (in many ways!) by my awesome husband. I have a part time job on the weekends, but let’s face it – I probably have my notebook in my work bag and have been writing in it more than I have been working 😉
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The poems in At Arm’s Length were carefully selected, sort of working off of the idea that while I’m letting the reader in, to a point, and sharing some of my most private thoughts, I’m still keeping you at a distance: “at arm’s length.” That you get to read what I want you to, but I still can’t let you in all the way.
My newest collection seems to reflect a lot of personal growth, a lot of closure. I feel a bit stronger, in a lot of ways, and I hope that my readers connect with that as well.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I do most of my writing on the fly, whenever something hits me quickly (the perks of writing short poems!). But 9 times out of 10, it’s because I was listening to music, usually too loud, and probably in my car. Most of my newer poems were composed at red lights.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I do love Dorothy Parker. She was so sassy! I love Pamela Ribon. When I read her books, I feel like she wrote down what I was thinking. I’ve never laughed so hard with a book. Dean Koontz reminds me that it’s OK to be very visual, very descriptive. When I read “Life Expectancy”, I was IN that hospital, that dining room. It was so rich in detail that I was there.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a follow up to At Arm’s Length, another poetry collection. I’ve got a short story and a children’s book up my sleeve, but nothing concrete.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Still working all of that out, actually!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Never give up. Sometimes you write something that seems SO wonderful, profound, deep and meaningful. You might adjust it here and there to make it “better”, and six months later you realize that it is total crap. That’s OK. Sometimes what you write is crap, sometimes it isn’t, but don’t stop writing. Ever.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Again with the never giving up! One of my favorite quotes is “Aut inveniam viam aut faciam.” Latin for “I shall either find a way or make one.” I was paralyzed when I was 12 years old (something my mother keeps suggesting I write about, but that just isn’t me!), and I’ve never been one to let something stand in my way. If there isn’t a way yet, I’ll make my own.
What are you reading now?
A few random poetry collections I grabbed at the library, and rereading a Pamela Ribon book that I love.
What’s next for you as a writer?
To just keep writing!
What is your favorite book of all time?
That’s too hard! Can’t I love them all?
Author Websites and Profiles
Isabella Mansfield Amazon Profile
Isabella Mansfield Author Profile Other Bookseller