Paranormal Romance Lovers recently interviewed Isadora Montrose, author of the popular Bear Fursuits, The Bachelor Bears of Yakima Ridge, and Lords of the Dragon Islands series.
Some of Isadora’s books include:
Dragon’s Treasure (BBW / Dragon Shifter Romance) (Lords of the Dragon Islands Book 1)
Dragon’s Successor (BBW / Dragon Shifter Romance) (Lords of the Dragon Islands Book 2)
Dragon’s Pleasure (BBW / Dragon Shifter Romance) (Lords of the Dragon Islands Book 3)
Bearly Begun (BBW / Bearshifter Romance) (Bachelor Bears of Yakima Ridge Book 1)
Bearly Enough (BBW/Bearshifter Romance) (Bachelor Bears of Yakima Ridge Book 2)
Bearly Ever (BBW/Bearshifter Romance) (Bachelor Bears of Yakima Ridge Book 3)
Bear Fursuits Books 1-5 Bundle (BBW / Bearshifter Romance)
Brides for the Bachelor Bears Bundle (BBW / Bearshifter Romance) (Bachelor Bears of Yakima Ridge Book 5)
In this interview, Isadora discusses what got her into self-publishing, what inspires her writing, her thoughts on the current state of paranormal romance, and much more!
If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment for Isadora, please feel free to do so. We love author/reader interaction here!
Tell us about yourself.
I write hot paranormal romance. My steamy stories are about heroic bear shifters and hunky dragon shifters and the curvy women who are their fated mates. I have three series: Bear Fursuits, The Bachelor Bears of Yakima Ridge, and Lords of the Dragon Islands.
My passion for books began young. I have been making stuff up for years and falling headfirst into my own imaginary world. At last my fantasies are available on Amazon. I have only just discovered the joys of self publishing, but this is definitely my calling.
Becoming a self-published author has been a thrill ride. I thought it would all be about writing: creating great characters and weaving believable plots. But indie epublishing is different. I have had to learn to produce and market my books, because indie authors do everything a traditional publisher does plus writing.
One consequence has been that I have met hundreds of people. I had no idea that this gig would turn out to be mainly about interacting with readers and other authors.
It’s a way more intimate experience than I ever dreamed, and I love every minute.
What, in your opinion, makes a good story?
Alpha males who are both tender and protective are the heroes I enjoy reading about, so those are the kinds of guys I put in my books. I like heroines to be someone with whom I can identify: bold, brave women facing head-on the challenges thrown at them by a hard world.
I decided to write stories about full figured women who look like the average woman, because I want my readers to identify with my heroines. Their men think they are beautiful and desirable, and that is ultimately what counts.
My bears are mostly in the services, and the ones who aren’t might as well be. They are loyal to their families, their clans, their country and their mates. Some of my heroines are also bears, but they don’t have to be. What is important is that they are all feisty, in-your-face gals.
The dragons are rich (that hoarding gene), glamorous, and protective. And basically honorable. They do have the tiny problem that female dragons are rarer than hen’s teeth, and to make a baby dragon, they must transform a virgin into a dragoness.
I like a believable plot and world, at least in the sense that it all hangs together. When I write a story I am always hoping that the reader will lose themselves for a while in my fantasy. I try to integrate the plot and shape shifters into the modern world, despite the paranormal elements.
Which is how I bring a touch of comedy to my books to leaven the spice. I ask myself what a normal woman who was turned into a dragoness would say and do. I can promise you it isn’t what those pompous, rich-as-sin dragons think it will be. In Dragon’s Treasure when Leah woke up transformed, one reviewer fell off the couch and frightened her innocent dog…Of course, I do allow my heroines to discover the upside to being shifters.
The plots of my stories are designed to entertain, but also to give the characters an opportunity to demonstrate that they are totally committed to each other, resolute in the face of danger, and of course to put the HEA in just enough doubt to be interesting.
Because the HEA is the essence of the contract between romance author and the reader: at the end there must be a happy ending. Even if we don’t get to the ceremony, all my books have ended in marriage between the central couple. I have enjoyed lots of books where at the end the hero and heroine were in love but didn’t resolve the status of their relationship. But so far my characters have all needed to declare their love by getting married, and right now I have no plans to write serials.
Because so many women read as I do to escape the mundane, my books are full of descriptions of sex, longing, foreplay. This is all about making love – it’s never just about the sex – even when the characters deceive themselves into thinking they are just enjoying a f**k, fate is about to teach them that love makes sex better.
What authors do you look up to, and why?
I have been reading romance for a very long time. A lot of my favorite romance authors have been around for decades. Not all of them write in my genre. Short list: Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick; Charlene Harris; Claire Delacroix/Deb Cooke; Mary Balogh; Jo Beverly; Georgette Heyer; Ursula le Guin; Christina Dodd; & Eloisa James.
When I wrote out that list I was astonished at how heavily weighted it was to historicals, even though I knew that genre was a long-time favorite. But what the authors I admire have in common is a mastery of plot, prose, character and dialogue. And that ineffable something that makes your arms tingle.
The other thing those writers have in common is the ability to write something fresh for years and years. You would be hard pressed to find an unreadable title in their combined works under any pen name. That’s inspiring. I aspire to write that well.
Do you keep tabs on the constant shifting tides of romance writing? If yes, how do you adjust your writing (if at all) to suit them?
I look at what readers are saying they want. Because I wan to give people the experience they are looking for. I decided to try to write about dragon shifters because readers were saying they were tired of bear shifters, and I also thought that would be a good place to transition from novellas to novels. My Lords of the Dragon Islands series has been a hit with reviewers. But I haven’t abandoned my bears, because I love them.
I have put my latest bear shifter hero, Steve Holden, on a motorcycle instead of giving him an SUV to drive, because Motorcycle Club books are hot. But it didn’t seem out of character for a guy who had been in Special Forces, and could fly a helicopter, to get on a Harley. Of course, I have integrated the bike into the story, but I didn’t make this veteran join a badass motorcycle club, because that wouldn’t fit with his character as presented in previous books.
Steve Holden first appeared as the bodyguard in Dragon’s Treasure and Dragon’s Pleasure. Now that he is the hero, I have to work within the constraints of his presentation there. I love the cross pollination between series, so if you meet a character in one of my books, be prepared for him to face adversity while tracking down his very own true love in another.
In future books, readers can look for elements that are on trend, but I probably won’t stray far from my Alpha males looking out for their destined mates. I had enough trouble when I wrote my first two dragon books. Hugo Sarkany and Roland Voros were sufficiently arrogant and careless of their mate’s feelings, that their destined brides had their work cut out to whip them into bridegrooms they could love enough to marry. Some readers complained they were assholes, and even though these dragon lords reformed, the readers still didn’t like their initial impression. I listened.
The hero of Dragon’s Pleasure, Ivan Sarkany, is a decent, stalwart dragon lord who is a lot more like my steadfast bear shifters from the start. Easier for me to write, and apparently more of a hit with readers too. Win win.
What is your greatest struggle in writing, and how do you overcome it?
I have two problems: Cranking out the words every day. And reining in my characters so that the story line stays on track.
Writing three thousand words a day requires discipline. It’s a job, however creative the process. When it goes well, and the stars align, it is a heady experience. When the words will not come, that can be frustrating and depressing and hard.
I find that moving to another work in progress and letting the story settle like murky water, allows me to return later to figure out what has gone wrong. Stories don’t write themselves, but often it feels that way.
Making sure that the characters stay on the path to their HEA sounds easy until you find that your heroes will not say the things that must be said in order to get them there. But if you squelch your characters, they stop sounding like themselves. When I am writing, those people are real to me. I know them incredibly well. If they are singing off-key I can’t keep going.
When I construct dialogue in my head it is much like having an imaginary conversation with your BFF. No, she hasn’t seen that fabulous set of pots on sale at the Target, but you know what she is going to say. There is no way she is going to turn into the kind of ninny who says, “You already have more cookware than God, but go ahead and spend the grocery money on another set – it’s a great deal.” And your subconscious wouldn’t even attempt it.
When I try to write a scene and the dialogue sounds like the most banal of conversations, it’s usually because I won’t let my characters say, “This is a stunningly bad idea.”
I find if I sleep on a plot/character problem, my subconscious sorts it out while I am sleeping. And switching to another WIP allows me to maintain my goal of writing 3000 words per day. Just don’t ask about the days when after writing for eight hours the word count is the same, or even a little lower than the day before!
Do you have a set writing schedule? What time of the day is most conducive to get your creative juices flowing?
I am a morning person. As soon as I have some coffee inside, I like to make a start on writing. I am old enough that I well remember writing stories on the typewriter with all the frustration of crossing out and literal cut and past. And writing without the benefit of the internet to check facts or provide inspiration.
I never completed a story on the typewriter. And even after umpteen years of word processors I still find the ease of editing to be nothing short of a miracle. These days, if I get stuck, I put xxx as a place holder and move on. I can find it later with a couple of keystrokes. Magic.
If I need to describe a place, I often google it – although that can turn into procrastination. But looking at photographs of a place helps me to imagine the activities occurring there. Compare that to having to head to the library to check facts and do research.
And if I am really stuck, that’s when I read a book to see how an author I admire handles describing a new character, or moving the plot along, or inserting dialogue to break up exposition.
By afternoon I am ready for a long walk. Nature is a restorative. And so is classical music, although I like silence when I’m writing so I can hear the characters talking.
Which one of your heroines is most like you personality wise, and how?
I’d have to say Erin Salter in Bearly Begun is most like me. She is just the sort of practical, do-your-duty person I hope I am. And when she finds out that she is in love with a bear, her reaction is mine: ‘No way, no how. A bear has been licking me where?’ Of course she is probably an improved version of me. This is fiction I’m writing, after all.
Erin is a wholly admirable woman who is faced with the choice of letting her 6-year-old brothers go into foster care, or raising them herself. She unflinchingly accepts the responsibility even though she knows it means she will be poor and have to put her life on hold indefinitely.
Have I ever done any such noble thing? Nope. My life has been easy compared to Erin’s. But I sure hope I would have that kind of backbone in a crisis.
Are you a creature of habit when it comes to your writing? Do you need to have your space set up a certain way? Have a certain drink?
I keep my laptop set up at my writing station. But if necessary I can move. I have continued to be productive on visits to family and on holiday. The public library is favorite spot: quiet and full of books! For some reason coffee shops don’t work well for me for a sustained effort.
However, I go nowhere without a notebook, because if I get a story idea I need to get it down before it vanishes. I have sat at many a crumby table with a cup of joe, scribbling madly and keeping an eye on the time left before an appointment.
And just remember when you have that battle with your kids at the mall, the woman sitting tapping on her phone may be memorizing every word. I have no shame about using real life in my books. Names will always be changed to protect the amusing.
And now for the silly… if you could have one hour with your favorite character, who would you spend that time with, and what would you do?
I admit I do fall a little bit in love with all my characters. But of course you must realize that the guys in my stories are now all happily married men. I think my favorite hero has to be Col. Doug Enright from Bear Affinities. I keep bringing him into other stories. Doug is a little older than my other heroes (his brothers and cousins) and a tad grim, but I am still crushing on this hairy, steadfast bear.
He, however, would be horrified if I wanted him to cheat on his Maddie, so canoodling with this hard-bodied man is out. I suppose I would ask Doug to do a little home repair. My bears are good with their hands in and out of the bedroom, and my back deck could use a little work.
What’s in the works for you right now? When can we expect to see it released to the world?
I just published Dragon’s Pleasure on July 19. Pleasure is Book 3 in Lords of the Dragon Islands. There will be others, although the next dragon book exists only as a rough outline. And I have promised to write a short Christmas story for a holiday bundle, which is going to have a dragon shifter hero.
What I am working on now is Book 7 in the Bear Fursuits series. Bear Pause should be out towards the end of August. I am still not very good at having a detailed publication schedule, because I will not put a book out until it is right.
Indie authors are responsible for everything from writing to editing to formatting and copy editing. It’s a lot to coordinate, if you are not used to it, and it always seems to take longer than I thought it would. But Bear Pause is nearly finished.
Bear Pause will be the second Billionaire Oil Bearons Romance. Steve Holden the burly bodyguard from Dragon’s Treasure and Dragon’s Pleasure gets his own HEA with Laura Bascom. Steve heads off to Colorado to find out about his birth father’s family and finds himself a bride.
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book or recently released one?
Here’s an excerpt from Dragon’s Pleasure:
‘From the shadowed recesses of the half-lit pool deck, Ivan watched as Christina churned up and down the pool. Her long creamy limbs glowed brightly, he could see the round juiciness of her thighs and bottom. She might be decently covered in that bright red tank, but he could remember just how lovely she was naked. His imagination stripped the suit from her lovely breasts and imagined them unfettered and bobbing in the cool water.
He knew he should retreat to the men’s changing room again and strip off the swim trunks he had borrowed. He had come to Chateau Lindorm to celebrate his Mate Hunt. His fate was to wed a sweet, untouched maiden who could be transformed into a fertile dragoness. It was his duty to pursue one of those chaste nieces of Lindorm’s and accept his fate.
But just a whiff of that Valkyrie had his senseless c**k leaping like a hooked trout on a fishing line. It took all his resolution to stay out of the water and merely observe as the lithe movements of her lush, athletic body shot Christina’s delectable form from one end of the pool to the other.
Like all enclosed pools, this one stank of chlorine. But over the eye-watering reek was the intoxicating scent coming off Christina like smoke off a fire. He felt breathless, burning, incapable of moving. He fought to remain in his dark corner and preserve his honor. He fought not to claim his mate.
* * *
Ivan was here. She could smell him over the chlorine. The bastard was watching her. Christina’s feet pushed hard off the tiled wall of the swimming pool and propelled her down the length of the pool towards Ivan’s fragrance. It called to her. Revved her up. Stoked her fury. She leapt out of the water and strode across the deck to her erstwhile lover.
“What are you doing here, Sarkany?” Water streamed off her body as she stood before him. Ivan’s body gave off heat in waves that rippled across her wet skin and made her body throb. She saw his Adam’s apple move as he swallowed hard.
“I wanted a swim,” he croaked.
Christina put her left hand on the tented bulge of his skimpy banana hammock and her right over the winged dragon hovering over his heart. She felt his c**k jump and his pulse beat harder. She leaned forward slightly. His chest was heaving as if he had run miles. Sweat beaded his face.
“You want me,” she said clearly into the heavy air, and set her mouth on his sweat dampened skin.
Ivan stepped backward and his hands captured Christina’s and pulled them away from his crotch and chest. “No, Christina. Don’t tempt me. I have declared my Mate Hunt. We can’t do this.”
“Do you really want an innocent damsel?” Her face was mocking.
“My desires don’t matter. I must marry and have firelings.”
“This won’t prevent you from knocking up your bride.” She grasped his shoulders and pulled his mouth down to hers. He resisted for a moment before his tongue began to glide along hers and the flavor that was hers alone filled him with delight.
Her wet suit clung to his chest and abs. Desire tightened them so fiercely drawing breath was a strain. He wrestled with the straps to pull them over her shoulders and find her soft and pendant breasts. He remembered those deep rose nipples of hers. How sweet and sensitive they were. For a month he had been dreaming of this sorceress, but the reality was better by far than any dream.
Ivan left the sweetness of her mouth and ran his tongue along her jaw and down to her neck where he nuzzled and nibbled the sensitive tendon. Christina’s breathless moans intensified his own desire. He cupped a heavy breast and teased the taut nipple so that she squirmed closer. Her scent filled his nostrils and made him mad with desire.
He pulled at the crotch of her tank and the sturdy Lycra tore as if it were made of tissue paper. He didn’t care. He wanted her. He pushed his own suit out of the way and lifted her onto himself. At once he felt a sense of peace and rightness that had been denied him since that night in St. Moritz.
She took all of him inside and her legs clamped hard around his waist. Her heels dug into the indentations at the base of his spine. She used her purchase on his shoulders to lever herself away from him before she sank back. Her breath came hard, huffing into his mouth while her tongue and his mated just as furiously as their pelvises.
One of her feet buried itself in the crack of his ass and pressed. He gripped her hips hard enough to bruise and bellowed into her hair. He felt her release as the vibrant echo of his own. Convulsions pulsed through her thighs, buttocks and passage. The ripples sent shock waves through his heart. Reluctantly he let her slide down his body. She was trembling and he held her close until she could stand without falling.
“This was a bad idea,” he said kissing her eyes. “Your uncle, hell, your mother, would kill me if they knew. You better put your robe on and skedaddle.”
“Why?” she asked petulantly. “Who are we hurting?”
Ivan caressed her cheek and laughed bitterly. “Do you honestly think that your family wouldn’t mind that we are screwing our brains out with no thought of marriage?” he asked.
“They don’t have to know. Why can’t we just have some fun before we go our separate ways?”
“You know why. Now disappear, before someone catches us with our pants down.” ’
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