Thursday, 9 February 2012

Authors in the Limelight: Amaleen Ison

The Trouble with NightingaleI want to thank and welcome author, Amaleen Ison for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her book, The Trouble with Nightingale, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

Here’s a peek:   
When eighteen year old Millie Scrubbings moves to new digs on East London’s Nightingale Estate, she believes she’s finally closed the door on a childhood dictated by strangers. But overnight, her peaceful high-rise turns bonkers, and a series of grisly murders leaves Millie frightened and more helpless than ever.

Millie must accept her lead role in rescuing Nightingale from its descent into anarchy, or risk all Hell breaking loose.
How long have you been writing, Amaleen?

I discovered writing while on maternity leave. Though I adored looking after my daughter, I longed for something to occupy my mind. I’m the type of person who needs a project. One day I flipped open the lid of my laptop, opened a word document, and started writing. One paragraph became two, and soon I’d typed the first chapter of a novel. I haven’t stopped writing since.
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Trouble with Nightingale?

I used a prompt from an anthology call to create The Trouble with Nightingale. When finished, my tale exceeded the publisher’s maximum word count, and the story had evolved into something different than the original premise. So I looked for other markets to send my manuscript and found Musa Publishing.
What sets The Trouble with Nightingale apart from other books in the same genre?

The Trouble with Nightingale is dark and witty, the characters unexpected. None of them are what they seem. Animals play a huge role, but it’s difficult to say more without spoiling the plot. Also, to my knowledge, the setting is unique. I’m not aware of any other urban fantasy story set in an East London high-rise. In fact the location is so important, I named the book after the block of flats my MC lives in.
As an author, Amaleen, what is your writing process?

It changes. As I learn, I apply different techniques. I’ve tried plotting and pantsing, but generally I need to do a bit of both. The only constant is a steaming mug of tea. If I didn’t have my beverage of choice sitting beside my laptop, I’m not sure I’d be able to write a word.
How long did it take for you to start and finish The Trouble with Nightingale?

Nightingale only took a few weeks to complete. I wrote most of it in my garden last July. Something about fresh air, nature, and sweet summer sunshine set my muse into overdrive.
Do you have any advice for other writers, Amaleen?

Don’t write in a vacuum. You need to read vicariously, gain feedback on your writing, and if possible critique the work of other authors.
The best thing I ever did for my writing was join an on-line critiquing site. Gaining constructive feedback and learning to spot issues in a manuscript raised my game. Not only that, I met some wonderful writing friends. We continue to support one another as we move towards publication and beyond.  We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

That’s great advice, since most writers tend to be solitary creatures. So, what’s next for Amaleen Ison the author?
I have a YA urban fantasy novel to finish. In the words of my good writing buddy, Ruth Lauren Steven, it is my ‘training bra novel’. I used The Downlands (working title) to learn to write. The novel has evolved with my writing skill, so it’s in a huge mess. I plan to tear the manuscript apart and rebuild it. Hopefully The Downlands will emerge bright and shiny.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
If I could ensure my safety and return journey—I have heaps of commitments so dying or getting injured isn’t an option—I’d love to travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. Ever since my mum took me to visit the Natural History Museum when I was seven, I’ve had a fascination with the ginormous monsters. I cried when I watched Jurassic Park for the first time. No, really! That moment when the camera pans to show the Brachiosaurus took my breath away.

My five-year-old daughter has caught my dinosaur bug. Every opportunity, she hounds me to take her to the Natural History Museum to see the animatronic model of T-Rex. The museum has explorer packs for children– a backpack filled with a hat, binoculars, and other goodies. Armed with the exploring essentials, we stalk the exhibits and pretend we’re tracking real dinosaurs.


Twitter @AmaleenIson


  1. That's on my TBR pile! I'm excited to dig in!

    1. Thanks, June. I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. :-)

  2. Great interview, Amaleen and June. I'm so glad you found a home for The Trouble With Nightingale at Musa. It's a wonderful story and I can't believe you wrote it in a pleasant, peaceful garden!

    1. Musa had been a fabulous publisher to work with. I can't recommend them highly enough.
      Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne.

  3. Lovely interview. I like dinosaurs, too. I miss stepping on them every morning. Someday I'll have grandkids to roar with--until then I have memories. Best of luck with TWN.

    1. There's nothing like making a fool of yourself in public by roaring like a dinosaur. :-)
      Glad you enjoyed the interview. Sharon asks great questions.

  4. Sharon, the interview looks fantastic. Thank you so much for having me.

  5. I'm intrigued to discover how the animals fit in with all this murder and mayhem. Probably will have to read this one.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this interview, and I'm another dinosaur lover. My favorite pastime is to dig in the dirt for bones and shark teeth.

    1. I haven't been digging for bones yet. I wouldn't know where to start, Cordelia. But I've always fancied the idea of joining an excavation and wearing a hat like Indian Jones :-)

  6. I think Amaleen would look smashing in an Indian Jones's hat! Best of luck with The Trouble with Nightingale! Sounds like you've got some rock solid fans!