When it comes to diversifying my bookshelf I am keen to grab books in different genres – from the not-so-popular genres for me! Also, I love to support indie authors, knowing they work so hard to self-publish their work, therefore I would love you to meet Celine Callow today. She is a bright new voice in the “book kingdom” with her attention-grabbing writing style and reletable characters.
I got the chance to review the first book in her new thriller series “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”! You can read the synopsis of the book now and I will post my review shortly after. If you follow me on instagram (click here), you can already access to my short review!
Two totally different women. One summer that will change their lives forever.
A dark and humorous suspense story. Isabella makes a living conning wealthy men out of their fortunes. She’s been raised to be a cold, heartless, manipulation machine and she does pretty well for herself. Isabella isn’t bothered about finding love or starting a family, she prefers to keep things simple by looking out for
There is one problem though…when Isabella loses her temper from time to time, bad things happen. The kind of bad things that mean somebody goes missing. herself and acting in her own best interests, only.
Celine was also so kind to answer some of my questions, so let’s get to know the person behind the story better!
>Have you always wanted to be an author? <
I have definitely always wanted to be an author! I’ve written stories and poems since I was really really young I just had to get better at actually finishing them. I love creating stories with words and even if I wasn’t publishing I’d definitely still be writing.
>Describe yourself in 5 words!<
I would describe myself as creative, funny (I hope), lazy (sometimes), optimistic and thoughtful.
> What inspires you to write?<
Mostly, I’m inspired by writers of all kinds; novelists, poets and songwriters. I like a lot of glamour and darkness and sensuality. I’ve been told I have a ‘noir’ kind of writing style which I guess I do but it comes naturally to me, writing about the themes that interest me. I do kind of steal things from real life, like someone tells me a story or I see something and think ‘oh my god, this would be amazing in a book’. I feel like real life will always be stranger than fiction so I definitely take a lot of my inspiration from my own experiences.
>What is your writing ritual if you have one?<
Pre-pandemic I had a really good writing routine. I’m a student so I had plenty of time to walk down to my local library, pick up a coffee on the way and write all day long. I liked writing at the top floor in the silent section on a big table in front of the window that overlooks the town. That was my only ritual really but I found the surroundings really helped me focus, that and a couple of strong black coffees. Things are totally different now! My routine is a bit crazy and I just got a new puppy who likes to wake up crying at 5am so I’m not getting much done these days. I’ve taken a little break from writing but I’m going to try and get back into a better routine over the next couple of days.
> How long have you been working on your new release “La Belle” series? <
I wrote the first part as a short story for my ‘Bad Women’ collection which was published back in November 2019. I started working on the first novella earlier this year. I was just experimenting at first and I wasn’t sure if I would finish it but then I got hooked on the story and really invested in the characters and it all sort of flowed out.
> We know that Isabella (the main character) is really determined, fierce and always gets what she wants. How much can you relate to her? <
I can relate to every character in some way because they’re all from my imagination so I empathise with them all a little bit. Isabella is definitely determined but she’s not a good person. I’d say she’s like the ‘shadow’ version of me. She’s a lot of fun to write and I love her in a cool-villain-with-more-under-the-surface kind of way. She’s basically me if you subtract the empathy and self-consciousness and other general human stuff but I think a lot of people can probably recognise a bit of themselves in characters like Isabella. I can relate a lot to the two main characters Isabella and Emma but in completely different ways.
>Isabella appears as a strong feminist in the prequel, who does what she does only for her love. Can we know more about her relationship?<
Isabella is pretty manipulative and likes to give people what they need so she can get what she wants from them. Isabella’s only genuine relationship is with Vivian and it’s pretty complicated but yes, she would do just about anything for her. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give away any spoilers!
> What would Isabella wear to a cocktail party?<
Hmm, good question! She would probably wear something elegant and classic like a knee-length cocktail dress with a scoop back neck. Isabella’s fashion is really fun to write, she’s always conscious of her appearance and she uses style like a weapon.
>Writing a thriller might sound difficult, but reading your book I would say you are a professional in this! Why thriller? <
Thank you so much! This is my first full blown thriller and I’m loving every second. I think the story just kind of veered in that direction and naturally as it unfolded there were lots of twists and turns. I love the idea of shocking people and taking them on a winding journey. I really love this genre and I think I’ll stick with it for a while, I’ve already got so many ideas for new thrillers.
> What is the first song you associate the series with?<
Probably anything from the Born to Die album by Lana Del Rey. I fell in love with that album when it came out and it’s been a big artistic influence on me ever since. The glamour and the drama of it really speak to me. If I had to pick a specific song for the series it would be ‘Off to the Races’ or the unreleased songs ‘Serial Killer’ and ‘Playing Dangerous’, those songs are 100% Isabella.
>How is the procedure of self-publishing your books?<
Self-publishing was so scary at first but I just published my third book so I’m getting used to it. Publishing on online platforms is pretty straightforward, the really hard bit is finding readers. It’s hard to reach an audience when you’re starting out as an unknown author but slowly I feel like different people are getting to know about my books. It’s definitely a long game, you have to just keep going and not give up even when things feel like they’re not getting very far.
>Can we get a sneak-peak for the upcoming books?<
Of course! In the La Belle series, Isabella is going to take a long journey to a far away country and we’re going to eventually meet Vivian, face to face. That’s all for now, sorry! I have to keep the rest a secret.
Thank you Celine for this lovely interview, I am so excited to get more of Isabella and her adventures! The book is available now. Check it out here.