Interview with Isla Chiu

What is your writing process?
Drink, procrastinate with Buzzfeed (which character from a show I don't watch am I? Of course I need to fucking know!), cry about finances and wonder why I didn't go into finance, get distracted by TV, then maybe get a few words down. And repeat :)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to watch TV (currently addicted to Downton Abbey and Jane the Virgin), sleep (too much), eat (excessively), drink (more than necessary, much more), and take way too many Buzzfeed quizzes. Sorry, but I need to know which character from The Vampire Diaries I am and if I'm at least 50% hipster! And of course I love to read.
What do you read for pleasure?
Lots and lots of well-written smut and romance novels. And I also love young adult novels: John Green, Meg Cabot, paranormal romances, et cetera. And for the times I'm feeling ~cerebral~, I like to read Edith Wharton and Tolstoy (no War and Peace though. I thought that was super boring. #sorrynotsorry).
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1.Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling:

J.K. Rowling isn’t the best writer—but goddamn if she isn’t a fucking fantastic storyteller. I have devoted over half of my life to this series. For years, I’ve cried and laughed and hoped along with Harry. Not to sound corny or anything, but I truly felt like I lost a friend when I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (yeah, yeah, I know there’s an eighth book, but from what I hear, some friendships aren’t meant to be resurrected). Rowling created a world I got lost in happily and willingly. And I’ll continue to get lost in her world, for as long as she keeps milking the franchise. Here’s to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky:

To be honest, only half of this book changed my life. While Konstantin Levin’s story was fine, it didn’t absorb me the same way Anna’s story did. And hello, the book is called Anna Karenina, not Anna Karenina and that Other Guy. Though I know a lot of people find Anna unsympathetic, I felt for her. I mean, can you blame her for wanting to run away with the young and handsome Count Vronsky? I certainly can’t. Oh, Anna, how I wish you had a happy ending! But I must admit the book wouldn’t resonate with me half as much if Anna didn’t throw herself under a train. Ah, Tolstoy, you do tragedy beautifully.

3. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell:

I know this book hasn’t aged well (re: racism and sexism). And there are plenty of reasons to hate Scarlett O’Hara. She’s selfish, obtuse, and callous. But you know what? At the end of the day, I still love the book and I still admire Scarlett. Very few books have managed to evoke a time period as completely and finely as Gone with the Wind with the Antebellum Era and Reconstruction Era. And say what you want about Scarlett, but she is strong as hell and she refuses to adhere to societal standards for women. Though the novel is over a thousand pages, it still felt too short to me because I didn’t want it to end.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist series by Hiromu Arakawa:

I remember when I was first reading this series, my sisters asked me, “Why are the characters’ faces so fat?” I said, “They’re not fat.” Then they said, “Yeah, they are.” Glaring at them, I said, “Whatever. This is a great manga series.” A few years later, they love the series as much as I do (if not more). In my opinion, best. Manga. Series. Ever. Although the story is incredibly dark and twisted, Arakawa injects enough humor and likable characters that reading the manga is never tortuous. And thankfully, unlike some manga authors (I’m looking at you, Tite Kubo. You are milking that Bleach cow dry), Arakawa did not drag Fullmetal out for over 70 volumes. Instead, I was left almost in happy/sad tears after 27 amazing volumes.

5. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray:

When I first heard the premise—13 teen beauty contestants get stranded on a mysterious island and struggle to survive—I thought, This has the potential to be really stupid. But Beauty Queens turned out to be the best YA satire I’ve ever read. Sure, Bray’s brand of satire isn’t exactly subtle, but it is nevertheless biting and hilarious. Honestly, I think this should be mandatory reading for teenage girls. There are too many depictions of girls tearing down each other in the media. It is all too rare to see girls caring for each other and working together the way they do in Beauty Queens.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No and probably thank God for that! I didn't know how to read till third grade, so my early attempts at writing were most likely really, really bad.
How do you approach cover design?
I troll the Internet for good stock images that I don't see that often. Once I find an image I like, I go on canva.com and use one of their amazingly free Kindle cover designs. During my self-publishing adventures under my previous pen name, I used Microsoft Paint, which was a major pain in the ass, but I was too cheap to use non-free software. But hallelujah, I discovered canva.com, which is much more professional-looking and user-friendly. My motto for cover design is usually the sexier, the better.
Published 2017-09-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Punished in Paradise
Series: The New Man of the House. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 4,350. Language: English. Published: September 24, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary, Fiction » Erotica » General
Cassandra is loving life. The former struggling stripper never thought she would be able to go to Hawaii, but thanks to her stepson Bradley, she's on a luxurious vacation in Maui. However, a little trouble comes to paradise when she disobeys Bradley, who decides to punish his stepmother in a delightfully naughty way...
I Want Her: 3 Taboo Stories
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 14,330. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » General, Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
3 sexy stories in one naughty bundle! Includes THE NEW MAN OF THE HOUSE, CHAEBOL STEPBROTHER, and BLACKMAILED BY HIS SON.
Claiming His Runaway Bride
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,450. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Alex Zhang is determined to have the perfect wedding. One hitch—his bride is missing. But Alex is dead set on claiming his runaway bride... ***A quick and sexy short story involving an alpha male hell-bent on making sure his bride says. "I do," among other things...*** WORD COUNT: 3,000
Blackmailed by His Son
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,950. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » General, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Eve is a beautiful 25-year-old woman set to marry Paul, a man twice her age. She doesn't love him, but she desperately needs his money. When Davis—Paul's handsome and arrogant son—finds out a dirty secret about her past, he takes the opportunity to blackmail her. What does he want? Her, the woman he's wanted since he first laid eyes on her...
You Equals Mine
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,550. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
An alpha male husband. An unfaithful wife. One sizzling hot weekend. When Derek finds out that his beloved wife Karen has been having an affair, he totally loses it. Then he makes it his mission to remind his wife who she belongs to always and forever. ***A sexy novelette full of over the top possessiveness and hot smut!*** WORD COUNT: 10,000
The New Man of the House: A Taboo Erotica Story
Series: The New Man of the House. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,330. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » General, Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
“I came to claim what’s mine," he says, pulling me to him. “I’m not yours,” I say, willing myself to sound more confident than I feel. “I’m the new man of the house,” my stepson says. “And as the new man of the house, I’m not letting you leave it.” ***A sexy (and taboo!) short story featuring a dominant alpha male, lust between an older woman and a younger man, and naughty pleasures!***
Loving the Chase
Series: Indecent Proposals. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,600. Language: English. Published: May 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General, Fiction » Romance » New adult
Lila Lawrence - beautiful, innocent, desperate. Chase Eastwick - sexy, arrogant, possessive. Let the chase begin... The standalone second book in the INDECENT PROPOSALS series! A sexy new adult contemporary romance novella with a hot alpha male, a beautiful virgin, and insta-love! You've been warned ;)
Taking the Bride
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,420. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » General
I was supposed to get married to Christopher Harrington, a sweet and cute accountant. But then my ex Zachary Ellroy—an insanely wealthy and drop-dead gorgeous movie star—showed up, telling me that he was the man I should be marrying instead. Even crazier? He said he wanted to put a baby inside of me...
A Night with Paradise Four: A K-Pop Idols Erotic Short
Price: Free! Words: 4,040. Language: English. Published: January 29, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » General, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
Paradise 4 is one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world and Simone Han's favorite group of all time. One night, she attends their concert and it's of course one of the best experiences of her life. But little does she know that the concert is only the beginning. By the end of the night, Paradise 4 will have her screaming for her oppas...
Chaebol Stepbrother
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,870. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » General, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
Ji-hu Park, a hot billionaire chaebol, is about to get the woman of his (wet) dreams—his stepsister.
Office Hours: A Student and Professor Story (Indecent Proposals, Book 1)
Series: Indecent Proposals. Price: Free! Words: 9,240. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » New adult
Mara knew it was a bad idea to plagiarize her paper. So when she gets caught by her professor, she expects to get expelled. But unfortunately - or fortunately? - Professor Murray has other ideas in mind for the student he's always desired... ***A sexy novelette featuring a very bad professor, light bondage, and some fun with food!***
Just Because of You
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,540. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » New adult, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Hilarie just wants to lay low during her senior year after being branded the class tramp by her loathsome ex. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't escape the notice of the new kid Eric Lawington, the arrogant but sexy son of a billionaire who makes the rich students at her school look middle-class in comparison. At first, she wants nothing to do with him, but Eric is nothing if not persistent...
His Sweet Little Addiction
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,400. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
To prevent unwanted advances from horny jerks, Serena Lee’s friend gave her a fake engagement ring. And it has worked like magic—until she encounters Shawn Choi, her overly possessive and controlling (but ridiculously sexy) ex, in a coffee shop. Despite the rock on her finger, Shawn relentlessly pursuits her. His goal—to get her in his bed and to put a ring of his own on that little finger.