Get ready to learn more about the book Heart’s Claim in this discussion with sapphic author Issy Waldrom.
Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Issy Waldrom about Heart’s Claim, writing, reading, and more.
This book is part of the Set in Australia / New Zealand category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.
Why did you write Heart’s Claim?
I’d recently started reading sapphic romances, and fell in love with the genre. I wanted to branch out from what I’d been doing, and focus more heavily on the relationship aspect of the story that I usually did. Of course, speculative is what I’m comfortable doing, and I have a soft spot for shifter stories, hence we got Heart’s Claim.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
Elara ^^ She means a lot to me. Trans woman author, so the association there is clear, but even though she has achieved a lot, both with her writing and transition, she still struggles with her self worth. Of being wanted and accepted. But even with all of that, she still shows strength and determination. Most importantly, it wasn’t her being trans as what defined her.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The original title for the book was the series name (Where Our Paths May Cross). But as I was writing it, I realised that it didn’t fit it in the same way that I had thought, and that I wanted something that associated more with the over all theme of the book. And given the focus on the bond between Riley and Elara, Heart’s Claim felt like a perfect fit.
If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
There will definitely be a sequel, and the first chapter has already been written (though it’ll be a while off before it gets completed, as I’m working on another project at the moment – I have a tendency to pen the first chapter of a sequel, and then leave it for a while).
Candace is one of the main characters, as I thought that she deserved her own story and HEA. It will be another shifter story as well, and I hinted at it at the end of Heart’s Claim.
What is your favorite line from your book?
Unfortunately, her and chocolate really didn’t have the healthiest of relationships. It was a little one-sided, a tinge aggressive, and rather short-lived.
(The key part of one of my favorite scenes.)
What is your writing process like?
I’m definitely a pantser. I find it near impossible to outline a book, and know that if I tried it’d be just a shade of what it could have been. I start with an idea, and the characters grow and the plot develops as I write, and I find that things that I never considered come to me as I pen the story. Once a story has been completed, the sequel will always start with a more solid foundation, but the process is still the same.
Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
At the desk where my PC is set up. A quiet background is essential (no kids watching TV for example), but I also always listen to music while writing, and I can be quite particular about what I am listening to.
What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?
How tired I am. I’ve found that if I’m too tired, I’m completely unable to parse sentences properly, and I just sit there staring at the screen. It’s not always easy to get enough sleep or be relaxed/rested enough, but I guess like most tasks, it is essential.
What author in your genre do you most admire, and why?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I admire a lot of authors, for the stories that they’ve written and how successful they’ve been with them. Britney Jackson comes to mind, with her Creatures of Darkness series. How those stories reflect part of her journey in life, and how much I really enjoyed them.
Have you ever cried when writing an emotional scene?
Yup! A major character got killed in Soul Flames (a pivotal event for a number of characters), and apparently just writing it effected me as well. Crying while writing a scene is definitely a strange experience.
What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?
Sapphic urban fantasy/supernatural. I’ve always loved fantasy stories, and it formed the bulk of my reading in my younger years. The romance and sapphic aspects were more recent, reflecting when I came out, and my discovery of my taste for romance stories in general (a genre that I had barely touched beforehand).
What books did you grow up reading?
Two series stand out, from my high-school years in particular – Discworld books by Terry Prachett and Shannara books by Terry Brooks. Showed me the potential and depth of fantasy worlds and their stories, and helped foster my love for the genre.
What books have you read more than once in your life?
Wishsong of Shannara I read multiple times over the years, while I was still reading the series – that it had a female lead was a major part of the story (and should have been a big hint for me).
More recently, Scatter by Molly Bragg. It has many elements that appeal to me (along with being a great story), and I just enjoy rereading the characters journeys. In some cases, knowing how it ends up elevate the stress from angst elements in the story, and allows me to enjoy it more.