One of my early memories is of sitting on the floor of my bedroom, reading a Little Golden Book about a bunny. Every time the bunny hopped, I’d hop around the room. Or I’d wiggle my nose or shake my imaginary bunny ears. I didn’t just want to read about the bunny, I wanted to become the bunny. There was something magical about getting so immersed in a book that, for a little while, I was the main character.
While other kids were imitating their favorite movie stars, I was writing a diary like Emily Byrd Starr’s or wearing my hair in braids—and then elaborate up-dos—like Anne Shirley. I searched the back of every wardrobe I encountered for Narnia. I dubbed the garden behind my grandparents’ house my “secret garden” and wanted a fingerprinting kit so I could pretend to be Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden or Sherlock Holmes. And, of course, the sweetest, hottest boys in the world were my book boyfriends.
Confession: to this day, if a book character has an awesome outfit, I’ll try my best to find and imitate it.
Drawing on fictional characters for inspiration, I’ve been able to push through difficult situations. I’ve stood at podiums and walked into labs and defended my point of view with a much-braver-than-me fictional character buoying me up. Books have given me strength and empathy and, yes, a killer sense of style. I even have one favorite author to thank for my love of hair tinsel (sparkle. In my hair. YES, please!)
The main character in my debut, BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER, though, takes bookishness to a whole new level when she turns her favorite books into romance advice manuals. When Phoebe tries to catch Dev’s attention by quoting straight from her favorite paranormal romance or acting like a kick-ass fantasy character, things don’t quite go as smoothly for her as it does in her books. Still, what could possibly go wrong with such great reference material?
I call BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER my love story to book nerds, and I can’t wait to share Phoebe, her books, and her friends with everyone in the fall of 2015.
|Growing up, Isabel Bandeira split her time between summers surrounded by castles and Celtic tombs in Portugal and the rest of the year hanging around the lakes and trees of Southern New Jersey, which only fed her fairy-tale and nature obsessions. Even though she tones down her love of all things glittery when she’s engineering medical devices during the day, it all comes out in her writing. Her YA contemporary novel, BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER, releases in Fall 2015 from Spencer Hill Contemporary. You’ll find her at all hours on Twitter @emberchyld.