Having written her first story when she was six (albeit it a brief one) Isabelle settled upon a life-long relationship with the written word. After completing a degree in English Literature she embarked on a career as a journalist, seeking unusual, uplifting and courageous real-life stories that she could turn into front-page articles. Having spent over ten years writing for the biggest national newspapers and magazines in the UK Isabelle has watched her stories become international sensations and even BBC documentaries. More recently Isabelle has worked as a ghostwriter and recently completed a non-fiction book for an international publishing company. In her spare time (as well as raising a family) Isabelle is passionate about writing fiction and has been longlisted for the Mslexia novel competition.
As a Story Terrace writer, Isy interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!
My Place at the Table
I scooped my spoon just above the coffee-soaked, sponge fingers, carefully collecting the clouds of cocoa-powder-covered cream before dolloping them into a bowl.
‘You can’t just take the cream and leave the base,’ Mum said.
My parent’s dinner parties always culminated in tiramisu served underneath the fog of Marlboro Lights. When the music switched from scratchy Bob Dylan to the electronic Human League it meant Mum was in charge of the CD player and pudding was about to be served. The resulting clatter of coffee cups and china bowls was my cue to join the table. At eight years old, in my home, children could be seen and heard, even at adult occasions but they had to earn their place at the table. The price was entertainment.
My family dealt in stories. Dad was a journalist and Mum a book-worm and nurse, between them there were decades of entertaining material.
‘Tell them about the time you met the heir to the toilet-paper company,’ Dad chuckled.
It was a kindness they shared, setting each other up so they could retell their favourite anecdotes, the really showy ones that sparkled like badges on an honorary sash.
‘Well, he was trying to impress me, told me how much he earned, what car he drove. I told him, “I’m a nurse, so I guess we both help people wipe their arses.” Served him right for being flashy.’
A cackle of laughter travelled around the table and then their eyes turned to me. The telling of the story was almost as important as the detail, there was an art to it. I ran through the past seven days, ordering memories by their entertainment value. My life consisted of school, making up dance routines with my best friend and an imaginary but meaningful relationship with the lead singer of Blur, Damon Albarn.
‘I got sacked from playing a nun in the school play because I ran away from a rehearsal…’ I started.
‘What’s the play?’ Mum’s friend asked.
‘The Sound Of Music,’ I said with a slight smile.
‘Isn’t that whole play about a runaway nun?’
I nodded as chuckles spread around the table. Mum and Dad laughed the loudest.
Back then telling a story was a way to pass time, impress my parents, even get out of trouble, I had no way of knowing it would become my career.