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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Post by Isable Cooper, Author of No Proper Lady

Isabel Cooper Guest Blog, Author of No Proper Lady
Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf; September 22, 2011

Let me get started by saying that it’s great to be on Martha’s Bookshelf, and that I really appreciate the chance to talk a little about No Proper Lady and my writing process in general.

Science fiction and fantasy has been a huge influence on my work, both No Proper Lady and, well, just about all the other fiction I’ve ever written. I started out with fairy tales and Disney movies, moved on to Lord of the Rings and similar epic fantasy pretty quickly, and had gained a pretty good familiarity with the horror end of the spectrum, largely via Lovecraft and King, by the time I was a teenager. My own tendencies are more along the fantasy end of the spectrum, as I like woogy spiritual stuff, but I can definitely appreciate some good space opera as well.  At the moment, as well as the works I mentioned above, my favorite fantasy authors include Robin McKinley, Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Carey, S.M. Sterling, E.E. Knight, Mercedes Lackey, Jim Hines, and a slew of others. Being extremely nerdy, I’m also more than passingly familiar with roleplaying games and video games, and with the fantasy worlds portrayed there.

When I think about writing No Proper Lady, I can point to quite a few fantasy and science fiction works that definitely had an influence. There’s Terminator, of course—thus the tag line of the novel—but the beings Joan and Simon end up fighting owe a whole lot to Lovecraft and King. Sterling and Knight (and King as well, via the Dark Tower and The Stand) contributed to my fascination with post-apocalyptic Crapsack Worlds (tm TV Tropes, and you should only Google *that* site if you have a lot of time on your hands) and to the way Joan’s ragtag band of doomed future heroes constructed their society and traditions. Lackey’s Elemental Masters series is a great one for Victorian occult weirdness, and everyone else…well, I can’t point to anything specific, but my mind, magpie-like, picks up anything shiny and keeps it around for later. Add to that a general interest in the Victorian Age and the high weirdness that was going on there—or that people thought was going on there—and a general love for the badass warrior woman archetype, and I was pretty well off to the races.

I like to say that I write the way that a friend of mine mixes cocktails: you take a little from here, a little from there, the end of the bottle of peppermint vodka, and add a bunch of Hershey’s Syrup. Hopefully it’ll end up tasting good. At least you’ll have fun in the process. I immensely enjoyed writing No Proper Lady, and I owe all the authors I mentioned a lot for giving me the inspiration to, er, put everything in a blender and hit “frappe”. I hope you’ll have as much fun with the final result.


It’s Terminator meets My Fair Lady in this fascinating debut of black magic and brilliant ball gowns, martial arts, and mysticism.

England, 1888. The trees are green, the birds are singing, and in 200 years demons will destroy it all. Unless Joan, a rough-around-the-edges assassin from the future, can take out the dark magician responsible. But to get close to her target she’ll need help learning how to fit into polite Victorian society to get close to her target.

Simon Grenville has his own reasons for wanting to destroy Alex Reynell. The man used to be his best friend—until his practice of the dark arts almost killed Simon’s sister. The beautiful half-naked stranger Simon meets in the woods may be the perfect instrument for his revenge. It will just take a little time to teach her the necessary etiquette and assemble a proper wardrobe. But as each day passes, Simon is less sure he wants Joan anywhere near Reynell. Because no spell in the world will save his future if she isn’t in it.

Debut author Isabel Cooper lives in Boston and maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing. She only travels through time the normal way and has never fought a demon, but she can waltz. Her next book, No Honest Woman, will be in stores in April 2011. For more information, please visit

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