Isabel Hawkins completely understands why a boy would not want her. She sleeps in the hayloft, rides horses, enjoys sword-fighting, and speaks her mind. Isabel is supposed to wed a nobleman, but instead she has fallen in love with Mathew, a stable boy with a wicked past. To others, Mathew is a nobody who wants to become a knight.
William Wentworth, master of the estate, is convinced by his malicious jousting partner, Sir John Scotch, that Isabel must immediately change her ways and begin acting like who she truly is: the adopted daughter of a nobleman. All Isabel wants to do is spend her life with Mathew. But when Sir John sends a spy to watch her every move, Isabel is forced into a world where everyone knows the secrets of her past, except her. As tragedy slowly unfolds, Isabel soon discovers no one can save her from her evil foes. Not her family, a ghost, or any of the men who secretly love her.
In this medieval adventure, a woman willing to risk everything for true love is embroiled in a vicious battle between good and evil where her destiny is finally revealed.
Praise for Isabel:
Author Schoeman adds a clever twist to the classic medieval romance, not only enhancing the plot but tapping into a contemporary hunger for the supernatural.
Schoeman weaves a tale with surprising twists and an ending so shocking you’ll be flipping back pages to make sure you read it correctly.
-Jillian Nagel, review in The Rider, Ontario’s Equine Industry’s Newspaper
A Few Interviews:
E. L. Schoeman: An Author Overcoming Obstacles by Jill Nagel March 12, 2014
What does it take to make your dreams come true? First-time author, E.L. Schoeman, has overcome obstacles and adversity on the road to releasing a brand new young adult novel. Isabel is the tale of a spirited young woman who defies the odds, refuses to be defined by the views of others, and attempts to get what she wants at any cost. The same can be said about the novel’s young writer.
24-year-old Schoeman, grew up on a horse farm outside of Caledonia, Ontario. They say write what you know, and she does just that, letting her passion for horses seep into a story of swordplay and secrets. The titular protagonist would rather sleep in the stables than her adoptive father’s home. She’s a noblewoman in name only and is happiest on horseback. Like Isabel, Schoeman has overcome many roadblocks to get where she is today. From illiteracy to health problems, this determined young woman knows what it takes to fight for what you want. I was able to talk to Schoeman about her life, her loves, and the publishing process.
Fresh Print: I feel like we should start at the beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
E. L. Schoeman: I am twenty-four years old. I grew up on a horse farm outside Caledonia. Needless to say, I love horses. I own two of my own. When I’m not writing, reading, or riding horses, I’m usually thinking about what I should write next…or I’m dreaming of riding horses.
Fresh Print: When did you start writing?
E. L. Schoeman: Books and I have had a very long history together. When I was young, my parents were told I would never be able to read or write. Because I couldn’t read, I hated books. Yet, I was envious of my older sister. I would sneak into her room, open her books and look at the words I couldn’t understand and I would think, ‘they must be the most wonderful, enchanting things. If only I had the keys to unlock them.’
I was going to drop-out of high school my first year in. I was failing classes, and no one, just like I had been accustomed to, believed I could do anything.
Fresh Print: What happened?
E. L. Schoeman: In my second year of high school, things changed. I met an English teacher who was different from everyone else. He believed in me. Suddenly, I went from failing to As. In fact, when I told him I’d never received an A before his class, he didn’t believe me. Before the end, I was planning on going to university (something no one expected of me.)
Fresh Print: Which university did you attend?
E. L. Schoeman: I became very ill my last year of high school and had to home school myself for my last months there. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t do anything. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and missed my chance at university.
Fresh Print: But you didn’t give up on writing.
E. L. Schoeman: As months went by, confined to my room, I restarted a story I’d started when I was sixteen. I wrote the first draft of Isabel. It was my way of living—a way to focus the pain that I was in and a way to bring myself hope.
Soon, writing became something I had and have to do. If I don’t write, I feel like shit. I feel purposeless. I feel like I’m spinning out of control. And I feel guilt for every second I’m not writing—as if I’ve done something horribly wrong for stepping away from my books to eat, or sleep, or pay my bills. I have now written six books. Isabel was my first book written, my first book published, and the closest thing to my heart that anything in this world can get.
Fresh Print: How long did it take you to write Isabel?
E. L. Schoeman: It took me eight months to write Isabel, and six years after that to see it published.
Fresh Print: When did you know this was more than just a hobby?
E. L. Schoeman: I knew I wanted to get my work published the moment I knew I wanted to do nothing else but write books. Being a sensible human being, I realize I need money in this world to feed and shelter myself. I hope my novels will permit me to become a full-time writer.
Fresh Print: What was the publishing process like? What was your first step?
E. L. Schoeman: It took six years after writing Isabel to see the book published. I sent the first draft of Isabel to traditional publishers, and they very rightly, sent me some actually very kind rejection letters. The third draft, the fine-tuned draft, wasn’t sent to traditional publishers.
Fresh Print: You decided to self publish.
E. L. Schoeman: I didn’t set out to self-publish at first. I just knew I wanted the book a certain way, and when I learned more about self-publishing, I knew it was the right choice for me and my book. But no, traditional publishers never had a chance to look at Isabel. I wanted full control. I knew that, and once I discovered self-publishing, the decision wasn’t challenging.
Fresh Print: Self-publishing can be tricky. How did you go about editing?
E. L. Schoeman:The process is a long and agonising one. I printed out six copies of the book and gave it to friends and family. Then I had a freelance editor who used to work for Penguin Group take a crack at it. Then it went through an Editorial Evaluation from iUniverse (the company used to print the book.) Then I worked on it some more. Finally, I had a professor go over the story. That was a long, long process.
Fresh Print: What was it like to hold your first novel in your hands?
E. L. Schoeman: Seeing my novel published, holding Isabel in my hands—I imagine is what it must be like to hold your own child in your arms for the first time.
Fresh Print: What tips would you give to those thinking about self-publishing?
E. L. Schoeman: If you’re going down the self-publishing path, don’t rush and edit, edit, edit.
Fresh Print: Thank you so much for talking to us. Do you have any final words to all of the writers out there?
E. L. Schoeman: Never give up. You need persistence, tough skin, and a whole lot of patience. If you’re rejected, put your novel away for three to five months, and then bring it out, go over it, and try again. And don’t choose ‘being published’ over class.
Willing Writer, Aspiring Artist, Successful Geek. Jill is a freelance writer and wannabe publisher. As an avid fantasy fan, she spends her free time deep in the depths of comic book lore, and staying out of the way as an extra on film sets. Read more about Jill on our Contributors page
Caledonia author releases debut novel
NEWS Jan 28, 2014 The Sachem By Tamara Botting
It took Caledonia’s Ellen Schoeman eight months to pen her debut novel, ‘Isabel,’ and another six years to see it published.
“I got very sick just after I graduated high school. I was all ready to go to university- I had already been accepted- but I couldn’t do anything. So, I just sat and wrote all day, every day,” said Ellen, 24.
“Being her mother, I am prejudiced, but her father and I have never seen anyone as dedicated as Ellen is to her writing, especially with her age,” said Sherry Schoeman. “Through those months, she stayed so dedicated to her writing.”
After an early misdiagnosis, it was determined that she had fibromyalgia. “It will always be there, but I can manage it. I have it under control,” she said.
Despite her diagnosis, Ellen remains driven and determined.
“I have five more books written; two of them are installments in a series,” she said. All of her books fall into the category of young adult fiction, and while “they’re all different, they all have fantasy aspects.”
It’s been said that to write, one must read, and Ellen is an avid bookworm.
“I read everything. Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady is my favourite book. Rowling’s Harry Potter series were the first books that really got me into reading. I also love reading Shakespeare,” said Ellen.
It’s possible that her reading appetite has influenced Ellen’s writing.
Isabel is a medieval adventure story about “love, betrayal and tragedy. It’s about what love really is,” said Ellen. “Most people’s concept of love is quite ‘Disneyfied.’ This is more of a true perspective. Love doesn’t always work out like you expect. It might not work out at all, or you have to fight for love, for your relationship with a person.”
The character Isabel starts out as what Ellen describes as “a naïve romantic”; however, as the book carries on, she learns more about real life and love.
“There is a lot of tragedy and darkness in the story, but… it is still hopeful. The boy she loves is still there with her at the end.”
Looking to the future, “I would love to be a full-time writer. If I could do that for the rest of my life, I would be in heaven,” she said.
Isabel is available online on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and http://www.chapters.ca. It will also be available through Haldimand County Public Library.
The book has been released under the name E. L. Schoeman.