A Londoner originally, Isobel Blackthorn has chalked up over seventy addresses to date, in various locations in England, Australia, Spain and the Canary Islands. Elements of her extraordinary life have a habit of finding their way into her fiction, providing her with a ready supply of inspiration.
Isobel grew up in and around Adelaide, South Australia as a ten-pound Pom. It was in 1973 and she had just turned eleven when she discovered she wanted to dedicate her life to writing fiction. That was the year her parents owned a roadhouse with a pool table, a juke box and a pinball machine. The year she hand-reared a lamb and spent weekends on her best friend’s farm. Isobel may have pursued her dream right then, but life had other plans.
Isobel arrived at writing in her forties. By then, her creativity was ready to explode.
Currently Isobel has nine novels published, plus a short-story collection. She writes across a range of genres but the occult does tend to make an appearance in most of her works. She holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949), who was a key inspiration for the New Age movement.
Much controversy surrounds Alice Bailey, not least she is a pet hate of conspiracy theorists, in most part due to her keen support for the United Nations. Yet almost no one in mainstream society has heard of her. In keeping with writers seeking to draw attention to forgotten women in history, Isobel drew on her comprehensive knowledge and penned The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey. The main narrative traces Alice Bailey’s life, focusing on the early 1930s. This narrative is framed by a contemporary story inhabited by archivist Heather Brown, who has been given the manuscript papers of a deceased professor. The frame allows for a contemporary exploration of Alice Bailey’s legacy.
Isobel has a life-long passion for the Canary Islands. She had the good fortune to live on one of the islands in the 1980s. She never wanted to leave. To honour the islands that have a special place in her heart, she is writing a series of novels that interconnect through their characters. Together the novels will provide a sweeping overview of the Canary Islands’ unique history, culture and society, and environments, islands that were pivotal in the conquest of the Americas.
So far there are two novels in her Canary Island series. Isobel is at work on a third, with plans for a fourth.
A Matter of Latitude is a gripping mystery thriller that takes in Lanzarote’s legendary corruption culture. Isobel visited the island in 2016 and met with various officials, locals and activists who described in detail the issues of corruption at play there. Despite the heavy theme, the story is filled with adventure, humour and intrigue as English ex-pat Paula searches for her missing husband, local artist and anti-corruption activist Celestino, and a number of his paintings turn up in odd places in his stead.
The second in the Canary Islands series is Clarissa’s Warning. This novel is a gothic mystery set on Fuerteventura, a desert island renowned for its exquisite beaches. Isobel has visited Fuerteventura several times, but it was her friendship with a local photographer that inspired her to write the novel. In true gothic style, at the centre of Clarissa’s Warning is a haunted house, in this instance an ancient ruin being restored by Claire Bennett. Themes of power and oppression intertwine with spooky happenings as Claire tries to discover who lived in her house before her and why it is said to be cursed.
Unlike her characters, Isobel now lives with her little white cat not far from Melbourne on Australia’s wild southern coast. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, learning Spanish, visiting family and friends and travelling overseas, especially to her beloved Lanzarote, the island that has captured her heart.
An avid storyteller with much to say, the author’s professional ambition is to keep writing suspenseful novels set on the Canary Islands, interspersed with other works of fiction.