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Isabelle Verges publishes her first novel, "Vagues à lames", a dream come true

04 July 2022 Portraits / Podcasts

What is your career path after TBS Education?  


I graduated in 1998 and my career path was built around the marketing and sales sectors. I still remember that at our graduation, we were told that our generation was destined to change companies 12 times on average, I didn't really believe it but I guess I'm not that far off! After TBS, I went on to various positions in industry and IT as a BtoB business engineer, Customer Supply Chain Manager, Product Manager... Today, I am a freelance in a recruitment agency as a recruitment manager since 2020 in the Bordeaux region. At the same time, my passion for writing has only grown, and has led me to publish my first novel: "Vagues à lames". I have always preferred the "writing" part of my professional activities, whether it be in the writing of content (websites, product sheets, training) or currently in the personality summaries of candidates. I have managed to integrate my taste for writing into my various professional experiences. In fact, I always dreamed of writing a novel and then one day I dared.

How did this dream come true?


I've always written, a lot of poems in particular, but also about my days, about my family. I've had an artistic side since I was little and I loved literature, French and philosophy. Even if I dreamed of writing a book, I wanted to feel legitimate before embarking on this crazy adventure. To do this, I took the Masterclass in writing at "The Artist Academy" with Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. The objective of this training was to stimulate our creativity while learning and mastering the techniques transmitted by the author in order to define our own writing method. In addition to the feeling of legitimacy, this Masterclass gave me the keys to build a coherent book.  A real source of inspiration, it was a springboard for my project.


How do you find the inspiration to write a whole novel?


In writing my first novel, I was inspired by my environment, particularly in the choice of geographical locations. I chose cities that I love: the story takes place between Toulouse, Bordeaux and the Arcachon basin. These are places that have marked me: Toulouse, my home town, where I studied, and the Arcachon basin, a region I fell in love with following a professional opportunity. My inspiration came very naturally. 

I've always had a great imagination which allowed me to create a 100% fictional story, inspired by my interests in sports and music but also by my environment. As I was writing, the imagination was growing, I don't know how to explain it, it was natural for me. I just wanted to have a cool, slightly girly story that was like what I like to read.


What are the steps in writing a novel? Is it a long process?


I started by writing down several ideas in a notebook, especially about the characters. I had learnt during the Masterclass that it is important to work on your characters, to define their qualities and their defects. Then I thought about a structured plan and when I felt it was detailed enough and as ornate as possible, I started. I started writing and then there were some changes in the writing. New characters came in, I made adaptations as I went along and my outline grew. In total, the writing took a year, in the middle of Covid, so I really had time to focus on it. Then I tested it on several readers of different ages among my relatives. Finally, I made corrections following their remarks. It took me two years from my plan to publication after final correction by a professional. In the end, the most tedious work was the search for a publishing house: a real obstacle course (laughs)!

I was starting from scratch, with no experience in this field, and I wanted to do things properly. But I was confronted with a major problem: publishing houses almost never take on first-time novelists. So I chose Librinova, a self-publishing house. Their packaged offer allowed me to go faster to publish my novel. This support in self-publishing makes the publication of a book accessible while democratising access to publishing. My novel is available to order in more than 5,000 bookshops in France and on the Amazon, Fnac, Cultural or Espaces Culturels Leclerc websites. This is already a good showcase for me!


What makes this novel special?


I don't pretend to say that my novel is special (laughs). It's just a nice story to read, to get away from it all, a "feel good" novel in short. It's a love story with all the different hazards that this entails, in a playful environment between music and sport. I wanted this story to make you dream. The heroine is a person who takes her life in hand after having neglected herself a little at the expense of her family, she then lives new adventures with the ocean and nature as a backdrop. It's a brave thing to write, because, while telling a totally fictional story, we draw on our own experiences and feelings, but always in the imaginary. But my entourage sometimes finds it hard to understand. This novel is the concretisation of a passion, I hope that the adventure has just begun.


How did your training at TBS Education help you in this new project? 


It was when I asked about the publishing world that I realised that my training at TBS Education was an asset. In a very competitive world, marketing, communication and networking are essential. As well as the physical prospecting part which is very important to get known and to promote the book within fairs or during signing sessions. In fact, TBS Education and my professional experience helped me to understand the codes of this particular sector and to apply my commercial sense.


Does it make you dream to be a full-time writer?


Indeed, that would be my goal if I had the opportunity, but it is a particular sector where it is difficult to make a place for yourself. Many publishing houses suffered during the Covid crisis, some merged or closed. It's not very profitable financially when you're starting out like me. I would like to make a living out of my passion, but I need a large dose of optimism (laughs).


What are your future projects?


I'd like to find time to write the sequel to this novel again, finish my author website and my associated blog. I also have in mind a third book linked to the different professional experiences I have had in management but fictionalised of course. One day I hope to become a full time writer and live from my passion.


What advice can you give to an Alumni who wants to start writing?


I think you have to be persevering, motivated, but above all not hesitate to put your desire into practice. Of course, this requires a certain amount of rigour and organisation in order to propose a project that respects the reader. It also requires learning good practices. I think that if the motivation is really there, everyone can manage to find the necessary energy. It's a very rewarding experience and no one should put barriers in the way of achieving their dream, be it artistic or otherwise. It is also important to have the support of those close to you and to listen to constructive criticism, especially during the book testing phase. I am also very willing to share my experience. That's why I would like to move forward quickly on the creation of my website where I will tell about my experience, and I hope it will help more people to take the plunge in this great adventure!

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