Isabel Inspires

“In the midst of winter, I finally found there was within me an invincible summer.”  Albert Camus

What a gift — to spend an evening in the presences of a spirited, inspiring author! Inspired and inspirited — that’s exactly how I felt as I listened to Isabel Allende talk about life, writing, joy and pain, and her newest book, In the Midst of Winter, which I can’t wait to read. Isabel’s first book, The House of the Spirits, written more than thirty five years ago, began as a long internal monologue, a letter written to her grandfather.  It became a bestseller and Isabel was off and running. Now in her mid-seventies, she’s penned more than 20 novels, sold more than 65 million books worldwide, and is still going strong. Here are a few gleanings from her talk:

“I didn’t set out to be a writer — it just happened.”

“The responsibility of the fiction writer is to tell a believable story.”

On creating In the Midst of Winter:  “I had a place, a time, a storm, and three people…I show up until something happens…Then one of the characters does something that surprises me… I work around the story in circles.”

“I have a day to start (Isabel always begins a new book on January 8, the day she began her first book), and by the end of the year, I have a manuscript. And then I do a lot of research.”

“Fiction happens more in the womb than in the brain — it’s an organic process.”

“Nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters… You need people who make mistakes…something happens to them so that they have to come out of their comfort zone.”

“In all my books, political, social, and historical events affect the characters…I wrote The House of the Spirits thinking of the Chile I had lost.”

“My job as a writer is to pick up what’s in the air.”

“We fear something that is different until we learn that we are all the same.”

“My job as a storyteller is to bring the personal story to the reader.”

Advice to aspiring writers:  “It’s your story — write it anyway you want, with total freedom, and let’s see what happens.”

“The heart opens like a flower.”

Bravo, Isabel, for writing dangerously! Encouraged and enlivened, let’s all write on!


About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Isabel Inspires

  1. Pat Carrigan says:

    Thank you especially for this post Karin. I had put Allende on the calendar on the wrong week. Very disappointing but the next best thing was your lovely report on her talk. Thank you for everything you do for us.

    • Hi Pat,

      You are so welcome! I am so glad my post was helpful. To find out more about

      Isabel’s books and life work, you can go to her website: and

      if you plug in Isabel Allende + Brainy Quotes, you’ll find more inspiring words.

      Write on,



Leave a Reply