In a tiny Norwegian valley surrounded by mountain, but very few neighbors, lives Isis Sousa, a native of Brazil. Isis has always been enamored by the dark with a fondness for the arts, history and heavy metal. She is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer. When she’s not creating artwork and illustrations for clients, she writes and paints and enjoys woodworking. “As an introvert and artist, I have the need to spend a lot of time by myself. Living in this tiny valley, with only 10 neighboring houses, and a lot of mountains and beautiful fjords around, I have a closer contact with nature,” she tells us, “The landscape and how we register it changes very much from season to season. During Summer it is day all the time and during Winter, we don’t even see the sun here. There are the phantasmagoric Norther Lights. It all very poetic and definitely helps me getting insights for the stories that pop up in my head. I love specially the Fall and Winter, where there is an overall sense of serenity, calmness and melancholy in the air.”
Making a career out of her creativity was obvious for Isis, “But with all the imagination I have running lose, there came some stories… and there came some books!” And so Tragic Books was born in 2014 as her personal creative outlet, where she publishes illustrated dark stories and art books. Tragic Books places artistry above commercial value, breaking tradition with publishing rules to create a lush world of grown up dark fantasy. Isis’ works are an alternative for those who enjoy Dark Fantasy/Gothic Fiction but can’t find such books due to the market’s saturation with mainstream genres.
“I love Gothic Fiction and I try to rescue the storytelling and values of the classics in my stories as well as the physical beauty of old books through special layout and illustrations,” explains Isis. The decision to self-publish her work was not taken likely, “It is a great alternative for independent artists, like me, who don’t have a big budget to print traditionally and don’t want to be owned by a publishing contract. With traditional publishing you only publish a book if you are selected by a press, then they decide what you should remove or add to the book and that can be conflicting to the artist/author’s convictions and ideas. With self-publishing you have free tools at your disposition, you decide and control the content you want to publish. Also with traditional printing, you need to pay upfront for a large minimum amount of books, which you can’t guarantee they will be sold. Self-publishing only prints a book when it is purchased, and the artist receives a royalty. It is environmental friendly, too.”
The Night of Elisa is Isis’ debut novel. The story follows the title character after she finds herself in the melancholic Duskland, drifting somewhere between the living and that beyond. Elisa struggles with a longing to return to a home she has no memories of, while her new companion Leonhard is tormented by his much too vivid recollections of a past he cannot escape.
“The Night of Elisa is more than my debut fiction book,” Isis explains, “I consider it the beginning of my self-publishing fiction brand ‘Tragic Books’. It is an experimental work, disobeying rules of traditional publishing, where most books needs to be within certain standards (genre and genre-traits or ingredients, word count, use or no use of illustrations, etc.) to make it to the industry. The Night of Elisa is untraditionally crafted to maximize the storytelling and heighten imagination. From the way it is written to its illustrations, every single element has been put together to bring to you the essence of this unique world in which the story is set as well as the essence of its characters. Another important aspect of this work is the subtext: all the nuances, symbolism and hidden meanings in between the lines. There is precisely where the darkest aspects of the story lie and where the most attempt readers will get interesting moments of discovery (and self-discovery).”
The second book in the Elisa series will be available in Autumn 2018. Until the end of October you can download it for free, in your favorite format on Instafreebie. You can also enter to win a print copy of The Night of Elisa on GoodReads.
As Cold as Thorns is the tale of Henrique, a small-town tailor’s apprentice whose ambitions turn him overnight into one of the most powerful and influential personalities in early-1800s Europe. His quick ascension to the upper echelons of the leading Iberian Empire reveals a man torn between the pure heart he once was, and the grim shade of what he has now become: a spirit obsessed with expensive material possessions and the urge to acquire the unattainable. As Cold As Thorns is also available in print or as an ebook through GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and IndieBound, with the second volume planned for publication in Spring 2018.
Tragic Books Art Books include The Night of Elisa Special Edition, Valencia Noir and The Picture of Dorian Gray in Quotes and Nudes. Valencia Noir takes you through this Spanish realm where all fantasies, be they innocent, adventurous or obscure, take shape on canvas, wood, metal or stone. Isis Sousa’s black and white photography is a beautiful trip through this enchanting city of bats, dragons and gods. The Dorian Gray book is lushly illustrated with fine art nude paintings by Isis to accompany selected quotes from Oscar Wilde’s classic Gothic masterpiece.
The next upcoming art book will be a visual book showing the beauty of the Pere Lachaise cemetery, in Paris. Pere Lachaise The Art of The French Cemetery is a collaboration of photography from Isis and Ove Neshaug with Clare Diston as editor. Gothic Beauty’s own Steven Holiday contributes the foreword. Pere Lachaise The Art of The French Cemetery is scheduled for publication in the first half of 2018.