We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Barth Isler and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emily, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
I think about this a lot, because I’m at the beginning of my career as an author, and still fairly close to the beginning as a journalist, so it’s understandable to wonder where it’s all “going” long-term. I like to think about goals and wishes for all the things I hope I will get to do (write more books! Publish a chapter book series! Write for TV!), but I also like to leave room for surprises. Both of my careers have aspects that were somewhat surprises: I knew I wanted to write for magazines, but I didn’t plan to become an eco-sustainability beauty writer! That just happened because it was something I was genuinely interested in, and the right opportunity came about at the right time for me to dig into it. And with book writing, I had intended to write YA, but stumbled into Middle Grade (middle school aged kids) because I had an idea that had to be centered on a 12-year-old kid, and it turned out that Middle Grade is such a good match for me and my writing style. All to say: yes, make plans. Set goals. Dream big, and put in all the hard work. But leave a little room for the dreams you don’t even know to wish for, because sometimes those are the best of all.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always loved writing, but it took me until my 30s to figure out how to use that love in a way that is of service to the world, and in a way that fit into a career. What came of that is actually two careers– I write books for kids and families, and I also write about sustainably-made, ethically-sourced beauty products. I still haven’t found a way to combine those two areas of expertise, and I’m actually okay with that. I like that I have two separate aspects of my writing life, and that I get to exercise my fiction brain and my non-fiction brain. I like that I’m [hopefully!] helping people with my art– that was super important to me in thinking about what I wanted to do. I think anyone writing for kids, teachers, parents, and families is trying to make the world a little better off by instilling empathy, starting conversations, making connections. At least, that’s what I’m hoping to do with my books! And in terms of my journalism writing, I get to shine a spotlight on brands and people who are finding interesting ways to create sustainable products in a way that still provides joy and a sense of fun, while protecting the earth and making sure that the people who make the products are compensated and treated fairly. I love digging into ingredient lists, writing about regenerative farming, and highlighting all the ways brands big and small can be philanthropic. Plus, I get to tell stories all day– whether I’m writing fiction or non, it’s all stories!!– and there’s truly nothing better in my mind than getting to tell stories all day!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is such an excellent exercise because I actually have relatives coming to visit soon and I’m trying to decide what to do with them to show them how awesome LA is! We are fairly recent transplants to Los Angeles– my family and I moved here in 2019, so we’re still discovering all the wonderful things to do here.

Any visit to me, like all good things, would start with COFFEE, so we’d definitely head to Commissary Coffee, one of my favorite chainlets that has cafes all around LA.

Next, I would plan an epic day at the beach! LA has such incredible state beaches where you can go for free– we love Will Rogers State Beach and the Santa Monica State Beach, and also Malibu.

I love a beautiful outdoor shopping mall, so I’d definitely plan to take guests to either the Americana or the Grove, where, yes, you can definitely shop, but you can also find nice places outside to eat, relax, people watch, etc.

No visit with me would be complete without a tour of indie bookshops. I would take visitors to Chevalier’s Books on Larchmont, Vroman’s in Pasadena, Pages: A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach, and Once Upon A Time, the oldest Children’s Bookstore in the nation, which is in Montrose.

And lastly, you cannot come visit LA and not hike! I love Runyon and Fryman Canyons for hiking.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this Shoutout to all the gun violence prevention advocacy activists out there, doing the work. My debut novel, AfterMath, deals a little bit with the devastation left behind years after a school shooting, and preventing gun violence is a cause I have felt passionately about my whole life. I’m such a fan of the work that groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown.org are doing. I love The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and Survivors Empowered, too. There are so many great local and national organizations out there contributing to the fight to protect our kids (and ourselves!) from the truly preventable gun violence that plagues America. We don’t have to live– and die– like this. We need better laws, politicians who aren’t aligned with the NRA, more mental health professionals trained in trauma recovery, more support for teachers, more people talking about hard stuff with kids and adults. That’s what these organizations are doing, and I’m proud to donate a small portion of each copy of AfterMath sold to these gun violence prevention advocacy groups.

Website: https://emilybarthisler.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emilybarthisler/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-barth-isler-9657665/

Image Credits
Shirin Tinati

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