Alpharetta author adds depth to villains in new novella

Izmaylov publishes book with help of Salman Rushdie

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ALPHARETTA, Ga.–– Michelle Izmaylov was longing to find her own justification between a hero and villain and ultimately decided to write and publish “Ricochet.”

The justification of a hero and a villain has been a question that has consumed Izmaylov for many years. She rarely found literature that examined the core question of how a villain justifies his or her actions, and Izmaylov decided to leave her mark on the little-discussed subject.

During her sophomore year at Emory University, Izmaylov conceived a 25-page short story in a creative writing class but she later decided to expand it into a novella.

Izmaylov, now a medical student at Vanderbilt University, used the novella that became “Ricochet” to gain entrance to a competitive writing program at Emory taught by the famous author, Salman Rushdie.

This class taught by the author and professor is extremely competitive; only nine students were selected to be a part of the program.

Izmaylov said that getting into the program using the excerpt felt like a ringing endorsement for her to finish the book.

“As part of the competitive application process to study under Rushdie in his creative writing master class, I was required to submit several writing samples,” said Izmaylov. “One of my samples was an excerpt from the original short story that has now given rise to ‘Ricochet.’ Since Rushdie selected me for his class, I guess this means the sample was a good one.”

“Ricochet” took Izmaylov five months to write. She organized her senior year so she would have ample time to finish the book.

She said that there were many distractions that she decided to avoid, and she offered advice to aspiring writers.

“Personally, my biggest problem in writing is how easy it is to get distracted by the Internet. I typically write in places that have no Internet access so I’m forced to work exclusively on my book,” said Izmaylov. “It’s also important to me to have at least a general sense of where I’m going before starting a story. That way I don’t completely derail and end up completely having to start over. Don’t be afraid to experiment.”

This was published in the June 27 issue of the Revue & News.