Interview with Teen Reader & Writer Isabelle Semas on “The Forces Within”

Isabelle Semas is in her senior year of high school, and has been homeschooled most of her life.  She looks forward to graduating this year and hopes to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education.  In her spare time, she sings in a christian band named NHB with her friends, is very involved in her church’s children’s ministry, and enjoys art.  She hopes to someday publish a book of her own.

Who should read this book?

For anyone who wants a thrilling read, I would recommend “The Forces Within” to you.  Stacy Padula weaves themes of spiritual conflict throughout the plot, forming a mysterious and intriguing story.  Whether you are a teen or a parent, it is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

What was your favorite part of the book and why? 

Watching Andy change spiritually throughout the book was easily my favorite part.  During most of the Montgomery Lake High series Andy’s faith looks to be real to others, but we soon learn he is spiritually dead  inside.  Events occur in “The Forces Within”  which force Andy to take a new perspective on all he thought to be true in his life.

There is a hidden message (or many) woven throughout this book – what do you think one is and why?

I believe one hidden message in this story is that without a relationship with Christ, one is extremely vulnerable to the attacks of the devil.  The characters who do not feel safe in the mansion in Andy’s dream, and experience demonic attacks, are those who are not christians.  This parallels their real lives, which are full of spiritual turmoil.  However, those characters who have a true relationship with Christ are able to experience peace in the mansion.  This is because when the Holy Spirit inhabits you, no other spirit can.

After reading all five MLH books – who are your two favorite characters and why?

My favorite character of all of the Montgomery Lake High books is Chantal.  Her willingness to pursue God throughout her teen years, is something I wish to see in myself.  She is strong in the face of adversity, and always looks to God for the answers to her questions. Jason comes as a close second favorite character of mine.  His complete turn-around conversion was a wonderful depiction of what Christ will do in the lives of those who call on Him.  Jason was drowning in darkness, but Jesus pulled him into the light.


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Published by Author Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula has spent the last 14 years working daily with teenagers as a college counselor, mentor, and life coach. She was named "Top Inspirational Author of the Year" for 2022 by the International Association of Top Professionals (New York, NY). In 2021, she was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as "Empowered Woman of the Year." Her Gripped book series is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman. She is the founder and CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications: a publishing company that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal rescues each month. She has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen's The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix's Last Chance U's Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin's memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey. Stacy resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband Tim and two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter.