As you can probably tell, Delilah S. Dawson is one of my absolute favorite authors. She is the author of Wicked as They Come, Wicked as She Wants, The Mysterious Madam Morpho, and The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance (all of which take place in the incredible world of Sang). She is a contributing author of Carniepunk,and her new book, Servants of the Storm is expected to be released early next year. She is just an overall fun person to talk to and get to know. I recently reached out to her to help promote my new blog by answering some interview questions. I could hardly believe how quickly she got back to me, and how great her answers were. So here is my interview with the always lovely Delilah S. Dawson!
If you could work with any author who would it be?
In my dreams, I’d love to be in an anthology with all my real-life and Twitter author friends, writing on something really fun and oddball, like zombie animals or the adventures of a haunted wooden leg. I would love to hear about an adventurous haunted leg!
Who is your favorite author or any recent work that you admire?
I really admire Chuck Wendig and his ability to write several different age groups and genres in his own, Cherkrific way, not to mention maintain a blog that never disappoints, whether he’s opining on a pertinent topic or handing out free writing tips. And I love Deanna Raybourn and her latest, A Spear of Summer Grass. And not just because her heroine is named Delilah and we both used Walt Whitman in our last books. I could go on. I feel fortunate to know so many amazing writers! I’ve seen Chuck on Twitter. He’s pretty hilarious!
What’s your favorite part of a book to read and/or to write?
I loooove writing the first page. And the entire first draft, where everything is new. In romance, I love writing the first sex scene. Edits are not my favorite. And I really love reading the first kiss in a well-done YA, like Stephanie Perkins’ books.
When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
Yes, but not too much. I don’t want to make them obvious, like where Gabriel is the angelic good boy and Malachai is the bad boy. I have weird name associations, thanks to my synesthesia, so I’m very picky about syllables, first letters, and past acquaintances who might share that name. If you’re thinking about Criminy Stain, that one came to me in the dream. I have no idea why. 🙂
Oh, and you might have noticed that the last names in the world of Sang often follow a pattern of humans’ last names having positive meanings (like Goodwill, Lovejoy, etc.), while the Bludmen have negative last names (like Scowl, Scabrous, Dregs). But that’s part of their world and the prejudice therein.
What about the titles of your novels?
The original title of WICKED AS THEY COME was BLUD, but my editor wanted a more romance-y name. I was on board immediately! WICKED AS SHE WANTS was also my editor’s idea, and WICKED AFTER MIDNIGHT came from a list I compiled with my agent. My 2014 YA, SERVANTS OF THE STORM, was the name I submitted, and it looks like it’s going to stick. My book titles usually change from the original idea to the finished draft to the sale, and I’m pretty flexible about it. I haven’t been disappointed by my editors yet. 🙂
Did you always want to write?
I loved writing when I was younger, but I thought authors had to be called to write books, like doctors or nuns are called to their profession. I thought you had to be born a writer. I was so wrong! I didn’t write my first book until I was 32 and so underslept from a frachetty baby that my brain stopped telling me no.
How do you relax?
My very favorite thing to do is go to the beach, and my second favorite thing is trail riding my horse, Polly. But if I’m stuck at home, a hot bath and a glass of wine with a book always does the trick.
Where is the strangest place you’ve ever had an idea for a story?
The book that caught my agent was a middle grade magical adventure called SCRITCH, sort of a mix between The Borrowers and Labyrinth with evil rats living in the walls of an old farmhouse. The idea came when I was on a huge sleep deficit, nursing my son in the pitch dark of his room. I started hallucinating… evil rats living in the walls.
How many hours do you work a day on the process of writing a book?
Depends on what I’m working on, what the deadline is, and how obsessed I am. 🙂 On my best days, I have 3 hours alone in the morning while both kids are in school and three hours at night after they go to bed. Most days, I get a lot less.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who’s living their dream, creating something new, constantly learning, and still has a smile.
Has your pet ever eaten your manuscript?
Nope! Although my cats love to sleep on my line edits.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
Throw your pride out the window, buckle down for hard work, and never give up. Writing a book sounds so romantic and exciting, but really, there’s a lot of boring parts, painful parts, and things you’ll instinctively avoid. It takes a long time to do it right. But it’s worth it.
What (or who) is your greatest treasure?
My family. My husband is my best friend and my favorite person I’ve ever known. My kids are amazing. I feel incredibly fortunate every single day. And they all put up with my weirding ways!
What is your greatest regret in life?
I don’t do regrets, as I believe everything that’s happened to me brought me to where I am today, and I couldn’t be happier. I do with that I had stood up for myself when I was younger, that I had fought against bullies and abuse and the guy who raped me. Surviving is winning, yes, but I wish I had fought harder.
If you could go back in time to get one thing from your childhood, what would it be and why?
The house we were vacationing in caught fire in 1984, and my favorite My Little Pony burned with it. For years, I hated losing her. Then, last year, author Seanan McGuire mentioned she was purging her pony herd, and when I joked about sending any spare Skydancers my way… she totally did! So the one thing from my childhood I wanted most is now in my possession. That’s awesome that you were able to get it!
What is the funniest experience you have had during your time working on a novel?
WICKED AS THEY COME was originally written as a fantasy adventure, but it became necessary to open the door on the sex scenes and turn it into a romance. I’m a shy girl from the deep South, and I was utterly scandalized at the prospect of writing sex. So I got drunk first. It was pretty funny, after that. Drunk Delilah was very upset that there aren’t any non-hilarious words for “penis”. I can only imagine the hilarity of that situation! It is a pretty entertaining word)
Do you ever write naked?
No way! After that house fire mentioned above, I realized that at any moment, I could be forced from a burning building, possibly naked. I am very rarely naked now. Plus, I have kids, so… crumbs everywhere. Can’t write with crumbs on your butt!
Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
I can’t write standing up, so I spend a lot of time sitting down. And I drink too much coffee. And I like to eat beignets while enjoying free wifi at the cafe. And I like to try out the things I use in my books, including going to the archery range and the gun range, going for carriage tours in Savannah, doing the flying trapeze, and galloping bareback.
What do you/did you want to be when you grow/grew up?
Writers never have to grow up. That’s why I’m here!
Is there anything that you think your readers would be surprised to know about you
Many of my books include magically dangerous animals that have to be destroyed, but I’m a big softy and love all animals, including the weird ones like rats and snakes and bats.
If we were to get arrested together (or be on the news together for something lol), what would it be for?
Trying to steal an overly large lobster from the tank at the grocery store and set it free in the ocean.
Do you have any serious pet peeves?
Oh, tons. I have weird sensory issues about smells and textures. I can’t stand cooked fruit or jelly or Jell-O, and I can’t be in a room with strong perfume. I can’t work if the pantry doors are open. I hate repetitive or useless noises. I basically have to put in earbuds, gulp coffee, and go into a writing trance to get anything done. I can’t sleep if my closet or dresser drawers are open, so I can sympathize!
(My favorite question!) What is the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked to autograph?
Nothing weird, so far! Although I was asked to lick a tiny Wil Wheaton doll once at Phoenix Comicon. That is amazing! lol
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Did you know that I’m a commissioned author with Amazon Kindle Worlds and Valiant Comics and will soon have a 75-page novella in the world of the Shadowman comics? I’d love to write more comics and already have a few things in the works…
Authors – Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati, Deanna Raybourn, Cassandra Clare, Stephanie Perkins, Chuck Wendig, Kevin Hearne, Karina Cooper
Music – It depends on the playlist of what I’m working on, but I love The Civil Wars, The Airborne Toxic Event, Macklemore, everything on The Great Gatsby soundtrack, The Gutter Twins, Two Door Cinema Club, Gotye, Iron & Wine, Mona. My favorite band of all time is The Cure.
Movie – My long-time favorites are random. Empire Records, Mallrats, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Ravenous, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Fight Club, Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You. I have a soft spot for cheesy teen comedies and stylistic fight scenes.
Vacation spot – Anywhere with clear blue water and a clean beach.
Halloween costume – I love doing elaborate Sugar Skull makeup.
Avenger – Iron Man. I’m totally doing a steampunk Iron Girl costume for Dragoncon.
Dessert – CAKE. Especially caramel cake or red velvet with almond buttercream. Red Velvet is my all time favorite!
Sport – Trapeze. 🙂
Comic book – Saga, Shadowman, Chew.
Comic hero and heroine – I love Shadowman way too much, but I haven’t yet found a heroine with whom I really relate. I need to read more!
Cartoon – Venture Bros., Frisky Dingo, Archer, Adventure Time.
This or That
Vampires or werewolves – Vampires
Beach or mountains – Beach
Cats or dogs – Both
Beer, wine, or liquor – Liquor/fancy drinks
Paperback or e-reader – Paperback for forever books, e-book for cheap thrills
Chocolate or vanilla – Chocolate
I would like to thank Ms Dawson for taking the time to do this interview. If you have not already checked out her books, you really should. I know I love them, and I think you will too.
About The Author:
Delilah S. Dawson comes from a long line of Roswell, GA natives. WICKED AS THEY COME is the first in her Blud series for Pocket/S&S, and a creepy paranormal YA, SERVANTS OF THE STORM, will be out with Simon Pulse in 2014. Delilah is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Georgia Romance Writers. She is also an Associate Editor at www.CoolMomPicks.com and www.CoolMomTech.com, where she is given the more eccentric and geeky products to cover. Delilah lives with her husband, two small children, and two cats in Atlanta. Find out more at www.delilahsdawson.com.