TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Delilah: Sometimes, I lose track of the story or realize that the characters are stalling out in conversation. When I need to get the action going again, I always use the same method: I turn off the lights, run a hot bath, put on my playlist, and float until the story comes to me. It's almost like forcing myself into a trance or a dream state, and the next step magically appears. For WICKED AS THEY COME, I listened to the album Like Vines by The Hush Sound, and you can hear echoes of the songs and lyrics in the story.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Delilah: If you expand 'writers' to include television, Joss Whedon is one of my biggest influences. His stories are original but accessible and feature characters who are never entirely dark or light. You might notice echoes of Buffy's Spike in my Criminy Stain. If we're speaking strictly books, then Stephen King was my earliest influence as a writer. When I was a kid, there wasn't a YA section at the bookstore or library; your next step was Carrie, then Pet Sematary, then IT, and he really pushed the boundaries of what I understood literature to be. My gateway to romance was the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, followed by Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness series. These days, my favorite authors are Gail Carriger, Deanna Raybourn, and Cassandra Clare.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Delilah: Both. I start with a very loose outline, and I almost always know how the book is going to end, what the climactic scene will be. I fill in the story as I go along and leave myself plenty of room for surprises. One of my favorite occurrences is when a character just pops up out of nowhere and steals the scene.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Delilah: Editing. Before I started down the road to publishing, I thought the first draft was the hard part. Wrong! So wrong. You end up reading your draft hundreds of times, finding mistakes up until the very last pass pages. It's difficult, especially the first time around, to accept agent and editorial feedback and kill your darlings. You definitely have to learn which things to fight for and which ones to concede gracefully.
TQ: Describe Wicked as They Come (Blud 1) in 140 characters or less.
Delilah: Damaged nurse steals locket, wakes up in odd world, falls for hot magical vampire carnival ringmaster. Should she stay or should she go?
TQ: What inspired you to write Wicked as They Come?
Delilah: I found the band The Hush Sound on Pandora and bought their album Like Vines. After listening to it twice and watching several episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I dreamed that I woke up naked on a slab of rock and found a very hot guy in a tailcoat watching me. He became Criminy Stain, and the story just kind of happened. I added most of the things I like, including a circus, a ghost, a submarine, a kraken, corsets, and bloodthirsty horses.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Wicked as They Come?
Delilah: I used Wikipedia a lot, that's for sure! Since research and accuracy aren't my strong point, I made up the world according to logic and my own amusement.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Delilah: Criminy Stain wrote himself. He sprung full formed from my imagination and stole every scene. Tish was the hardest. She was originally more of a whiner, and I struggled to make her more optimistic while being sensitive to the fact that she had been a victim of abuse. It was a fine line to walk, making her realistic, sympathetic, and yet someone the reader would cheer for.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Wicked as They Come?
Delilah: All the ones with Criminy being playful and wicked. =) I know romance authors are always in love with their heroes, but... he's just so swoony.
TQ: What's next?
Delilah: We're already working on the second book in the Blud series, tentatively titled WICKED AS SHE WANTS and due out in Spring 2013. Not to give too much away, but it involves a fiery heroine, a gorgeous musician, pickpocketing cyborg bears and a trip on the world's only floating brothel. There will also be an e-novella offered in between the two books featuring an unexpected romantic twist on a secondary character in Criminy's Clockwork Caravan. And I'm partnering with Villainess Soaps on a line of artisan perfume oils and handmade soaps based on some of the main characters. Her version of Criminy is the best thing I've ever smelled!
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Delilah: Thanks so much for having me and including WICKED AS THEY COME in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge!
About Wicked as They Come
Wicked as They ComeBlud 1
Pocket, March 27, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Have you ever heard of a Bludman? They’re rather like you and me—only more fabulous, immortal, and mostly indestructible. (They’re also very good kissers.)
Delilah S. Dawson’s darkly tempting debut drops her unsuspecting heroine into a strange faraway land for a romantic adventure that’s part paranormal, part steampunk . . . and completely irresistible.
When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Coppers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?
CoolMomPicks.com, one of the hottest product review sites on the web. Before writing, she was a kids’ art instructor and arts administrator, including gallery direction and public relations. She lives in Atlanta with her family.