I’m absolutely delighted to have the wonderful Delilah S. Dawson on the blog today! Delilah is the author of the superb Wicked As They Come (feel free to check out my review), and was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Also, I’ve got one copy of Wicked As They Come up for grabs, so be sure to check out the details at the end of this post, and please welcome Delilah to the blog!
Delilah, you have a BA in Studio Art, and have held a variety of colorful jobs (which of course, I’ll grill you about soon.) Have you always wanted to write? What made you decide to take the plunge and write a novel, and why the heck is it stuck in a drawer?
Writing has always been something I enjoyed, whether it was the maudlin poetry I cranked out in high school and college or the art class descriptions I labored over when teaching. I always thought writing a novel was big, terrifying, impossible. But after helping my husband edit one of his books, I began to think that maybe I could pull it off. My first book was a magical realism called FERRYTALE about a wife and mother who went on a trip to Greece with her husband and was accidentally seduced by Zeus, as so many girls used to be. It’s in a drawer because it’s fatally flawed. At the very heart of it, most readers don’t enjoy reading about infidelity, whether accidental or not. Also, the first scene involved being sick in a public restroom and included the deadly, “I looked in the mirror and described myself.” Eek!
How did you celebrate when you found out your brand new novel, Wicked As They Come, would be published? Was there happy dancing? Cupcakes? Squeeing?
The day we got the first offer, I bought a nice grassfed steak, organic potatoes and green beans, and a huge cupcake from Whole Foods. I had to cook my own feast, but it was wonderful to celebrate with my family. I was totally giddy. After the auction was over and it was a definite thing, we secured childcare for a fancy date to Canoe, an amazing restaurant in Vinings, GA. I had the rabbit and ate so much I was food drunk. There has been pretty much a squee a day since then!
Can you give us a teaser about Wicked As They Come?
The mermaid scowled at us and did a back flip in her tank, slapping the surface of the water with her tail. I shrieked as cold droplets sprinkled over me, and Criminy pulled me a little closer. My heart sped up as he gently dabbed at my face with a bright red handkerchief.
“Missed a drop,” he said, voice quiet and husky. “Just there.”
His lips barely brushed mine. I wanted to push him away. I should have turned my head and slapped him for taking advantage of me. But I was too busy keeping my knees from buckling and melting into a puddle at his feet. The touch was brief and searing, and it was all I could do to pull back and clear my throat. Criminy didn’t apologize. He just grinned. The mermaid smacked the glass with her hand and went to sulk behind a water plant.
Why write steampunk/urban fantasy?
I didn’t actually set out to write Wicked as They Come. It just happened! I was watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and listening to The Hush Sound, and then I had a dream that I woke up naked on a rock in a forest with this extra-naughty version of Mr. Darcy staring at me. The first draft sort of wrote itself, in less than a month. I like steampunk, so there was steampunk. Criminy Stain sprung fully formed from my imagination as a blood drinker, so that’s what he is. Then I just threw in all the other things I liked. It’s like a potpourri of my favorite things.
But as to why I actually write steampunk and fantasy as opposed to other things, I think it’s the possibility. You make up the rules. You make up the world and the science. The sky’s the limit, and I like that.
What was your favorite character to write in Wicked As They Come?
Criminy Stain, without a doubt. Seriously, that man writes himself.
Do you have an idea of how many books you’d like to write in the Blud series, or will you just see where it takes you?
There are three books contracted in the series with at least one e-novella, which should be out this October. As it’s my first series, I don’t know if I’ll ever get bored with the world. Since each book follows a new couple from Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan, it could go on forever, visiting different countries and different cultures.
What are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
Joss Whedon is a big one. I was working through Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I started writing Wicked, and I’m also a big fan of Firefly and Dollhouse. I read a lot, of course, and I took a major mental smackdown when I read Stephen King’s On Writing. The concept of kill your darlings really resonates, and I use it like a mantra. My 11th grade A.P. English teacher, Karen Lanning, really taught me how to write. And my editors at Cool Mom Picks are phenomenal. I play a game where I try to edit the way they edit before they can get to it and see if I can get a post in without them making a single change.
How about favorite books and/or authors?
So many! My gift to myself at selling my first book was an entire wall of bookshelves. Some of my favorite authors are Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati, Gail Carriger, Deanna Raybourn, Matthew Stover, Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare, Charlaine Harris, David Levithan, Scott Westerfeld, Karen Marie Moning, and Neil Gaiman. And Alice in Wonderland is one of my long-time favorite books. I collect different editions of it and have two tattoos inspired by it.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
A big stack of books, Aquaphor for my new tattoo, a receipt from Five Guys, and figurines of Luke Skywalker and the Baroness.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
When I get totally stuck and don’t know where to take the story next, I run a hot bath, turn off all the lights, put on the album/playlist for the book, and pretty much put myself into a trance state until I know the answer. It’s happened on every single book so far, and it’s worked every time. Also, lots of coffee.
Ok, now, I must ask: there is an intriguing list of former jobs you’ve held in your bio, however, there are a couple that I really have to know about, if you’re willing to dish. I’d love to know about the Disney princesses, and the corpse (of course, if you want to share about others, feel free!!)
Sure! For the Disney princesses, back in high school, I worked for a company that hired out characters for kids’ parties. I was tan and had dark hair past my waist, so I could pull off Jasmine and Pocahontas. I mastered balloon animals and face painting and got all my answers down pat when snotty kids asked me where John Smith was or why my Jasmine pants had someone else’s cigarette burn on the thigh.
The corpse bit was from my time working at a haunted house. Everyone had to start out as a zombie/ghoul and work their way up. I was walking to my snack break once and got surprised by some kids while walking through a scene, and one of the pros said, “I’m going to kill you, so die well,” and then we pulled off an impromptu death/cannibal scene, and I got promoted. Sometimes I would lie around in a bathtub full of blood or wade through kudzu in an army net. And the best time was when I had the idea to wrap myself up like a body bag and lie among all the fake body bags. I made a dude pee his pants once, grabbing his ankle while he kicked another body bag and bragged about how they were all so stupid and fake.
What’s one of the most embarrassing things you’ve ever done or said (that you’re willing to share?)
I did well on the pretend SATs they give you in 7th grade and got invited to Duke University to accept an award. I was the dorkiest of dorks, with no fashion sense and a Dorothy Hamill haircut. When they called my name, my heel got caught in a grate on the floor, and I tripped and fell. My sailor dress flipped up over my head and showed the entire room my pantyhose and grandma thunderpants. It was the most mortifying thing that has ever happened to me.
On that note…is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us (or anything else, for that matter!!)?
The thing I’m most excited about right now—other than release day and my book launch party!—is the line of Wicked as They Come fragrances from Villainess Soaps. I’m a huge fan of artisan body products, and it was a dream come true when Brooke liked the book and agreed to develop perfumes and soaps based on Criminy, Letitia, and Tabitha, the mermaid from the above excerpt. Brooke is a genius, and the scents are spot-on with my descriptions of the characters. Criminy is now my signature scent, a delicious blend of berries, red wine, crushed herbs, and heather. If you’re familiar with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, there’s a little homage to their head perfumer in the book, too.
I’m also thrilled that my first e-novella will be out in October, a short story covering a hot new romance in Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan. We haven’t settled on a title yet, but it involves butterflies, necromancy, vampire badgers, and a certain sexy mechanist mentioned in Wicked.
Thanks so much for interviewing me! I hope y’all enjoy Wicked as They Come! And if anyone has any more questions, you can find me at my website, or chat me up on Twitter. And if you’re in the Atlanta area, you’re invited to the book launch party on Friday, March 30 at 7pm at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock. Cake, wine, and steampunk fun will abound.
1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Wicked As They Come by Delilah S. Dawson to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 4/7/12
6. Giveaway book generously provided by Pocket Books.
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.