Jan DeLima’s debut novel, CELTIC MOON, just came out last month, and Jan stopped by to tell us about the new book, and more!
Also, we have a copy of CELTIC MOON up for grabs to 1 lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details below the post!
Thanks for stopping by, Jan! Will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Thanks so much for inviting me. I have always been a prolific reader. I was fortunate to work in a beautiful library for over ten years. I love the literary world, reading stories and talking about them with other readers. It was a natural progression for me to become a writer. I penned my first novel in a spiral notebook just after my youngest son started school. There was a computer in my house by the time I started my second book.
Your brand new book, Celtic Moon, just came out! Will you tell us a little about it and what inspired you to write it?
At the time, I worked in the cataloging department of my library when a book on Celtic artifacts came across my desk. It reviewed findings and theories of Celtic beliefs from Celtic art, with depictions of men shifting into animals. Intrigued, I dove into researching Celtic mythology and found more material than I could possibly imagine on wolves and shape-shifting. Let’s just say my paranormal writer’s radar was dinging loudly. My characters emerged soon after, demanding a place in this magical world.
While there are historical aspects woven into the story, Celtic Moon is set in current day Maine, as if immortal shifters have existed throughout the centuries in secret. I scattered Celtic tribes across the globe in areas conducive to the habitats of wolves, and just to make things interesting, I added a shape-shifter war to the mix. For the romance aspect, I thought it would be fun to pair a normal, modern-thinking woman against a medieval alpha male. I liked the idea of having a dominant hero learn to compromise with a woman who refuses to accept his behavior. I added a son to their relationship because I wanted her to have a weakness. The chemistry that resulted from these characters was a writer’s dream come true.
I have to ask, how did you celebrate when you found out Celtic Moon would be published?
My husband and I went out to dinner. I know that may seem boring for some people but it was perfect for us. It took ten years and six novels before I sold, and throughout all my ups and downs (and five rejected manuscripts in between) my husband was my greatest supporter. This was our moment to share together. A week later, a group of very dear friends organized a surprise dinner party. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful night filled with friendship, wine and laughter!
I love that you made your heroine, Sophie Thibodeau, a mom! What do you like most about her and why do you think readers will root for her?
Other than the fact that she’s dealing with a shape-shifting husband, Sophie is very normal. She doesn’t have special super powers. Her strength comes from her instinct to protect her child at all costs. I hope that readers will connect with the fact that she’s dealing with each challenge as a typical woman would be forced to deal with them. We all have a natural instinct to protect our children; it will make us do things that we wouldn’t do otherwise. I drew on that motivation for Sophie’s character.
What made you decide to feature shapeshifters, as opposed to other supernatural creatures?
That came from my research. Celtic mythology is one of the original sources of shifter lore in human history, and it is filled with stories involving shape-shifters and wolves. It might be interesting to note that the terms I used for wolf, Guardian, and Evil Bringer, are the actual terms taken from medieval Welsh manuscripts that date approximately around the 14th century. It was interesting to research and then weave those elements into a modern day story.
What do you enjoy most about writing fantasy?
Strangely enough, Celtic Moon was the first novel I wrote that included fantasy elements. I enjoyed having the option to bend reality, and set my own rules within the fantasy world. More important, it has Celtic warriors who mate for life; if that isn’t the ultimate fantasy then I don’t know what is.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
I have read and studied many classics, and enjoyed them, but my true love is popular fiction. With that said, I cannot help but admire Charlotte Bronte, who paved the way for other tenacious female authors. I must also mention Jude Deveraux, for writing the first romance novel I ever read, Twin of Fire, and therefore opening a door into what would become my favorite genre. This list could go on, but I’ll stop there.
What are you reading now?
I’m writing at the moment but I just downloaded The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne onto my eReader and A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin. Next summer I am going on a weekend trip to Massachusetts with a group of friends. The House of Seven Gables is on our destination list. One of my friends (not me) suggested that we all reread The Scarlet Letter before the tour. However, I would rather catch up with the Song of Fire and Ice series. After I finish my current project there’s a high probability that I’ll be reading George before Nathanial.
You’ve got to tell us more about those English Bulldogs of yours…
Oh, goodness, where do I begin? Well, bulldogs have wonderful personalities and know how to work their expressions on us mere humans. I’m smiling as I write this because we just had a couch delivered and I put Willow, the youngest bulldog, outside so she wouldn’t trip the movers. She looked so utterly sad through the window that two burly men dropped the couch so they could go outside to console her. While the two dogs are adorable, they are also very protective and follow me everywhere. I call them my gatekeepers because they alert me, and the entire neighborhood, when a stranger enters our yard.
I love the pictures of Maine that you’ve posted on your blog, especially the winter ones! What’s one of your favorite ways to get through those Maine winters?
I love to read by the pellet stove, with my dogs snuggled next to me and a fire blazing in the hearth. My husband and I also snowmobile from January through March. Our trails are like winter highways in the middle of beautiful forests. It’s amazing to travel through tunnels of snow covered branches and over bridges with frozen waterways underneath. I feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful state.
What’s next for you, this year and beyond?
I am currently finishing up the second book in the Celtic Wolves series, which is Luc and Rosa’s story. Luc is Dylan’s younger brother, also known as the Beast of Merin. Readers get to meet Luc throughout Celtic Moon, and Rosa makes a brief but significant appearance toward the end. I knew who Rosa was, and what her motivations were going to be, but I fell in love with her voice in the very first chapter of book two. I will be starting Elen and Cormack’s story soon, which will be the third book in the Celtic Wolves series. Elen and Cormack are major characters throughout the series. Their personal journeys were interesting to write in the earlier books and I cannot wait to finally get these two characters together!
About CELTIC MOON:
Like father, like son
Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years. Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized. He’s going to end up being just like his father—a man who can change into a wolf.
Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him—an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war. Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe. One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.
When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared. For the first time in years, Dylan’s lost family is within his grasp. But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it .
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