|Delilah S. Dawson|
The latest full length novel in the Blud books, Wicked As She Wants, was just released! I will be bringing you a review tomorrow (spoiler: IT'S WONDERFUL!). It concerns Casper, the tortured pianist from the first novel, stumbling upon a drained and kidnapped princess. He agrees to help her regain her throne and sparks fly. It's a fantastic adventure, involving a floating brothel, murderous unicorns and an evil sorceress!
To mark this momentous occasion, Delilah stopped by this pokey little blog of ours to talk all about writing, social media, romance novels and how ridiculously awesome she is!
Thank you for doing an interview for us, Delilah! First of all, let me say how much I LOVED the latest Blud novel. It was beyond awesome! Bloodthirsty unicorns, attractive gents with tortured pasts, feisty princesses fighting to get home... did I mention the bloodthirsty unicorns? I really dug the bloodthirsty unicorns.
Aw, thanks so much! That makes me all blushy, and it's not just because of the wine.
It's not an exaggeration to say that I'm obsessed with the Blud novels. Seriously, I want to move to Sang. I'd be eaten alive within minutes by a bludbunny, but it would still be worth it! I know you've said before that the idea for the first Blud novel came from a dream you had. Where did the idea for this latest volume come from? It was woven together so well!
I'm sure the bunnies would nuzzle you first, at least. :)
The first Blud book was written to provide a world for Criminy Stain, and although the vast majority of the feedback and reviews were positive, there were some complaints that Tish could have been a stronger character. As a writer, I had to agree, and so I wanted to make Blud 2 about the most vicious, feisty, strong-willed woman I could. I knew I wanted to do a Blud version of Russia, and I latched on to the challenge of making the lost Princess Anastasia an aggressor instead of a victim. I wanted a journey from London to Russia, and a flying brothel sounded hilarious and unique-- and evolved from a throw-away joke I made on Twitter. In fact, most of the signposts along the way, including the unicorns, were basically me making up ridiculous things and trying to make them believable.
Steampunk is one of my favorite things and I would definitely say the Blud books are steampunk as all get out. How did you get into steampunk?
I'd been interested in steampunk since I first saw pics of it online. I always wanted to be a goth, but let's face it-- I'm too ridiculous. When they jokingly say steampunk is what happened when goths found brown, I totally relate, and I love my corsets. But I really fell into it when my book happened to verge into steampunk. It all started with Criminy and the Bludmen. If people had mutated to drink blood, then so did the animals, which meant horses were monsters and there were very few pets. Therefore, the world needed clockwork pets, horseless conveyances, dirigibles, and submarines. Adding the little gadgets, like Criminy's pocketwatch or Keen's pet, were just fun little nods to the beautiful bespoke items the steampunk makers create. And I must add that steampunks are some of the nicest, most welcoming people I know, and they throw one heck of a fun con.
You wrote an excellent post on Chuck Wendig's blog about writing sex scenes. It was very eye opening! I'm very, very new to reading romance novels so I was fascinated by your method. Do you feel there is a stigma writing books that can put in the romance section? I always felt like the Blud novels were straight out urban fantasy. Did you have a choice on how they were marketed?
I definitely think there's a stigma against romance books! Which is hilarious, since they comprise 48% of the paperback market. I come from a conservative, Baptist, native Georgia family, and no one in my family ever-- EVER-- talks about sex. I can't even tell my grandmother the name of my books. My mom tore the covers off her romances, and up until I accidentally became a romance writer, I was embarrassed to read a book with a romance-y cover in public. I've since embraced the genre wholeheartedly, and I'll read whatever I wish in public and defend it against anyone who'd like to have their ass verbally handed to them by someone armed with statistics and a wider vocabulary. Of course, the secret is that there's plenty of romance that provides an incredible story, unforgettable characters, exciting adventures... *and* steamy hot sex. Who could possibly complain about that?
I haven't had much say in marketing, and that's okay by me. Simon & Schuster sells books for a living; I've never worked in publishing up until 2012. I adore and trust my agent, editor, and copyeditors and know they want to sell my book as much as I do. I have some input into covers, flap copy, that sort of thing, but we're very much a team and on the same page.
(Also, watching you and Chuck on Twitter is like the highlight of my day. You two need a sitcom. I would watch the hell out of it)
*in Troy and Abed voices* CHERK AND DELILER IN THE EVENING! And then we drink pruno from mugs. Heh. I would watch that, too.
You're a big social media user. You have a great Twitter feed as well as a beautifully curated Pinterest page. I love hearing about what you're doing, and I'm sure your other fans do too. How do you think social networking has changed your interaction with fans and your writing?
Oh, man. What a great compliment! I'm learning everything as I go, so that means a lot to me. Social media has changed my entire life, and that's not hyperbole. I'm shy and would rather speak to 5000 people with a microphone than stick out my hand and introduce myself to one person. Thanks to Twitter, I go into any con, signing, or meeting having already developed relationships with like-minded people, so it's like having built-in friends, which means that instead of stressing and freaking, I run up to hug people. It's amazing!
And I like to hope that it helps my books. When RT announced that Wicked as She Wants won the May Seal of Excellence, one of the editors mentioned that she doesn't typically enjoy vampire books but picked mine up because of my Twitter feed. It can be a challenge, trying to balance what you want to say with what adds value, piques interest, or helps connect you with followers. I LOVE chatting with fans, joking around with other authors, and making connections with the people who help publish books I love. The best thing about Twitter, for me, is that it's a low-rejection way of interacting. You can tweet at anyone from an old friend to your favorite movie star, and maybe they'll talk back, but it's totally casual.
As for Pinterest, I love it most when my editor asks if I have any ideas for my next book cover, and I'm like, AS A MATTER OF FACT, HERE IS THE PINTEREST BOARD. :)
I'm fascinated to know what your writing process is like. I know you have a wonderful, hilarious family (your kids are a riot!). How do you carve out time to write? Any tips or tricks for aspiring novelists out there?
I love my kids to pieces, but I can't think when their sweet little voices are yammering. I get 3 hours to myself, most days, while both kids are in school, and that's my coffee-slurping-power-writing go time. If I'm hot on a first draft or have deadlines, I'll also work for a few hours at night, after they're asleep. That part is powered by wine, of course. My best tip is to be so obsessed with writing that it's your escape, your hobby, the thing you look forward to all day long. Then when the time finally comes, you're excited to be writing instead of feeling like it's work or something you *have* to do. Writing is my favorite thing to do. Almost.
I know you're busy kicking ass and taking names, but do you have a lot of spare time to read? What are some of the best books you've read recently?
I usually read one book a week, but right now, my writing and editing schedule is holy calamity screaming insanity. My two favorite books of the year, hands down, were Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. My favorites from last year were the Original Sinners books by Tiffany Reisz. Other recent favs include Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore, the Arcadia Bell series by Jenn Bennett, and the Saga comic by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
Are there any hints you can give us about your next outing in Sang, as well as anything else you have in the works? I am besides myself at the idea of a year wait for the next book!
Yeah, a year seems really long... until I open up that first draft and see how much work it needs. ;) Blud book 3 will be Wicked After Midnight, which is a Sangish version of Moulin Rouge that takes place mostly in Paris. There's another e-novella out next January called The Damsel and the Daggerman, which occurs entirely in Criminy's Clockwork Caravan. I have a short story in the Carniepunk anthology this July called The Three Lives of Lydia, and another short called Love Song of the Lizard Boy will be out with Fireside Magazine sometime soon. My first YA is out next spring, a creepy Savannah paranormal called Servants of the Storm. And there's always something more percolating in the pipeline.
Finally, is there a question you've always wanted to be asked in an interview but never have been? What would be your answer to that question?
I wouldn't even know where to begin, but you've asked some new and different questions, which is tons of fun. :) I'm an open book, and folks are always welcome to find me on Twitter. I reply to @s as much as I possibly can and am always happy to answer questions.
Thanks so much for having me! <3
Thank you for being a completely AWESOME guest and for writing such incredible books, Delilah!
Read more from Delilah S. Dawson in the Blud books:
Wicked As They Come
The Mysterious Madam Morpho (e-book novella)
The Peculilar Pets of Miss Pleasance (e-book novella)
Wicked As She Wants