Delilah’s debut novel, Mistress of Pleasure, is a super sexy historical that has gotten rave reviews and gained her a Romantic Times nomination for Best First Historical Romance. Her second book, Lord Of Pleasure, will be out in August.
Join me in welcoming Delilah to the blog!
Tell us your background in writing, how did you get started? Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was about seven. It all started with my father, who read countless books to me. I was always rewriting the stories in my mind. I wanted to be Wendy and fly with Peter Pan. I wanted to be the Princess who found the frog, kissed it and ended up with a prince. I basically wanted to live happily ever after. And having had a stormy relationship with my stepmother (I so thought myself as being Cinderella), I went from dreaming about those stories to writing them. I firmly believe there isn’t a writer who doesn’t write for a reason. Every writer has experienced some level of emotional or physical trauma that led them down this path of creating their own worlds. And as Hemingway once said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “The best writers are the ones with the most messed up child hood.” Mostly because they experienced a side of life that allows them to connect with their emotions and experiences in a way no other person can.
What do you write (genre)?
I write very naughty and very funny historical romances. Ever since I was old enough to appreciate it, I’ve always enjoyed good dirty humor. So I decided to infuse that into my historicals.
How long were you writing before you sold?
I received over two hundred rejections (one from my own editor) over the course of 11 years. It was a very long road. But I learned a lot about myself and a lot about my writing. I’m glad it took me so long. Because I’m a better writer and have a better understanding as to how to survive a very brutal business.
Tell us about your first sale, “the call” and the first book you sold?
There’s a long story behind “the call.” I’ll simplify it as best I can. I had been writing historicals for 11 years and finally got to the point where I felt that I had no where to go. My critique partner was heading off to London and my husband insisted I go with her. That it would help my writing. (Yes, he truly is amazing and no, he’s not available for cloning). So off I went. The trip was AMAZING. It changed my understanding of what I was writing. I was there for 13 days. My husband picks me up from the airport late at night and I was so thrilled to see him and my two kids again. As we were heading back, two men completely blasted out of their minds, took our car off the road and almost killed us. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they proceeded to attack my husband. In front of me and my children.
I got involved and fortunately one of the men took off (yes, I’m that scary when provoked. I also took Tae Kwon Do). But the other one wouldn’t stop. He was insanely violent. Out of his mind. As if my husband had done something. I took repeated blows to my head, trying to keep him off my husband who was unconscious and bleeding profusely. I thought my husband was dead. And all the while, my children are watching. Fortunately, the police arrived and we all physically survived. But not mentally. I stopped writing. The police told me if I hadn’t gotten involved when I did, my husband would have died. I came to the profound realization that I was almost left all alone in the world with 2 children. And had no means to financially support them. Because I still wasn’t published. And there was no guarantee that I ever would be. So I went back to do something I had always wanted to do but never had the time to. I went to culinary school to become a chef.
About the same time, the deadline for the golden heart came up. My husband insisted I enter. He told me that I should give my writing one last chance. So I did. Several months into my schooling, I receive the call that I was a 2007 Golden Heart finalist. I got thrown back into the writing world despite having not written in months. And although I didn’t win, something even more magical happened. I ran into one of my fellow 2005 Golden Heart Finalist and winner, Victoria Dahl (I finalled twice in the Golden Heart). She asked me for what I had last written. I told her it was about a school that educates men in the art of seduction. She insisted that I submit it to her editor (John Scognamiglio) and queried him for me. That same day, he asked for the complete. I sent it in and not even a week later, John called me with the offer to publish MISTRESS OF PLEASURE. I was beside myself. I felt as if all of my dreams were coming true. I still had my husband, I was in culinary school AND I had a two book contract. I finished culinary school and although I cook for my family and on occasion do private cheffing, I spend most of my days writing.
Do you have a favorite book you’ve written, or a favorite hero/heroine?
I actually have no loyalty to my characters whatsoever, LOL. Whatever new thing I write is what I fall in love with.
What’s your writing schedule like?
I wake up at 4 a.m. and write until it’s time to make breakfast and get the kids on the bus. I then write from 7:10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. And if I’m under deadline, my husband takes the kids away for the weekend and I write then too. (Yes, I have an amazing husband)
Where do you get your ideas?
Life. Books. And past life times. I swear, I firmly believe there is so much hidden within the subconscious. Things pop into my head and I’m like, “Where the bloody hell did that come from?” It has to be from a life I once led. That, or I have serious problems, LOL.
Do you plan out your books? Do you plot ahead of time?
Sadly, no. I don’t plot. I have an idea and I run with it. So I would be what they call a panster. My process isn’t very practical but it’s very fun. Because I get to know my characters the way anyone would a real person. By spending time with them.
Who are you favorite authors/favorite books?
Edith Wharton is my favorite historical author and Judith McNaught is my favorite historical romance author.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I cook up a storm (I went to culinary school), paint, spend time with my family, collect research books, read said research books, and I also love to run. A dream of mine is to run a marathon although I haven’t been able to get past 5 miles…
What advice can you give aspiring writers?
Whatever you do, don’t EVER give up. EVER. Write. And submit. And do it over and over and over. All the while, even as those rejections come, believe it will happen. Because it will. The moment you let rejection allow you to believe otherwise, you might as well kiss your writing career good-bye.
Give us your first line (or a favorite line) from your current work in progress?
“Salvation never looked so promising. Or…so expensive.”
Where can we find you on the web?
Make sure to leave a comment or question for your chance to win a copy of Delilah’s book, Mistress of Pleasure! Five winners will be drawn and announced on Tuesday! Read the blurb below!
Granddaughter of a renowned courtesan, Maybelle de Maitenon has no interest in her grandmother’s school in London where gentleman receive instruction – in the art of seduction. Her only desire in life is to remain independent, free from men, and the shackles of marriage. But when her grandmother falls ill, forcing Maybelle to take over the operation of the school, she discovers that men are in fact creatures of habit and merely need to be re-educated. Then Edmund Worthington, the Duke of Rutherford, dares to enroll, looking to alter not only her lesson plans, but her very heart.