I found my way to the incomparable Delilah Marvelle in a roundabout fashion. One day, I was trolling RWA® chapter websites in an effort to be
*working on writing* without actually *writing*. I landed on an author bio page with a photo like none of the others, just pouty lips and a tilted chin. Hmm, I thought. That’s provocative. Then I caught her name (which is her real name, btw) and that intrigued me, too. Next stop, her amazing website, (delilahmarvelle.com) complete with fun and flirty book trailers, fascinating tidbits, and a link to her blog, Bit O’Muslin, which, if you’ve never been, you owe yourself a visit! From there, of course, I went to the bookstore.
When I met Delilah in person at last July’s RWA National conference, she was as petite and warm and charming as a gal could be, while in the meantime passing out sweet tarts shaped like a certain male appendage. She is a true original, and I’m so happy to invite her to my blog today! Please join me in welcoming her. One lucky reader who leaves a comment will win an autographed copy of one of her books. So be sure to leave your calling card! Now let’s get started!
TB: Welcome, darling! Thanks so much for being here today. Please tell us a little bit about your most recent release and which aspect of this particular story you love the most.
DM: My most recent release is THE PERFECT SCANDAL. And omigosh, I would say this is the story of my heart because it digs deeper than I have ever allowed myself to go. Although it is set in 1829, I delve into concept people consider to be modern maladies and infuse them in a historical setting. The truth is, people back then weren’t any different from the people of today. There just wasn’t an understanding or names for them. The hero is a cutter and the heroine an amputee. They both see themselves as freaks…until they meet each other. And that’s what I’m all about. Seeing the world through the eyes of the person you love.
TB: I love how your books so often take ‘contemporary issues’ and show how they’re
not *that* modern after all. What are you working on now?
DM: I’m working on the Rumor Series. It’s a series set in New York City and London in 1830, and needless to say, I am LOVING all the research and writing that is going into this series. I’ve learned so much about New York City and I’m just enjoying infusing
real-life history into my characters and my books. The Rumor Series is linked together by an aristocratic British ten year old boy, heir to the Sumner Estate, who mysteriously
disappears in New York City in the year 1800. No one sees or hears from him since until…30 years later. And there’s where our three stories collide.
TB: That sounds fabulous. I can’t wait to find out what he’s been up to! At what point
in your career did you first feel confident in calling yourself a writer?
DM: I would have to say when I finished my first book. That’s when I knew I had it in me to do it again and again. And I did. Confidence is what ultimately kept me on the path to what I really wanted: a New York publishing contract.
TB: I know you have demonstrated an inspiring perseverance. What inspires you with
your writing? Books, music, historic dildos? ; )
DM: Historical dildos and condoms for starters, lol. Yes, I love historical sexuality. You learn so much about the mind set of people in their time period and how in the end, they really were just like us, just in a different setting. I will also say running inspires me.
I do 5 mile runs to clear my mind and help me focus on whatever I’m writing. I always come up with the best ideas when I’m sweating, lol. And yes, sex is another inspiration for me *waggling brows*
TB: What a fun, healthy way to get those creative thoughts flowing! What *other* techniques do you use to help develop your story?
DM: I’m a total panster and can’t plot or develop my story outside of just sitting down and writing. I basically come up with an idea, nab characters names, write the first sentence and let it fly. I love not knowing what’s going to happen because that means my reader won’t know what will happen. My story building and character building happens as I write. The more time I spend with them and digging into what I’m looking for, the more real it becomes and that is how I flesh it all out.
TB: I am a plotter, but I tried pantsing recently. What fun! I worked through so many
elements as the words flew out. I’ll be trying that again. Who was the first person you contacted when you learned your first book had been purchased by a publisher? What was that conversation like?
DM: John Scognamiglio from Kensington Publishing. The conversation was like this:
Me: “Hi, you um…left a voice mail on my answering machine and wanted to talk to me?” (while I’m totally walking back and forth, everything a blur)
John: “Hi Delilah! Yeah. I liked your book. We want to buy it.”
Me: (I want to scream but even can’t do that) “Uh…really? That’s…that’s great. Wow. Really?”
John: “Really. Let’s talk about an offer.”
Me: (Knowing I can’t think and I’ll screw my career up if I try) “I’m a bit TOO excited right now, John, and really need to get my hands on an agent. Is it okay if I get back to you in a week with an agent?”
John: “Sure. I’ll be waiting.”
Me: (He’ll be WAITING!!!! YAY!!! This isn’t a joke) “Great. Thanks!”
Then after I got off the phone I flopped myself onto the floor and laid there staring at the ceiling. Don’t know how long I stayed there but I eventually got up to let EVERYONE know.
TB: I love that story! We all like to think we’d be calm, cool, and collected. But *when* I get that call, I plan to collapse to the floor as well. But I’ll be less articulate. If you had to
choose a 2nd genre to write in, what would you pick? What would the title of that book be?
DM: Probably the young adult market. Mostly because I love reading young adult books. They’re so much edgier and grittier and bigger than they were when I was growing up and I’m just in love. What sort of title would I pick? Hell if I know, lol. I’m so bad with titles even in my genre. But something COOL.
TB: Cool is good. And maybe that should be the title. SOMETHING COOL. Describe a perfect writing day.
DM: Having a Vanilla Starbucks Frappucino with NOOOOOO interruptions. Meaning non-stop writing from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. I’m a total freak when it comes to immersing myself into my writing world. Just ask my family. I’m totally addicted to whatever world I’m creating and it’s hard for me to get out.
TB: I’m the same way. I could write for 24 hours but my butt starts to go numb. And my
family gets cranky if I don’t feed them once in a while. What did you do to celebrate your first release day?
DM: I went to the most expensive restaurant in town with my hubbie, bought myself a new dress and some research books that I couldn’t rationalize getting due to their expense. It was AWESOME.
TB: Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
DM: I love dead people. Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Henry Fielding, William Shakespeare, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Henryk Sienkiewicz, to name a few. Modern writers for me include: Judith McNaught and Diana Gabaldon.
TB: Do you have writing rituals? Habits?
DM: Always have to have a Starbucks Frappuccino. I can’t write unless I have two in my system. I’ve tried. It’s turned into a must to make my brain work. I intend to totally sue Starbucks if they ever discontinue my Fraps. Seriously. That’s all when it comes to my writing rituals. Frap and write. I’m a simple girl.
TB: You should let them know. Maybe they’ll change the name to Delilah-ccino. Do you
have critique partners and if so, how do you ‘work’ together?
DM: I have two CP’s right now. Maire Clairemonte (who won RWA’s Golden Heart
this year) and Jessa Slade (Paranormal Queen). I love, love, love these girls. They get me and get what I’m trying to do. They push me in the direction I want to go while ensuring I’m not hitting a brick wall. They’re fabulous and add such depth and dimension to knowing myself as a writer.
TB: Good critique partners make this process so much more fun! What/where was your first writer’s conference and how did you feel attending it?
DM: RWA Nationals in Anaheim back in 1998. I was totally freaked out and overwhelmed realizing just how BIG the writing community was. I was like “Holy Shit, I’m never getting
published. Look at all the people I’m up against.” LOL. Needless to say, I quickly learned that these same girls weren’t there to tackle me to the ground but hold my hand. I’ve created so many friendships since. Best thing I ever did.
TB: I have found that to be true within the RWA community as well. There is so much
support, and celebration of success. It’s a group of writers really encouraging each other. I met my critique partners at a conference and I can’t imagine trying to function without them now! How long have you been writing?
DM: All my life. There wasn’t a time I wasn’t writing stories. The amount of time it took me to get published, however, once I got serious was 11 years altogether, which included over 200 rejection letters and writing over 40 books. It was quite the journey and adventure but it prepared me for the hustle and bustle and pressure of the real publishing world. I would have hated to have gone to contract with my first written book or even the sixth written book. Because this is a LONG road, even once you’re published and nothing prepared me more than those 11 years.
TB: That is awesome dedication. What does your family say about your career success and
your professional journey?
DM: My family is the reason why I am where I am. They’re dang proud and have been there for me since day one. They’re getting tired of dedication pages, lol.
TB: What is your favorite board or card game? Are you competitive?
DM: My favorite games are Boggle and Scramble. Words, don’t you know? It’s my thing, lol. And oh, yes. I’m VERY competitive. So competitive in fact, that I play for money because I’m in it to win, lol.
TB: What a five things (not including live beings) would you take with you to live on a deserted island for one year. Let’s say this island has food, shelter and plumbing!
DM: My iphone (it has EVERYTHING), my laptop (It is my EVERYTHING), my running shoes (because hey, you never know when you need to run), my wedding ring, and my hair clip (to keep my hair out of my face when I need to, lol). Yes, I’m a practical sort of girl.
TB: What advice would you give to an aspiring, newbie writer?
DM: Don’t look at the hours or the amount of time it takes you to get published. Don’t think, “I’ve been doing this for blah, blah, blah years and I just can’t keep going.” If you can’t keep going because you lock yourself and your writing to “time” then you just don’t have what it takes to be a published writer. Because “time” is only a breath of the demands that will descend like a tsunami on your freakin beach, lol. This isn’t about time. This is about writing. It’s lifelong. And if time is an issue for you, then hop off this crazy train now, because that train isn’t on a set track with any schedule. It just keeps going and going and going…Believe in yourself and that your writing is enough to keep you going and will let you eventually jump on that train and you are golden.
TB: I’ve read other interviews of yours where you say something similar and it helped me
so much! I stopped focusing on how far I had to go, and started enjoying how far I had come. And I remind myself to enjoy the *process* because if you don’t, then and only then have you *wasted the time*.
DM: It doesn’t get any easier. It’s so true. Writing is wonderful world of Pandora’s Box. Just when you think you unlocked paradise, here comes hell. But then hell turns
back into paradise and flip and flop, over and over. Just enjoy the process of it being what it is and don’t worry that it doesn’t get easier. Just focus on enjoying every moment.
TB: Tell me something most people don’t know about you and would be surprised to learn.(Like maybe you play the ukulele or accordion.
DM: I’m a chef. I love to cook and went to culinary school with the intent to go into the culinary world full time. It got cut short, however, when I sold my first book halfway through culinary school. LOL. I finished school but jumped back into the writing world instead of heading down the culinary route. Because although food is a passion of mine,
writing is my true love.
TB: I’m sure you’d be a wonderful chef, but give me a great book over a great meal any
day! I’m glad you chose the path you chose. Now, I took the liberty of copying just one more detail from your website. You say you once met a guy named Samson in college. He even wore his hair shoulder length. And that you had to show him your picture ID
with your name on it when you first met because he refused to believe your name
really was Delilah. (Readers, Delilah wisely chose to never to date him. She knew it
wouldn’t end well…)
Readers, thank you for joining us today! Please note there are loads of other
fascinating tidbits about Ms. Marvelle on her website, http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/ and I encourage you to visit. Watch her latest trailer at http://delilahmarvelle.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/the-rumor-series-short-filmtrailer/
I also encourage you to read her books!! Now go out and do something scandalous…