The beautiful Seleste DeLaney is an up and coming author, with several excellent works released in the last year. Bea and I are both lucky enough to have known her for a few years now, and she was kind enough to grant us an interview in honor of her new release, Badlands. We're very excited to have her here! Leave a comment or question for her for a chance to win a copy of the book.
Welcome, Sel, and Happy Release Day!
1) You have written paranormal romance, and, as Julie Particka, the forthcoming urban fantasy YA novel, "Pretty Souls" but "Badlands" is steampunk. Why the change? Didn't it start as a sci-fi story? Do you have a preferred genre to write in?
It did indeed start as sci-fi and was…not good in that genre. As for a preferred genre, I market myself (as Seleste) as a speculative romance author. I’m not fond of boxing myself into a corner by saying things like “I write paranormal” or “I write steampunk”. Instead I prefer to write where the story takes me. As for the YA, I tend to have fewer romantic elements there for the simple reason I have a hard time focusing on a younger love story for an entire book.
2) And on a related note, are there any genres that you are dying to do, or that you don't think you will ever do? Why or why not?
I still want to get that sci-fi out there LOL. I have a few possibilities to get it done as soon as I find the time. I used to say I didn’t think I’d ever write a contemporary (aka non-speculative), but if the right story came along, I would.
3) When you write, do you outline, are you seat of the pants, or somewhere in between? What's your writing day like? You're married and have young kids, how do you juggle it all?
I’m definitely in between. If it’s a short story, I can pants it, but anything longer and about 10,000 words in I lose the ability to pants and have to create plot points at the very least. I look at writing longer pieces like a road trip, with the plot points being the can’t miss sights along the way.
My day’s lately have been crazy as the kids have been home (ice storm knocked out the power/heat at their school). Normally I try to do non-writing work in the mornings (email, etc). Then in the afternoon (when both kids are at school) I work on blogging, plotting or editing. My prime writing time is after everyone else is in bed. And somewhere in there I try to clean, work out, eat and sleep. Needless to say, the cleaning and work outs are the first things to fall by the wayside…which I need to work on remedying.
4) What is the craziest thing you have ever done as a writer? The craziest thing you have ever done at all? Is there anything that you haven't done and want to?
This is a tough question for me in that if I’ve done something, I don’t really think it’s all that crazy LOL. As a writer, I took a piece of (almost) flash fiction and re-wrote it into a short story long enough for publication (Of Course I Try) and it became the jumping off point for my first series. Last year, I wanted to attend RT as an aspiring author and (like a lot of people) got booted to the overflow hotel. Another aspiring author I’d met only once (for a couple hours) invited me to share her room instead. Since then, we’ve gone to Vegas together and will be bunking with each other for RT LA this year as well. I also flew a plane once (debated getting my pilot’s license but decided I’d get too distracted and miss something without a co-pilot LOL). I missed out on swimming with the sharks in Hawaii because my son got hurt and couldn’t go. I’d still like to do that. I’d also like to go skydiving, bungee-jumping, zip-lining. Basically, I want to do all sorts of adventure-type things—I’m a closet adrenaline junkie.
5) Who are some of your influences? Some of your favorite writers?
Kelley Armstrong is the woman whose career I aspire to. I would love to have her success and range. So needless to say she’s one of my favorites. I also love Jacqueline Carey, Richelle Mead, James Rollins, Hannah Moskowitz, Suzanne Collins, …and this list could go on a long time…
6) Do you have a favorite character out of all of your stories? Do you feel like any of them are, or could be, you?
I love all my characters, and every one of them is a little bit like me, but none of them are a lot like me. Jocelyn (from my Blood Kissed series) is a bit like the girl I was in college, and Ever (from Badlands) is in some ways the woman I want to be when I grow up.
My favorite character though is one people haven’t seen yet (eventually but not yet). His name is Remy and he is so deliciously colorful and flamboyant, yet he’s the one in the story whose motives are hardest to pin down. You’re never quite sure if he’s a good guy or a bad guy.
7) You're very active on Twitter, and to a lesser degree, on Facebook. Why? Does that help get your name out there? Do you think that you might set up a MySpace page for Elle, Jax, and Cass from "Pretty Souls"?
I love Twitter. Love, love, love it. It’s a fabulous resource for me as a writer and great for networking. For connecting with fans though, it’s not as effective as I’d like. I have Facebook in part for that, though even there, I think fans are somewhat leery of talking to authors. (People, please talk to me! I like conversations!)
Myspace? Does anyone even use Myspace anymore? I have thought about setting up a Twitter account for the Paranormal Response Team but haven’t had the time yet. If I see that I’m getting interest from fans there, I’ll do it for sure. (Yes, Twitter is kind of the medium I prefer.)
8) I know you like to find pictures to represent your characters, if only for the covers. When you've asked for help from readers, what is the most surprising or memorable suggestion you've gotten?
I so love doing this. Honestly, I don’t always get a say in the covers other than filling out a form and hoping the cover artist gets what I’m saying. But for my own personal use when writing it is a huge help. (I can be a very visual person.) Usually I have a pretty good idea of someone in my mind when I create a character, but every once in a while I come up blank. I know for a character in an unreleased novel, I was describing him to a friend (who likes to help me with these things) as kind of a California surfer boy. She kept sending me pictures of guys with dreadlocks and stuff. Good looking men, but not what I was going for at all. Eventually, after a lot of back and forth, she sent me a picture of Kevin Zegers. I laughed and said, “If I’d told you I wanted an older, blonder Zac Efron, you would have sent this right away, wouldn’t you?” She just said yes and laughed at me.
9) What in the publishing process surprised you the most?
How easy it is for things to get lost in the mix. I enjoy editing and all that, but even though I keep two calendars (one desk calendar and one on my laptop), blog posts and interviews sometimes don’t make it on there. It kills me when I realize I’ve forgotten something or get backed up and turn it in late. With that, the sheer amount of promo there is to do is astounding.
On her blog, Seleste is giving away a copy of Badlands to a random commenter (from here or a few other blogs) who can give an example of a strong woman from their real life. She’ll draw a winner tonight at 11:59 pm est.
Badlands is available now
After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.
Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.