Delilah Dawson is the author of Wicked As They Come, a dark magical steampunk romance. Delilah very graciously agreed to drop by the virtual offices to chat up her book and her writing influences.
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Delilah Dawson] Writer, geek, goof, artist, synesthete, progenitor, cake guru, boot junkie, steampunk/cephalopod/ninja/vampire/narwhal/silly hat enthusiast.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Wicked As They Come?
[Delilah Dawson] Wicked as They Come is about a woman named Tish fleeing a bad relationship who inadvertently steals a locket and is whisked away to a magical steampunk Victorian world called Sang. Not everyone there is human, and the spell that called her was cast by a rakish magician named Criminy Stain. He runs a traveling carnival and is a Bludman, which is a blood drinker without all the garlic/nocturnal/cross business. Adventures ensue, including corsets, ghosts, submarines, bloodthirsty rabbits, and a kraken. I basically just threw all my favorite things into one story. Except cake. I somehow completely forgot to include cake.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the book?
[Delilah Dawson] It was an enormously lucky coincidence, sort of like when the person holding the peanut butter ran into the person holding the chocolate. I found the band The Hush Sound on Pandora.com and purchased their album, Like Vines. After listening to it all day and watching several episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I had a dream that I woke up naked on a rock in the forest. I thought I was alone, but then I looked up and saw this gorgeous guy in a cravat who looked like a very naughty version of Mr. Darcy and talked a lot like Buffy’s Spike. He became Criminy Stain, and the rest of the story just happened. You can detect several hints from Like Vines in the story, such as Criminy comparing Tish to a sweet tangerine or the magnolia mentioned in one character’s garden.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Delilah Dawson] Going through the edit process with my agent. The last book we worked on together was middle grade, and it was *very* different writing a romance. We had to have a phone conversation to work through the kinks, and I had to cut a scene that we both loved. In the end, I agreed with every change recommended by my agent and, later, my editor. The work is infinitely stronger thanks to their savvy direction. I also had to be forced into writing the sex scenes, which were originally all black-outs. My beta readers protested loudly!
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Criminy would never have in his jacket pockets?
[Delilah Dawson] Good gravy, that man’s pockets are similar to Mary Poppins’ carpet bag! I suppose he wouldn’t have cyanote or sea water in there, since they could actually harm him. And probably not a live bludrat, either. Anything else would be fair game.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Delilah Dawson] I’m a big geek, so I love well-crafted and original stories. This book was a little bit influenced by Buffy, and the book I’m working on now, a clockpunk Robin Hood, smacks a bit of Mal Reynolds and Firefly. Joss Whedon perfectly marries smart writing, humor, and unique storytelling, to me. I read constantly, with a different book in the car, at the kitchen table, on my bedside table. And every book I write has a playlist that I listen to obsessively while writing.
[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things do you need in order to write?
[Delilah Dawson] Coffee, music, and an environment free of children. Tiny voices make my mental train derail.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Delilah Dawson] One? Just one? Tough choice! The first "big kid" book I read straight through in one sitting was King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. I still remember what it felt like, waking up after the last page and being extremely surprised that I wasn’t surrounded by desert sands and dishy-faced horses.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Delilah Dawson] Reading, watching movies, climbing trees, spending time with my family, playing on Twitter and Facebook, hanging out with friends, working on my steampunk outfits. My favorite thing on earth is horseback riding, but I haven’t gotten to do that much since moving to the suburbs and having kids. And I adore traveling. I get super excited every time I get on a plane.
[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!
You can learn more about Delilah by visiting the following websites:
Simon & Schuster Author Portal: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Delilah-S-Dawson/84881573/author_revealed
Wicked As They Come will be in stores March 27. You can pre-order a copy by clicking the widgets below: