Author Delilah S. Dawson Interview and $20.00 Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE Here!

The Mysterious Madam Morpho by Delilah S. DawsonBBB: How old were you when you began writing, and what was the first piece you ever wrote?

DD: My first book was made of stapled drawing paper and detailed the experience of having my tonsils removed. I even did the illustrations, most of which showed me frowning while eating popsicles. I was five. But if you’re talking about my first attempt at a novel, I was 31, and it was a goofy romance about a woman who accidentally sleeps with Zeus while on vacation in Greece. It lives in a drawer now.

BBB: Are there particular activities or places that inspire you as a writer, or does inspiration just come out of the blue anywhere and anytime?

DD: Every book is inspired by something different, so I try to stay open to experience. Wicked As They Come happened after I dreamed the scene where Tish meets Criminy in Sang. I was watching a lot of Buffy at the time and listening to the album Like Vines by the Hush Sound. My recent e-novella, The Mysterious Madam Morpho, was written to Gotye’s Making Mirrors album and inspired by a Wikipedia search for old-fashioned circus acts– I wanted to put a Sangish spin on the humble flea circus. The YA I’ll have out in 2014 was inspired by a series of photos I ran across online of the abandoned Six Flags NOLA after Katrina.

BBB: What books did you most enjoy reading while growing up? As a teen?

DD: I’ve always loved reading. I started with Marguerite Henry, moved on to Watership Down and Island of the Blue Dolphins and Julie of the Wolves, then found Stephen King and Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jean Auel, which was very eye-opening at twelve. As a teen, my book consumption slowed down as I focused on painting murals, taking AP classes, and working thirty hours a week at an arts center. I woke back up when someone handed me Tom Robbins’ Still Life with Woodpecker as a freshman in college.

BBB: What genres do you read for pleasure now?

DD: Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult, scifi. I usually have several books strategically placed around the house and car. Right now, I’m working on The Taker by Alma Katsu, Clean by Alex Hughes, and Blood and Silver by James R. Tuck.

BBB: Sang, the rich and varied world where the Blud series takes place, feels very real in spite of its fantastical elements. How do you describe your creation to those unfamiliar with the books?

DD: Thank you for saying that! Here’s the hook I tested out at a book signing this weekend: It’s like True Blood set in a steampunk Victorian carnival. And if someone still seems uncertain, I use the phrase “Tim Burtonesque”. And if they’re still not hooked, I tell them about the bludbunnies and make attack-fang gestures.

BBB: What aspect of steampunk first drew you to the genre?

DD: The only steampunk I’d read before writing Wicked As They Come was Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke, which I recommend highly. I didn’t actually set out to write a steampunk book; the world-building grew organically to accommodate the concept of blud creatures. With no pets and the countryside besieged by predators, the natural answer was the rise of clockwork animals, conveyances, dirigibles, and submarines. But the combination of Victorian aesthetics and rebellious invention is my favorite thing about steampunk as a whole.

BBB: You have a YA series scheduled for 2014. What can you tell us about it?

DD: It’s a dark paranormal about a teen girl who quits taking the pills meant to keep her sane and starts seeing the truth about the demons that are enslaving the hurricane-ravaged city of Savannah… and may have killed her best friend. It’s a very different world from Sang, but I think my readers will enjoy the creepy world overlaying a city of famous history and charm.

BBB: Out of all of your characters, which have you most enjoyed writing and which has proven the most difficult?

DD: Criminy is one of the most fun to write, and I hope I’ll get the chance to continue his story one day. Writing him is pretty much being seduced by him.The hardest has been Casper in the second Blud e-novella, The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance, which will be out right before book 2 next spring. It’s difficult, balancing a character on the brink of a great precipice, giving him the seeds of his future greatness while exploring the dark despair consuming him.

BBB: What aspect of being an author do you most enjoy?

DD: The fire and passion of exploring an idea, finding the characters, and creating the world. When I’m writing a first draft, I fall into flow. I forget to eat, I listen to the playlist again and again, I constantly stare into space and grin. It’s like being consumed in the best possible way. I also love traveling, meeting readers, speaking, and hanging out with other writers. It’s the best job in the world!

BBB: What hobbies do you have, and what do you enjoy doing for relaxation?

DD: Writing is my first hobby. I read a lot. I’m a jack-of-all trades, really, flitting around whatever strikes my fancy and seems like an adventure. I shoot my compound bow, I go to circus class, I paint, I ride horses whenever possible, I love the ocean, I dig seeing movies in the theater. And I really love to travel, although I don’t get to venture out as much as I’d like to.

BBB: What do you think the future holds for paranormal romance and urban fantasy?

DD: If I knew, I would be writing it! I hear zombies and vampires are dead, but I don’t think they’ll ever really die. It seems like things are getting grittier recently, and I like that. The super suave, flawless characters don’t hold a lot of appeal to me. Since I started writing, I’ve watched mermaids, angels, zombies, dystopian, and werewolves rise and fall as the “it” thing. Personally, I’d love to see some new takes on world mythologies.

Thanks so much for having me! Your reviews always make my day. 🙂

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Learn more about Delilah S. Dawson here:
Read reviews of the author’s work here.

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  1. Have you ever traveled outside of the country to do research for writing?

    • Oh, I wish! I’ve only been writing for three years, and the only research trip I’ve taken was to Savannah– it included a horse-drawn carriage ride with a pirate. I’ve never actually been to England, so that would be high on my list. And Paris, since book 3 is set there. I’ve been to France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Mexico, and I accidentally walked into Belgium once but was marched back into the airport at gunpoint. 🙂 Oops.

  2. * Jumps up and down * Delilah!!!! Actually Meljean Brooks and my friend Bama introduced Delilah to me in August. I had just finished Heart of Steel by Meljean and wanted more steampunk.

    Delilah here was such a sweetheart to offer up recommendations. And did not even pimp out her book. For shame! So with a gift card I won I went on a steampunk binge in a way. Bought her book and the Steampunk diary!

    Criminy still reminds me of a mixture of David Bowie’s Jareth the Goblin King and Johnny Depp’s rendition of The Mad Hatter. LOL. And it was funny, saying that to one friend sold her on wanting to read Wicked as they Come. She wants to borrow my book.

    • Shhh – I really ought to be writing. But I got abotu 900 words so far so I’m procrastinating and saying it’s to allow the creative juices to flow in the head.

  3. Okay so I went and ordered Mysterious Madam Morpho ebook. Even though I’m saving my giftcards for a new external (my old one is corrupting files, and it corrupted one of my Works in Progress – which gave me the swift kick in the arse to work on it) I couldn’t resist!

    I have to have more to tie me off until more Blud books come out. Can’t wait!

    • BTW – Seen the Cover for WICKED AS SHE WANTS – Blud 2 (that comes out in April 2013.. SUCH a long wait) on The Qwillery What’s Up for 2012 Debut Authors in 2012 and 2013 – Part 2 . Oh I was jumping in my seat with excitement!

      • Yay! So glad you’re enjoying Sang! <3 I just turned in line edits on Wicked as She Wants and can't wait to see it in print. April feels so very far away, doesn't it?

        Now get back to writing!

        • Sadly I cannot start writing… my lil guy gets off the bus in a half hour, and then I have to start supper. Males eat a lot and I have three sons and a husband… Hopefully once hubby leaves for work, the boys will be distracted by Magic, the play cards for me to write.

  4. You darn skippy I introduced Rachel to Delilah! Lol

  5. Okay question… Say you had the silvertongue ability (think Inkheart) what would be the first book you’d immediately grab and who/what would you read out?

    Though it would be fun to read out Criminy. LOL

    • Yeah. Criminy. Num. Um. I haven’t read Inkheart, but I think I get the gist. Crim would be at the top of the list, but I’ll admit I’d rather get read into Sang than read him into our world. Consequences and interconnection tend to bog down all the fun. Since I wrote most of the things I like to do into Wicked as They Come, I’d really just like to be under that low sky, riding bloodthirsty horses and playing at the carnival and riding in dirigibles.

      Looking at other books, I love Jamie Fraser from Outlander and Archimedes Fox from Meljean Brook’s Heart of Steel.

  6. Do you have a favourite vacation spot?

    • I’m an ocean girl. Love being near the ocean, smelling it, feeling the breeze, riding horses on the beach. Love bright blue water and snorkeling and jumping off of very high rocks and going out on boats and diving headfirst into very deep places. I’d really like to learn how to dive and swim with large, scary things.

      So… pretty much any ocean or sea would suit. 🙂

  7. elizabeth petula winmill

    Are all your books Y A or do you have some for grown ups? I have never read any Steam punk I’m not sure if I will like it

    • Wicked as They Come (book) and The Mysterious Madam Morpho (e-novella) are both paranormal romance for adults. Although they contain steampunk elements, you don’t need any preparation, research, or background to read them. 🙂 There will be two more books and two more novellas in the Blud series, all for adults.

      My first YA will be out in summer 2014 and will be very different.

  8. Hi,
    I teach research and I would like to know what steps you take when you start looking into something that you would like to include in your writing. Where do you start and how do you keep track of what you might use?

    • I am a quick and dirty researcher, in part because I hate being wrong and would rather make up an entirely new world than regret inaccuracy. That’s one reason Sangland isn’t England. 🙂 I do a lot of reading. I use Wikipedia. I search for images and information on Google. I’m… a really bad example of good research. I really admire author Deanna Raybourn’s dedication to accuracy in research, though. That girl digs deep!

      For my YA, I originally wanted to set it in NOLA, but I realized that as someone who’s never been there, there were too many ways to mess it up and not show proper attention and honor to those who lived through a tragedy. Instead, I created an imaginary hurricane, Josephine, that “strikes” Savannah in 2015. I have family in Savannah, so I planned a trip down there, went on a carriage tour with my brother-in-law and niece, asked lots of questions, and plotted out the characters’ route. I also asked a few Savannah natives to read through early drafts and offer criticism, which helped improve the realism.

      Hope that helps!

  9. I forgot to mention that I did RSVP.

  10. LOVE YA and YA crossover. I am very excited about your title!
    The cover is fabulous? If you could redo this process (writing, publishing, ect) would you change anything?

    • Thanks! I definitely enjoy the cover. 🙂

      I’ll admit I’m one of those happy-go-lucky freaks who believes the world unfolds accordingly. I wouldn’t change anything in my publishing journey so far. I love where I am, and I love where I’m going, and I’m unbelievably fortunate to have such a great team of colleagues, editors, and agent on my side.

      Actually, I wish I had grasped the importance of strong characters earlier. The MG book that snagged my agent didn’t sell, and now that I know why, it’s too late to change it. World-building, action, and plot aren’t enough– the character is the heart that drives it all.

  11. I think this new YA for 2014 sounds good. I like the idea of misdirecting her with pills. How many books do you think it will be and will the entire series be in Savannah?
    Thank you.

    I RSVP’d as Viki S.

    • The YA sold as a single title, but the end is wide open with room for more. If there’s interest, it will stay in the Savannah area, but I have some spooky scenes planned for the marshes and an abandoned hotel. 🙂

  12. Hi Delilah,

    New author for me! New author for me! And one that mixes Steampunk and vampires, YAY!

    New takes on myths….Have you read Rob Thuram? Cal & Nick series and especially the Trickster series.

    • Oh my NoPants sister.. You have got to read Wicked as they Come! Rawr.

    • THURMAN…Rob Thurman….sry for the oops

    • 1. I haven’t read, but I’ll definitely check it out.
      2. I am a festering pit of goals! I’m always either writing, revising, or cogitating, and I always want to do more.
      3. I reward myself with cake. When I get a sale, I go out for a fancy, indulgent meal, as I love to try new things. And to celebrate my first sale ever, I put in a wall of bookshelves.
      4. I… take lots of notes. But organization is not my bailiwick. At all.

  13. Do you generally set one large or many small goals?

  14. What do you do to reward yourself when you reach your goals?

  15. Do you keep track f random plot bunnies as they pop up or do you let them run free and grow untl you need them?

  16. Pkay so you are new to me. But the way everyone keeps talking you up, I should proabaly get onto reading this. Otherwise I think I might be attacked by a certain someone! I won’t say who it is, but the name begins with ‘R’ and ends with ‘aonaid’ 🙂

    But I am curious is there anything special that you have to do or have to have with you before settling down to start writing?


    • There is one major thing I need to start writing: to be left alone. I can’t write if people are trying to talk to me, or if I can hear my children’s voices. I have noise-canceling earbuds and a playlist, and after the proper amount of coffee or wine, I’m GO. 🙂

  17. I totally agree with you about new world mythology takes! I was very close to getting a minor in mythology in college.

  18. Hi Delilah,
    Here’s an out of the blue question: what’s your favorite dessert? Mine’s pumpkin pie with whipped cream, yum!
    I have Wicked as They Come on my TBR shelf and I’m going to read it very soon, I promise. I’m not sure why I haven’t yet, it’s probably because all these great books keep coming out and I can’t read them fast enough. 😀 Unfortunately, I have to work sometimes, darn it, in between all my reading.

    I RSVP’d

    • My TBR pile is huge, too. 🙂 And my fav dessert is red velvet cake with buttercream or almond icing. But it has to be top-notch and contain absolutely zero fruit or fruit flavors. The best dessert I ever had in my life was this amazing creme brulee cake at a sidewalk cafe in Thessaloniki. I still dream of it.

  19. Hey again Delilah, since you write with steampunk elements, are you interested in other steampunk activities, such as dress, made objects, conventions, etc.?

    • Definitely! I have several steampunk costumes and corsets, and I was truly honored to be featured in an article in RT Times Magazine with Karina Cooper and Gail Carriger on steampunk costuming recently. I modded one Nerf gun and made several bludbunny necklaces, but let’s just say I’m better with words than actual objects. 🙂 Love to go to cons in steampunk gear, too!

  20. Thanks for the interview! I really like the sound of the YA novel you have coming up. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

  21. Did you eat your Wheaties today?

    See, I told you I would remind you to eat today. =)
    Writing Criminy was like being seduced by him, I can see that…but oh what a fun ride that would have been.

    • Wheaties? Ew. No. But I did just get back from a fantastic dinner of duck confit spring rolls, braised lamb shank, and chocolate cake with almond chantilly creme. Mmmm. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  22. Hi! 🙂 One of the first thoughts I had when reading above about the goofy romance you first wrote… that seemed to happen a lot with Zeus… I mean, all the moons out of the 60+ that Jupiter has are his lovers after all… 😉 And just wondered, do you paint anything related to your writing – the characters, the world you created, or nope, never?


    • I honestly haven’t painted much since I started writing. Despite an art degree, years of working as a professional muralist, and a career in galleries, it turns out my writing is way better than my art. I sometimes toy with the idea of doing some bludbunny portraits for my mostly-empty Etsy shop, but I’d rather spend my time writing. I can capture Sang better this way.

  23. Hi,

    is there a genre you have written in yet that you would love to?

    • I tend to write whatever makes me feel on fire inside. So far, that’s taken me to middle grade, YA, paranormal romance, and steampunk/historical romance. I’m currently 15k in on a book unlike anything I’ve written before, a gritty scifi. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

  24. Do you have your own horses or ride other people’s?

    And now, after all the cheerleading above, I really need to read your novella. I don’t read much steampunk, but this one is sounding very good. 🙂

    • Oh, horses. I have everything I want in my life right now… except that. I live in an area where horse ownership is ridiculously expensive, and there’s nowhere to ride without an hour’s drive. My next big dream is to have a horse again and be near forests and trails. So for now, I’m just trying to find a lesson barn that’s close, affordable, and in line with my philosophies on horsemanship.

      Hope you check it/them out! Steampunk is more of a detail than a defining characteristic, in my stories. No steampunk experience required!

  25. Hi, I was wondering what the best movie you’ve seen lately was?

    • Um… The Avengers? I’ve missed a lot of movies lately due to family illnesses, so I know I’m behind. I’m currently watching Arrested Development for the first time, and I just finished season 2 of The Walking Dead. So those are my favorite recent media acquisitions. I’m really, really looking forward to Skyfall, Cloud Atlas, and the new Tarantino film.

  26. Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?

    • Wicked as They Come was written to and partially inspired by the album Like Vines by The Hush Sound. You can hear echoes of some of the songs in the story. And The Mysterious Madam Morpho was written to Gotye’s Making Mirrors, especially Smoke and Mirrors and Somebody I Used to Know. Every book/story I write has a playlist that I listen to heavily.

  27. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

    • Tough question! The things that happened to me when I was a teen are much, much scarier than anything that’s happened to me lately. And I would much rather do something commonly perceived as scary, like swim with sharks or handle large snakes or ride in a two-seater plane, than do normal things like driving down the highway or eating tuna. I did illegally climb a tree in the dark last week in stiletto heels.;)

  28. What do you do to “color” outside the lines?

  29. 11pm EST, and I’m on the verge of madness. Any more questions? I’ll be back to attack them tomorrow morning. Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone! I’m really enjoying the chat!

  30. what advice can you give writers who are still trying to get an agent?

    • The best advice I can give to writers is to keep writing. Perfect your craft. Separate yourself from your work and dig deep in revisions. Find critique partners and beta readers. Always be reading. I think that the big secret to getting an agent is simply writing a great book.

      But for more concrete answers, you can check out the Resources page on my blog, which has all the agent and writing blogs I follow, plus the info I used to find my agent:

  31. I never read a Steampunk how different is it from paranormal?

    • To my understanding, most paranormal romance is either modern day, like Charlaine Harris or Sherrilyn Kenyon, or historical, like Anne Rice. The steampunk aspect usually means that it takes place in an alternate version of history with fantastic technology like dirigibles, submarines, ray guns, automatons, possibly clockwork animals or devices or body parts. So if you like history with a fantasy twist, you might dig it. 🙂

  32. I have to ask, what is circus class?

  33. What is your favorite childhood book/series?

    • I started out on Marguerite Henry’s horse books, moved on to Little House on the Prairie and The Chronicles of Narnia (that was a really good Christmas!), dug some Doctor Doolittle and Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, and eventually got lost in Jean Auel’s Children of the Earth series when I was 12. I really liked fantasy books that also had an element of knowledge to them.

  34. Have you ever written fan fiction? For what fandom?

  35. If your mind were a house, what would it look like inside?

    • It would be a well-kept and sturdy but rambling Victorian, with turrets and garrets and hidden passageways and an attic full of sunbeams and a huge library with rolling ladders and tons of shelves and cabinets and chiffarobes and window seats and puffy, white beds and taxidermied animals and gleaming wood and brass and sheepskin, and every now and then I would find a new room and be all, OMIGOD, THIS IS SO COOL.

  36. Hi, Delilah. Thanks so much for joining us here at BBB!

    If Criminy were able to visit us here, what would be his favorite and least favorite things about our world?

    • Thanks so much for having me, Carol! <3

      Criminy would love the magic of the internet, airplanes, and blood banks. He would hate the lack of wilderness and the fact that you can't see the stars at night due to light pollution.

  37. Hi there! I have Wicked as they come and I am so excited to start it. It’s right at the top of my TBR pile, so any day now I’m gonna get to it. I’ll be getting this one tonight too. What are your thoughts on audiobooks? Do you want yours to be available?

    • Oh, I would *LOVE* to sell audiobook rights. 🙂 I could never read my own stuff, though, like some authors. My voice is a mess.

      And thanks about the site! It’s kind of crazy, how expensive ammo has gotten since the last time I was at the range.

  38. I like your site btw. I have those same zombie targets! I can only use the animal ones tho, we aren’t allowed to use human shaped ones. Oh well. I love shooting, but it can become expensive with the price of ammo.

  39. I love the hook you came up with for the book . . . and the follow up hook . . . and the third attempt 😛

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  40. I read Wicked as They Come when it was first released and cried when I found out the next book would not be released until 2013. I have told everyone that this is my favorite book of 2012. Looking forward to reading your future releases.
    Do you have a set number of books planned or is it based on your muse? (I just want to know if I need to go into mourning anytime soon.)

    • Oh, thank you so much! I’m so very glad you liked ! <3 WARM FUZZY!

      As for the number of books, it's not based on my muse so much as what Pocket bought. The original deal was for 3 books in the Sang world, and then they bought 3 e-novellas of about 30-40k each. As of right now, I would LOOOVE to sell more books in this series. The first three books take place in Sangish versions of England, Russia, and France, but I would love to do a book in Australia, one in America, one in Egypt, one in the Himalayas. I could keep going! I had an entire 3-book series based on just Criminy and Tish, before they requested a new romance for each book.

      The best way to get more books would be to tell your friends to buy Wicked and tell Pocket you want more Blud. :)My fingers will be crossed for more.

  41. Looking forward to meeting you at the will be St. Augustine convention in February. I love your book and the cover is just awesome.

  42. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading your books but the blurb intrigued me and the covers rocked. I will have to have my ya check out your books too.