Saturday, 26 August 2017

Diana talks to Dellani Oakes

Hi Dellani. I love your Pod Casts on Red River Radio  As you talk to authors all the time yourself, I  am hoping these questions of mine are a little 'out of the box' for you...

First things first I am sure there is a question that you have always longed to be asked. Now is the chance. Ask your own question and answer it.....

If you could kiss any man in the universe (or furry alien, we don't want to discriminate) who would it be?

If I could be assured I wouldn't get my head removed from my body by his wife, I'd have to say Wil VanLipsig, the Lone Wolf. He's wickedly sexy, dangerously handsome and everything a woman could want—provided she wants a man who knows a thousand ways to kill and disable his enemies.

What is the genre you are best known for?
I'm best known for my romantic suspense, but I also write retro-romance, fantasy and sci-fi. All of these are layered with a little love, because I'm romantic at heart.

If your latest book, The Lone Wolf Tales, was adapted into a TV show or a film, who would you like to play the lead role?

This is a series of short stories, but the majority of them are centered around Wil VanLipsig, the Lone Wolf. I've gone through many permutations over the years, but I'd love to see Warren Christie take on the role.

What made you choose this genre?
I've been a sci-fi fan since I was in the third grade. I picked up a copy of Starman's Son by Andre Norton at the local library, and fell in love with the feel of it. I love the freedom of sci-fi because I can go anywhere, do anything, make any kind of interesting alien I want. Sentient ships? I've got them. Giant, talking, mercenary cats? I've got them too. Want a talking asteroid? Look no further. One planet has every fantasy creature you can imagine, and others you'd never thought of. What's not to love?

How do you get ideas for plots and characters?
I've gotten ideas from mud puddles, cars in traffic, visits to a museum, dreams, conversations, weird things that happened to me.... Basically, life is an inspiration.

Favourite picture or work of art?
I have to pick just one? I can't think of any single famous work of art that speaks to me above all others. However, a picture that I love is the one I took of my 8 year old granddaughter holding her baby sister for the first time, and giving her a kiss. (Awwwwwwwwww)

If, as a one off, (and you could guarantee publication!) you could write anything you wanted, is there another genre you would love to work with and do you already have a budding plot line in mind?
As a matter of fact, I'm working on a ghost story. It's not something I ever imagined I would write. It's taking me a long time, because I can't work on it at night, only during the day. It's creeping me out too much. (Silly, I know)

Was becoming a writer a conscious decision or something that you drifted into (or even something so compelling that it could not be denied?) How old were you when you first started to write seriously.
I first started by telling stories when I was four and my older sister started school. I made up tales of Rainbow School and told my mother about it every morning. Later, I progressed to (horrible) poetry. As I grew older, song parodies and humorous essays became my thing. I soon fell in love with short stories. In college, it was plays. By the time I married, had children and started working, I didn't have time for writing, but the urge was still there. When I moved to Florida and visited St. Augustine for the first time, the voices wouldn't stay silent any longer. I started to write my historical novel, Indian Summer, as a result.

Marmite? Love it or hate it?
I've never tried it, but a dear friend of mine (from Manchester) let me smell it once and tried to convince me to have it on toast. It smelled like old socks. I wasn't a fan.

Do you have any rituals and routines when writing? Your favourite cup for example or ‘that’ piece of music...??
I usually sit down with my ice water and hit the keys. However, when writing my 2016 NaNo book, I had certain songs I simply had to hear before I could start to write. It was rather disconcerting to have my creativity hinge on something else like that. However, it was a great book and will be published sometime in November. (Let me know when it is out, Dellani, and I will try and get a Review reviewer review it for you, here in the blog.)

I promise I won’t tell them the answer to this, but when you are writing, who is more important, your family or your characters?
I can't tell you how many times I've gotten dinner on the table late or nearly forgot to pick up my kids from school. I'm glad they're grown now and can feed themselves and provide their own transportation. They got used to me saying, “Let me just finish this sentence (paragraph, page) and I'll get you a glass of water.”

Other than writing full time, what would be your dream job?
Making my books into movies.

Coffee or tea? Red or white?
Coffee, always. I do like tea, but I prefer it cold most of the time. I used to say a dry red wine was my favorite, but then I had chemo for breast cancer 7 years ago, and I can't handle that any more. I have to drink a semi-sweet white now.

How much of your work is planned before you start? Do you have a full draft or let it find its way?
I don't plan anything. I usually don't even have a title. The words start flowing, the characters walk in and introduce themselves, and the plot goes where it goes. I tried outlining, but that got out of hand quickly. I decided if I were going to spend so much time on an outline, I might as well just write.

If you had free choice over the font your book is printed in, what font/fonts would you choose?
I'm old school, I like the clarity of Times New Roman. It's easy to read and neutral. For me, a funky font is distracting. I'd rather have something clear and not fussy, like Times, Ariel or even Trebuchet.

Imagine that you could get hold of any original source document. What would it be?
Anything written by William Shakespeare. (Except Titus Andronicus, because that's crap.)

Have any of your characters ever shocked you and gone off on their own adventure leaving you scratching your head??? If so how did you cope with that!?
Every time I write, my characters jet off on their own. I latch onto their shirt tails and enjoy the ride. I don't try to curtail them because then the story goes off the tracks.

How much research do you do and do you ever go on research trips?
For my sci-fi, it's rare that I have to do any research. Mine isn't old school, hard science stuff. I guess some of the purists would call it more futuristic fantasy, but what reader's ever heard of that?

For my historical and retro novels, I've had to do a good bit of research. For Indian Summer, I made several trips to St. Augustine, Florida, which is up the road about 2 hours. That was super fun. St. Augustine is one of my favorite places.

Have you ever totally hated or fallen in love with one of your characters?
I have to admit, I fall in love with each of my male leads. Some, I love more than others. Wil has a place in my heart that will probably never be supplanted. I've completed seven books in the Lone Wolf series, as well as several short stories. There are also two unfinished prequels to the series. He is my first love and will be number one forever.

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?
I love the Sookie Stackhouse books. I've read them at least three times and am working my way through the series again. I'm missing a couple books, but Charlaine Harris is wonderful about filling in gaps. It's fun, entertaining and exciting.

What drink would you recommend drinking whilst reading your latest book?
I've always thought that Wil and friends are best appreciated with a smooth whiskey. My favorite beverage is Clyde May's Alabama Whiskey, because it is sweet, smooth, dusky and has a real kick to it – just like Wil

Last but not least... favourite author?
Also a hard one to pick, I have so many. I will say that some of the most influential to me are Andre Norton, Daphne Du Maurier, Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

To buy Dellani's books click here! (They are worth it!)

Dellani Oakes
Dellani Oakes is a former A.P. English teacher, photo journalist, substitute teacher and Mary Kay consultant. She can give skin care & makeup advice, correct grammar, take pictures and write an article while controlling a classroom full of rowdy children.

Dellani was making up stories before she could read. Her first really cohesive work began when her older sister started school. Left to entertain herself, she invented an imaginary friend and would regale her mother with tales of Snowy Green and Rainbow School. These stories paved the way for songs and poems in elementary school and short stories in high school and college.

A college theatre major, Dellani took play writing. It became her new love. Scripts being dialog heavy and character driven, this aspect has followed her into her novel writing. She uses verbal exchanges & sparring as a way of revealing both plot and characterization.

Dellani had to set aside her love of writing when she began working as a teacher. Her creative energies were channeled into writing exams to make her students cry--although this wasn't usually intentional. Unfortunately, between that and motherhood, she didn't have time to write.

Once her youngest son started school in 2002, she was able to write full time. Her first novel, "Indian Summer", was published in 2008. Her second novel, "Lone Wolf" made its debut in September 2011. "Lone Wolf" is the first in her science-fiction series. Book two of the Lone Wolf Series - "Shakazhan", came out in July of 2013. Both have recently been reissued in Kindle Format.

In addition to her historical novel and sci-fi, Dellani has added 7 romantic suspense novels, 4 of which are published by Tirgearr Publishing. The rest, she has independently published. She also shares some of her unpublished work for free on her blog.

Dellani is a Blog Talk Radio host with two shows each month on the Red River Radio Network: Dellani's Tea Time 4:00 PM Eastern every 2nd Monday & What's Write for Me at 4:00 PM Eastern every 4th Wednesday. Look for her on Red River Radio Network. (Guests vary)

© Diana Milne January 2017 © Dellani Oakes August 2017

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I had such a good time answering the questions. I'm going to borrow some of your questions! ~ D