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Monday, August 20, 2012

Interview with Seleste de Laney

Recently I've had the great pleasure of interviewing Seleste DeLaney and let me tell you....this chick is awesome! I will be honest and say that I haven't read any of her books YET, but I will be picking up her newest release and many more as I have time. I'm an avid reader during the times I'm not trying to write, or be the domestic servant of my household. :)

Like I have mentioned before, I like to get inside of the heads of people I interview. I try to ask a variety of questions that allow their personality to shine through. Seleste didn't let me down :)

Let's dive in with one of my favorite questions, because hey, I want to know!

Hennessee: Seleste, are there any scenes in your books based on personal experiences?

Seleste: I’m kind of cracking up at this question. There are tiny pieces of scenes that are similar to experiences I’ve had, but complete scenes? Not a single one I can think of. Mainly because (other than that stalker issue I had in high school) I’ve never had a boyfriend almost kill me or an assassin hunting me or… 

Hennessee: Tell me when you started writing.

Seleste: I wrote a lot when I was younger. Then I “got serious about my future” and stopped—no time for fantasy worlds when you’re “serious about your future.” (Please tell me that came across in a nice, deep voice filled with authority. Anyway…) After spending many years being serious, I had an emergency c-section (both my and my son’s lives were at risk), and it made me realize that maybe serious wasn’t what I wanted to be if I could kick it any time. So I started writing again around 2002-ish. I “got serious about my writing” in 2007. I joined a writing group that year and got my ass handed to me by a brilliant writer (a few times). 

Hennessee: What kind of hero you most enjoy writing about?

Seleste: Hot ones. Can I use that as an answer? :P Honestly, I was never a girl who had a “type.” In Kiss of Death, there are two heroes (Max and Chad). Both are vampires, but they are so very different from each other. Max is strong, silent, warrior type whereas Chad is loud, cocky and spontaneous. I love them both. Basically, I like my stable of heroes to have variety. Sometimes you want a sleek Arabian, other times a big, burly Percheron. And sometimes you aim for the Thoroughbred. It all depends on how I want to ride that day ;-)

Hennessee: When you read, what do enjoy reading the most?

Seleste: I tend to go in fits where I’ll read a lot of one genre and then jump to something else (which I also like to do with my writing :P). I’ve been reading a lot of YA this summer as well as a decent helping of steampunk. At the moment though, I’m reading The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. Leaving the teeny-boppers behind for a while and diving into some BDSM. *happy sigh*

Hennessee: (I love these types of questions mainly because I'm always making a fool of myself)  Tell me about an embarrassing moment.

Seleste: Uh… there are so many to choose from—most of which I don’t want all over the internet LOL. Okay, one that was fairly public and recent happened at the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention in 2011. My roommate (Deanna Wadsworth—brilliant author, buy her stuff) and I had been imbibing a bit prior to one of the parties. Out on the dance floor, she decided she wanted to play air guitar… on my leg. Feeling silly enough to play along, I kicked my leg up and she started doing her best impression of Michael J. Fox from Back to the Future. Between her moving around and me on one leg in heels… I fell. And then we tried again. I think it was the third of fourth time when I finally called it quits. Of course there were a couple people (fine… one) who refused to let me live that down. At least as far as I know there was no video of it. (Please do not tell me if there is. This is one case where I prefer to live in ignorance.)

Hee, hee! I'm not the only prone a fit of silliness and hope no one remembers!

Hennessee: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Seleste: I don’t believe in writer’s block. As for how I deal when words won’t come readily, it depends. Sometimes I accept that the story just isn’t right. If it’s not part of a series or something I’m really emotionally committed to, I move on. If it is, I have a variety of methods. (Which translates to “long answer incoming.”)
- Plow through—aka the direct approach—sometimes it’s just a matter of fear holding me back. If that’s it, I need to just keep pushing.
- Booze—I know, I know it sounds cliché, but the second thing other than fear that paralyzes me as a writer is over-thinking. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and inhibits over-thinking.
- Talk it out—This is one reason critique partners and beta readers (aka people you trust who get your writing) are invaluable. Sometimes they can see things you’re too close to see—like the ladder that will let you climb out of the corner you’ve painted yourself into.
- Walk away for a bit—this can be done in a variety of ways…
               - Literally take a walk—get out, see something other than your book and characters for a bit, then attack fresh.
               - Write something else—I like to use flash fiction for this. Sometimes it’s a matter of writing something meaningless that’ll never see the light of day, and other times I’ll use a piece of flash to gain deeper understanding of a character.
               - Take a nap or a bath or… --like taking a walk, this will give your brain a rest—some of my best ideas have come while in the bath or shower.

Hennessee: What do you think makes a great bedroom scene?

Seleste: Emotion is the most important thing. Mechanics are great. Acrobatics are fun. But what really sells a scene for me is the emotional content because it shows so much more than just tab A in slot B (or C or D). Even a lack of emotion is telling since it shows a level of disconnect to the physical. Which means if a scene lacks emotional depth, it tells you something about the character—which might not be the author’s actual intent.

Hennessee: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?

Seleste: Wow, this one’s hard. At the moment, Joss Whedon. He’s a brilliant story-teller for starters, a staunch feminist (which I adore about him), and considering the people he’s worked with, I’m sure he’s got some crazy-ass stories to tell. Plus, he might be able to arrange that dream-date for me (no, I’m not telling who with :P)

Hennessee: Tell me about the shittiest job you’ve ever had?

Seleste: Easy answer: kitchen at the dorm in college (crappy hours and crappy pay). Actual worst job (since unlike the college one, I had to have a job at this point): I worked as a lab tech in a materials testing facility. Sounds not awful, but my boss was (not to put too fine a point on it) a complete douchecanoe. He was very misogynistic and I’m still pretty sure the only reason he hired me was because he was told he needed a woman in the lab. Whenever I suggested something to help the lab run smoother (like standardized reports rather than everyone having to type up every stinking part of it for every test), he’d act like I was an idiot. I stuck it out for about a year and a half before the stress drove me out. Then I taught high school where my life was threatened by a student in the first week, and I was still less stressed than at the lab. 

Hennessee: When is your favorite time to write?

Seleste: At night after everyone else has gone to bed. Generally I like to turn out all the lights except a lamp right next to me (so I don’t knock over my water). The darkness hides all the other “should do” things around the house, and the quiet lets me sink into my own world.

Hennessee: If you could date any character from your books, who would it be and why?

Seleste: Date? Hmmmm. That is such a hard question because I like bits and pieces of all of them. I’d probably have to go with Remy just because he’d keep me on my toes. I’d have to work on getting him to shift his bi-mobile back to women though. 

Hennessee: Is there any of your strengths or weaknesses in your books you use to develop your characters?

Seleste:  All of them. :P Seriously, there are little tiny bits and pieces of me in all my characters (whether current me or past me or idealized me). For example, Max has this horribly tortured past that affects everything he does. My past is not that extreme, but when writing him, I tapped into the bad shit that had happened in my past that changed who I am. Chad is my public-front (that sounds horrid, but…)—I’m a horribly shy person which is something I hate about myself. In high school I started to force myself out of my shell—very much “fake it ‘til you make it”—and I adopt an air of confidence that I don’t always feel. Chad is that confident. I fake it, he lives it. I could keep going, but you get the idea. 

Hennessee: Tell me something odd about you?

Seleste: Something odd? I’m fairly certain I’m kind of odd in general. So, I went to my crit partner and BFF, Katee, for this one. She said, "You put an inordinate amount of importance on guys' hair." So...I guess that's my extreme oddity.

Hennessee: If your friends could describe you with one word, what would it be?

Seleste: Uh… how should I know? Depending on the friend, “bitch” might come up. But I asked one of my other besties, Dani, and she said, “Formidable.” I like that a lot better, so let’s go with that one, okay?

Hennessee: What do you say to people who believe romance books are porn for women?

Seleste: I smile, laugh, and tell them they should read more porn then. The word porn doesn’t bother me, nor does the idea that some women might find themselves sexually aroused by a well-written passage. I’ve watched porn. Most visual porn has no plot, no character development, ridiculous acting, and in general sucks ass. At least if I’m reading my porn (which has plot, character development, and very often doesn’t  suck), it shows I’m more intellectually stimulated than the people sitting there just watching.

Isn't that the best answer ever?!

Hennessee: Do you have an upcoming book you would like to tell me about?

Seleste: Yes! Kiss of Death (http://mundania.com/book.php?title=Kiss+of+Death) , the first novel in the Blood Kissed series releases on August 28, and I’m very excited about it. (You can add it on GoodReads here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13574499-kiss-of-death) There are a couple prequel shorts that give some background about the relationship between Jocelyn, Max, and Chad, but Kiss of Death is where the world really opens up and the story of the Blood Kissed really begins. Here’s the blurb…
Too many years of killer vamps have triggered the curse of the Blood Kissed. They’ve awakened the bloodline that can alter their world, because her blood has the power to control them all—even make them destroy each other.
Jocelyn thought her troubles with vampires were over when she drove a stake through her boyfriend Max’s heart a year ago. Even though she’s engaged to Chad now, she’s never really forgotten him. Now Max is back, and Chad is taking her into the heart of the vamp community—and they’re the ones trying to keep her alive. The ones who love her and each seek to claim her for their own. Because once the elders know who she is, they’re all going to want her… or want her dead.


Isn't this a sweet cover? Whew, love it!

Hennessee: Do you have any advice for new writers?

Seleste: Read a lot. Write a lot. Try new things. Learn to accept criticism. Get a crit partner and beta readers, and trust them, but don’t pretend they’ll take the place of your editor. Keep writing, even when it gets hard, even when you’re sick, and even when you’re tired. Write every day so it becomes a part of you. And don’t be afraid to take chances.

Hennessee:  What’s your poison?

Seleste: Belladonna and… er that’s not what you meant, is it? ;-) I’m a vodka girl all the way. Right now I’m on a kick where I almost exclusively drink flavored vodka and either lemonade or cranberry (when I’m imbibing. I mean, I also drink water and way too much diet pop.)

Hennessee:  What is your favorite comfort food?

Seleste: Have you seen me? I have a lot of comfort foods. My favorite meal out is Culver’s. It’s this little burger joint and they make frozen custard. *dies* The one good thing is I’m perfectly satisfied with a kids’ meal there, so at least I don’t eat a ton of it all at once. 

Hennessee:  How can readers find out more about you?

Seleste: I’m all over the internet, including my website (http://selestedelaney.com/) and blog (http://selestedelaney.blogspot.com/) as well as a few group blogs I contribute to. The easiest way to find out more is to just ask though. I’m on Facebook and Twitter  on a pretty regular basis (less so this summer just because I’ve been so busy). Friend me (http://www.facebook.com/seleste.delaney), like me (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seleste-deLaney/111903172206874), or follow me (https://twitter.com/#!/SelestedeLaney), and then hit me with anything you’re willing to ask publicly. I answer most things ;-) 

Hennessee: Where can we find your books?




As well as at the websites of my individual publishers: Carina Press (http://ebooks.carinapress.com/82C1C789-FF6F-4D15-AFF8-A8170FC90FA9/10/13/en/SearchResults.htm?SearchID=10622239), 




Hennessee: Thank you so much Seleste for allowing me to interview you. I've enjoyed very much!

Seleste: Thanks so much for having me, and I hope you’ll all check out Kiss of Death when it releases on Tuesday the 28th!
 







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