I was suppose to post this interview several weeks ago, but when I realized that Author Seleste deLaney latest book Badlands was going to be released today I thought it would be great to post the interview on the same day! I am so excited to introduce this prolific writer and fellow Michigander to you. I am eager to add Badlands to my ever expanding book collection.
First I’d like to say congratulation on the release of Badlands today. How are you feeling today?
This release has been kind of overwhelming, it’s getting so much more attention than any of my other stories that it’s kind of crazy. Plus, I found out that the audiobook also released today. My first audio! So it’s all been crazy and exciting. I just hope people like it 🙂
1. When did you first begin writing?
The muse first bit me in elementary school where we became fast friends. Then as childhood friends often do, we drifted apart for several years. After my son was born in 2001, we reconnected, and I began writing toward publication in earnest in 2007.
2. Who are you inspirations?
Considering I write erotic stories, this is going to sound bad, but let me explain… my kids are my biggest inspiration. Not in that they inspire stories per se…that would be squicky, but they are both at an age where they embrace the worlds of their imagination and anything is possible. That is so freeing and wonderful. It’s something I strive to emulate in my working life.
3. Congratulations on the contract with Carina Press and Decadent Publishing. Can you tell us a little about your forthcoming titles?
I have several projects in the works but only one coming soon. My steampunk romance, Badlands, releases from Carina Press on February 28.
About Badlands: 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.
As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands—if death doesn’t find them first…
4. As a romance author what ingredients do you feel makes a good romance novel?
First and foremost a believable love story. It doesn’t have to be roses and rainbows (I prefer they aren’t, in fact). I just want them believable, and for me that means the romance can’t be the whole story. Stuff needs to happen that pushes the hero and heroine together in order for me to believe. Sparks can fly on first meeting, but then what? Why do they keep winding up together? That’s the glue that keeps a story real for me–I need something more than just “Oh, he’s hot and a great kisser/great in bed/whatever.” It’s one reason people sometimes argue the romance label on what I write…because there’s too much other stuff. To me though, trimming down the other stuff to focus on just the romance makes the story much less believable and its harder for me to root for anyone to actually fall in love. So that’s it for me, love story between great characters within a bigger story that drives them together. (Oh, kissing is a big plus too…and sex–though it’s not as big a requirement. However, if there’s going to be non-closed-door/non-fade-to-black sex, I want it hot.)
5. Does a romance novel always have to have a happily ever after like fairy tales or are alternative endings being more accepted now?
I hope they are more accepted now because far too many of mine aren’t fairy tale endings. LOL. I’m an author from the cross-over camp. I was an urban fantasy fan prior to becoming a paranormal romance fan. Because of that, I don’t expect a happily ever after. I certainly want someone happy at the end, or at least “happy enough”. What I mean by that is a lot of my stories have really bad things happening during them (war, murder, etc) and I want to leave my main character at a place of “Okay, I have a grip on all this.” That doesn’t necessarily mean the romance plotline is complete, just that it’s at a point where the heroine has found a level of contentment (mainly true in series). Even Badlands isn’t a typical HEA, but anything more than how it ended wouldn’t have been true to the characters, and that (to me) trumps everything else.
6. Some of your writing is very erotic. As a former teacher would you allow your students to read your work?
LOL thankfully all my students are adults now, so why not? I taught high school (the youngest group was Class of 2004), so I’m fairly certain several of them read books like mine even when I was teaching, but if I ran into any of them on the street today and they asked what I was doing, I’d tell them. No question about it. I will say finding out my second grade teacher knew about my work was another story entirely. One that involved mild panic attacks.
7. Who are your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
My absolute favorite is Kelley Armstrong, hands down. I’m also a fan of Richelle Mead, Jacqueline Carey, Mark Henry, and many others. My favorite new author is Allison Pang. Anyone who likes UF/PNR cross-over stuff (and snark, must love snark) should read her book. Right now I’m on a bit of a YA kick. I’m in the middle of reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver and loving it.
8. If you had one wish for your writing career what would it be?
To have my readership grow with me. That would ultimately mean a lot of things, but before I was a writer I was a reader (still am). And I would love a really loyal fan base who encouraged their friends to try my stuff like I do for authors whose work I adore.
9. What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Keep reading and keep writing. Be willing to experiment and try new things, even if it scares you. Grow a thick skin because hearing “no” stings, even if you don’t think it will. Embrace the revision process because if you want this as a career, you will have to revise (sometimes a lot). And with that in mind, find a good writing group, critique partner(s), and beta readers who aren’t afraid to kick your butt.
10. 2010 was a very good year for your writing career. What do you have planned for 2011?
I would really love to sign with an agent this year and get some of my work with a NYC publisher. Why aim low, right? Honestly, I have so many things in the works right now that my less ambitious goal is to have a minimum of four new contracts this year, with at least one a full-length.
11. A lot of the writing blogs are saying zombies are the next big thing? Do you think Vampires have run their course? How can one have a romance with a zombie? Flesh falling off during love making would be a real turn off as well as the smell? LOL
LOL I don’t think vampires have run their course (I hope not since I write vampires), but I do think people want other options and right now vamps are a major portion of the paranormal romance market. As for zombies…I have a tough time with them as love interests for the same reasons you mentioned. However, I can definitely see love blossoming in the midst of a zombie outbreak. The tension in a novel where your loved one is in danger of not just dying but dying and then turning on you? Super high. I can see that working fantastically.
12. Have you ever won any awards for your writing?
‘Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas won Book of the Week at Long and Short Reviews last month. But other than that, not since elementary school. Then again, I haven’t entered any of my pieces anywhere either. So…it could be my own damn fault, huh?
13. Where can someone purchase your books?
Of Course I Try and The Ghost of Vampire Present can be purchased at www.decadentpublishing.com, ‘Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas is in both print and ebook at www.evernightpublishing.com, and Badlands is at www.carinapress.com. In addition, all of them are available at Amazon, AllRomanceEbooks, Diesel-eBooks, and other online retailers.
14. How do you promote your books?
I am such a newbie at promotion. (Seriously, any advice from people in the know would be hugely appreciated.) I’m attending and signing at both the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and Authors After Dark this year. I am all over the internet and try to interact with readers as much as I can on both Facebook and Twitter . I also participate in a couple group blogs Paraposse and Herebemagic . And lastly I participate in #FridayFlash on Twitter where I post a piece of flash fiction on my blog most weeks as free reads. In addition to all that, I jump into other opportunities as I find them, but like I said, promo is not my forte…at all.
15. What are you working on now?
I am (still) working on the first full-length novel for my Blood Kissed (vampire) series. In addition, I have another (sweeter) paranormal romance about half-written, a sci-fi (light BDSM) romance started, the follow-up to Badlands plotted, and notes for more stories than I can count littering my desk.
I want to thank Lexi for having me here and thank all of you for reading.