THE FANTASTIC BLOG HOP TOUR – Dellani Oakes
Our FANTASTIC BLOG HOP tour is stopping by the eastern coast of Florida today with author Dellani Oakes!!
She will share with us some insights into her world of writing, her interests, and a little about her inspirations!
Meet Dellani Oakes —
Dellani Oakes doesn’t claim to be an expert on anything, but she has a lot of experience making something out of nothing. Thrown into the world of publishing four years ago, she found that trying to promote her work was the hardest part of being an author. Since then, she’s branched out, lost her inhibitions and faced the publishing world head on.
Dellani once told her publisher that she had enough books, finished & unfinished, to keep him busy for the next 10 years. He didn’t believe her, but he should have. Two novels, Indian Summer and Lone Wolf are published by Second Wind Publishing, but she has 42 finished romance novels and at least that many (she won’t count them) that are still in the works.
One of the 42, a romantic suspense, The Ninja Tattoo, came out September 24th from Tirgearr Publishing. The sequel to Lone Wolf, Shakazhan, is coming soon from Second Wind.
Dellani Oakes is a former A.P. English teacher, photo-journalist. She’s an avid reader & reviews the work of others. She hosts two shows for the Red River Radio Network – Dellani’s Tea Time the second Monday of each month, @ 4:00 PM Eastern and What’s Write for Me, every fourth Wednesday @ 3:00 PM Eastern on Blog Talk Radio.
And, now let’s ask Dellani a few specific questions:
Where are you from?
I’m from all over the place, but most recently from Florida.
What sparked your interest in writing?
I’ve always told stories. I think I was born with it. I started writing things down as soon as I learned how.
What components, in your opinion, makes a great story?
There has to be good conflict to make a good story. I like something the two main characters fight together. I don’t like story lines where the main conflict is between the hero & heroine. I like the conflict to bring them together, not drive them apart. Good dialogue is another must. It has to move the story forward and tell us about the characters.
How would you generally categorize the books/stories you write?
Do you set your books/stories in your home town, or do you prefer more exotic locations?
I live in an exotic location – at least it is to some folks. I set many of my books here, including my historical novel. My sci-fi books are all in space on distant planets, but many of my contemporary novels are set in Florida. The Ninja Tattoo is set in my town.
How much of your writing is based on people or events familiar to you?
What inspired you to write The Ninja Tattoo?
I had just dropped off my son at a friend’s house one morning and was on my way home down Riverside Drive. I got into this weird kind of convoy with a truck a Jeep and 3 bikers. The behavior of the bikers was odd. In fact it kind of creeped me out because it seemed as if they were following the rest of us. I was totally paranoid when I got to my street and planned to stop at the house of a police officer who lived in the first block, if the biker followed me. For some reason he didn’t, but I was terrified to go home & made the block before going to my house. The incident haunted me, so I used it to write the novel.
How did you come up with the title?
The title was easy. The bikers I saw were covered in tattoos and riding Ninjas. It seemed fitting.
What was the hardest part of the story to write?
It took some time to get the fight scene at the end where it moved along. I wanted to give it a feeling of impending danger. I hope I captured that.
What was the easiest part of the story to write?
The romantic scenes – some of which are very hot. I totally fell in love with Teague, so that part was easy.
Was there much research involved?
Since I set this in the present and used my home town as the setting, it didn’t need much researching. I did have to do some looking for suitable locations away from here. I also appreciate the advice of my buddy, Seth Anderson Bailey, who advised me on weapons. He continues to be my “go to” guy for weapon advice.
Is there a message in your story you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I’m sure if someone looked hard enough for a theme, they would find one. Teague would say “Don’t be a victim.” He and Vivica certainly refuse to go down quietly.
What do you feel is your biggest strength as a writer?
I think my strong suits are pacing and dialogue. As a former playwright, I learned to focus on the way that characters speak. Since each has a different personality and learning curve, they can’t all talk alike.
With pacing, it’s important to build the scenes quickly or slowly enough. Finding the right blend of suspense and action isn’t easy.
When your first started writing, did anything about the writing process surprise you?
No, not really. The Ninja Tattoo is not my first book. In fact, I’d already written at least 30 of them before I got it.
Do you celebrate when you finish a story, and if so, how?
I do, even if it’s in a little way. I keep my book files separated in two main files “Finished” and “Unfinished”. I also keep written notes in two notebooks with the same labels. When I finish a book, I have a little ceremony where I move the file from “Unfinished” to “Finished” in the notebooks as well as on the computer.
Do you have a set writing routine?
No. I have a lot of out of home commitments, so I have to grab writing time when I can.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Always! It helps me think and blocks out environmental noises. Sometimes, it gives me inspiration. Other times, it helps with pacing, particularly fight scenes.
What do you like least about writing?
I like the fact that I can put different people in unique circumstances outside their usual environment and see how they do. I also like to see people fall in love.
Give us a mini-tour of your writing space.
Until recently, my “office” was the end of the dining room. When my son moved out, I took over his bedroom. I’m still not used to it. I’m much more isolated here and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. My office is a mixture of my stuff with things my son left. I have some of his posters & his blacklight on my wall. I also have four guitars in the corner that I can’t even play. They look nice, so I guess that’s okay. My desk is usually cluttered with notes and scribblings all over it. The table near my desk is full of things that were on the desk and got moved, but need to be nearby. The rest of the office is bins and dressers used for storage.
Which authors do you feel have influenced your writing most?
Kurt Vonnegut, James Thurber, Richard Brautigan, Edward Albee, Ray Bradbury and scores of others too numerous to mention.
Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal home library.
Books by all of the above, books I’ve received and reviewed – again, so many I can’t even begin to name them.
If you could go back in time, what author would you most like to invite to share a chat and a bottle of wine?
I have to pick just one?
You’re marooned on a desert island. What’s the one book you’d want with you, and why?
Have any new authors caught your interest?
Yes, Karen Vaughan, Christina Giguere, Ruth Davis Hays and Crimson Kildare – among many other amazing authors.
What’s next for you? Can we look forward to a new story in the near future?
Yes. I recently signed two contracts with Tirgearr Publishing. They are deciding which of my two novels to publish first. Also, the second book in my sci-fi series is supposed to be coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.
Who supports your writing activities most?
My family. My husband is especially amazing. I couldn’t do what I do without his love and support. I hope one day to be able to repay his sacrifices.
What does your family think of your writing?
They think it’s pretty cool that I have books published. What they think of having a lunatic author for a mother – that I couldn’t say. I’m sure they’ve learned to live with it. They have all told me at one time or another “You’re not like any other moms I know.”
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Never under estimate the power of the perfect word. Edit until you can’t see straight, then edit some more. If you can, hire someone to edit for you. If you can’t, find another author you can exchange documents with and read one another’s work. Edit – Edit – Edit.
Name a few of your favorite non-writing activities.
What non-writing activities. Life is writing – writing is life.
Look for Dellani Oakes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Good Reads, among others.
Dellani Oakes WordPress site http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com
Writer’s Sanctuary http://writersanctuary.blogspot.com
Dellani’s Choice Book Reviews http://dellanischoice.wordpress.com
The Ninja Tattoo http://theninjatattoo.wordpress.com
Indian Summer http://indiansummerbydellanioakes.wordpress.com