Coffee Time Readers today we get to visit with Delphine Dryden, author of the Truth & Lies series. Our focus for the discussion today is the second book in the series, Naked Truth as well as a non-series related release due later this year.
Good Afternoon Delphine, Welcome to Coffee Time Romance and More. How are you this afternoon?
After visiting your website I found it very interesting that you were once a lawyer / special educator / reading specialist/educational diagnostician and now stay home to write “spicy romances.” Do you use these experiences in your writing?
I do. Especially the educational psychology background. I was fascinated with human psychology even before studying it formally, so that's always a factor in my writing.
There is a lot of pressure and competition in becoming an author. What made you decide to leave everything else behind and become a romance writer?
I mostly left everything else behind so I'd have time to focus on the marketing and promotion stuff that goes with being an author. It's great to have extra daylight hours for writing, too, but I could have probably gone on for years just writing in my spare time if I hadn't also needed to consider promotion, social media, conferences, and all that stuff.
My experience in finding a publisher was pretty smooth, so I don't necessarily see becoming an author as a competition. I think it was more a question of reaching a certain threshold of readability and professional delivery, to make sure I didn't end up in the automatic rejection part of the slush pile!
Thank you for taking the time to answer some question about your release, Naked Truth. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little about the novel as well as the Truth & Lies Series?
Naked Truth is a fun, light Quickie that focuses on two secondary characters in the Truth & Lies series. I wrote it very quickly after Art of the Lie, because these two folks still just had a story that needed to be told! It's pretty much a vanilla relationship, but for the most part the series deals with a set of characters who are all willing to go outside those vanilla boundaries. So we've had How to Tell a Lie, with a lot of cybering fun, and Art of the Lie with some spanking and even a little light bondage. The next book, working title Tangled Truth, will involve shibari-style rope bondage. The very last book in the series will be a bit more complicated, but a short description would be "D/s".
You also mention on your site that you hate social networking sites. Do you find them a necessary evil or do you shun them all together?
I sort of hate Facebook, but I love Twitter! I'm trying to come to an understanding with Facebook, because I think it is a necessary evil. Or at least I think it's a cost-benefit analysis and the benefits of having a FB page outweight the costs for me.
Ohh, tell us about your experiences with RomantiCon? I know this was your first and it always fun to see an event from anothers point of view. I have seen some of the pictures and it looks like it was a wild time.
RomantiCon was an absolute blast! It was my first writing conference, and although obviously the parties were phenomenal good times, what I really loved was being able to sit around chatting with my fellow authors - not having to watch what I said about my subject matter, and not having people's eyes glaze over when I talked about writing craft!
One of the best things that happened was finding out that I, along with two fellow attendees, had just sold a story for an anthology coming out from Berkley Heat next year. It was all of our first New York publisher sale, and finding out while at RomantiCon was just the icing on the cake because everybody was so supportive and really "got" why it was so cool! The other two, by the way, are Shoshanna Evers and Christine dAbo (my RomantiCon roomie, with whom I am also writing a book featuring zombies, steampunk, science fiction and erotica!)
Every author has some way they are most comfortable when writing; do you have a method by which your write? Surrounded by music, dim lighting, snuggled on the couch, time of day, etc.
Oh, I can write just about anywhere. But my favorite is just at my little writing nook my hubby built for me in the corner of the breakfast room. Right by a window, tucked into a corner, with a view of the living room and a super-comfy chair and footstool. Oh, and also a cup of hot tea or coffee to keep me going.
I think that a good book should move me in some way. What do you look for in a good novel? Which genre are you personally drawn to?
I'll read just about any genre, but for me it's really all about character. I love an author who is smart about the writing craft, and also good storytelling - but in the end it all comes down to being able to "see" the characters and get interested in what they will do next.
I know that you have a release in December. Please tell us a little about the Ellora’s Cave “Merry Kinkmas” series, please include your story how it fits the theme. I am curious as to whether it is difficult to write a story using a set theme such as this collection?
Zzzzap! My Kinkmas tale features violet wands, a kind of electrical stimulation toy. I've read a few other stories that will be in the Kinkmas series, so I know some of the other kinks will be m/m fisting, bruising, figging...just a variety of naughty delights, really. This was actually a very fun and easy story to write for me, once I latched onto the idea of using a violet wand and revisiting a couple I'd written about before, Jack and Katie from my novel When in Rio!
At first I was trying to write a story about play piercing. That was hard. And it just didn't say "Festive Holiday Fun" to me.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there who are looking to break into the romance genre and battle with all the competition?
I think when you're first writing, you need to do two things. You need to write - a lot. And you need to read - a lot, in the genre you are writing. Find writing groups and critique partners who will do more than say "I love it!". Learn about the writing craft, do writing challenges, stretch and try new things and at the same time learn what you're really best at. Many fantastic writers have difficulty with spelling and grammar, so if those are weak areas of yours make sure you develop coping strategies or get help in the editing phase. Your work needs to be readable or nobody will ever see your genius. Also, if you're stuck at the jump from stories to longer works, try National Novel Writing Month (I still do NaNoWriMo every November!).
When it's time to sell your completed, critiqued, edited novel, do your homework. Know who publishes what, so you know where to submit your work with the best chance of matching what they're looking for (reading a lot of work published by that house is a great way to know what they tend to buy). Learn the submission guidelines and check, double-check, triple-check that your submission adheres to them before you send it. Research what to do, and what not to do, in query letters so you can draft a strong, professional query letter.
Writing is an art, and some people are genuinely more talented at it than others. But it is also a craft, and a business. No matter how fantastic your story or novel may be, you have to develop the craftsmanship and business skills too if you want to get your writing in front of an audience and get paid for it!
Is there a particular question you are most often asked regarding your writing? If so can you please share the question as well as your typical response to us nosy ones?
When am I going to write a "regular" book (one I can publish under my own name without embarrassing the children)? To which I usually respond, "Maybe never! It's a lot of fun to write smut!" Okay, when it's my mom asking me this for the zillionth time, I usually just roll my eyes at her now.
Do you have anything to add or say to our readers?
I think y'all are awesome. I am thrilled every day to know that people are reading and enjoying something I wrote. It's just so flattering and hugely gratifying. You rock, readers!
Delphine, thank you for spending time with us today and giving some wonderfully insightful responses and sharing your experiences with our readers. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
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