My spotlight author for this week is Dana Delamar. Dana and I belong to the Greater Seattle Romance Writers’ Association. We also did a book signing together at a local bookstore. Thank you, Dana, for being my guest.
You write romantic suspense and have a series out. Tell us more. Sounds dangerous!
Considering that I write Mafia romance, being a character in one of my books is indeed dangerous! The series I’m working on is called “Blood and Honor,” and it’s set in Italy among the Calabrian Mafia. The books are about two warring Mafia families, the Lucchesis and the Andrettis. The prequel, Malavita, is set in the mid-1980s and deals with the origins of the feud between the families. Starting with Book 1, Revenge, we move to the present day to see how the seeds sown in the prequel have come to fruition. And let me tell you, it ain’t pretty!
But it’s not all guns and bloodshed either. There’s plenty of hot and heavy romance too. My Mafiosos are as passionate and red-blooded as you’d expect sexy Italian men to be. And when they fall in love? Let’s just say you’ll be fanning yourself! (The prequel is more PG-13 because the protagonists are younger, but the later books are definitely R-rated!)
Was there an event or a person that sparked your interest in writing your first novel?
My very first completed novel was a contemporary romance set in Italy. An American woman travels there and falls in love with an Italian man who has many dark secrets. Since it was my first book, it wasn’t all that good, so I stuck it in a drawer and decided to start from scratch (after taking a number of classes to hone my craft and learn how to plot, among other things!). I’d fallen in love with Italy during two trips I took there, so I decided to keep the setting and a few elements from that original book, but I started over with this question: “What if the hero isn’t such a good guy?”
That question led me to the Mafia, and once I started researching, the ideas came fast and furious. That book later became Revenge. (And yes, I added a prequel to the series later, after many readers asked for more details about what led to the present-day feud.)
Awesome! What do you love about being an Indie author?
Being captain of my own ship. I get to pick my covers, decide on my cover copy, choose my editor, choose my release dates and schedule, choose how to market my book, and so on. I also love all the direct contact with my readers. They know how to reach me, and it’s so much fun talking to all these people from around the world.
Being captain of my own ship! There are a lot of decisions to make and many demands on my time. Sometimes I think, “Oh, if only I could just write!” But in reality, no writer gets to “just write.” All of us end up making many decisions that affect our careers and (at the least) end up participating in promotional efforts, working on marketing plans, and so on. I do long for the day when I’m successful enough to afford an assistant, however!
What advice would you give to those who want to invest time and money into Indie publishing their books?
Do your research. There are several awesome Yahoo groups devoted to indie publishing packed with super-helpful indie writers who can help you sort through the options and avoid the pitfalls. You can waste a LOT of money if you don’t know what you’re doing. The groups I’d recommend are: IndieRomanceInk, SelfPublish (aka Self Publishing Info Swap), and IndieAuthorsForum (Independent Authors Forum).
Aside from groups where you can ask questions, the book “The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing” (http://amzn.com/B00DHPQGN0)is a great resource for getting started.
Be prepared to spend $2500-$3000 minimum for a good editor, cover artist, and formatter. (You may have to spend up to $5000, depending on your needs.) Please, please, please, do not embark on this journey if you can’t afford to hire a good editor and a professional cover artist.
You have only one chance to blow a reader away and make a fan for life, and that’s not going to happen if your book is littered with errors. You want the reader to forget they’re reading, and if they’re constantly stumbling over things, they’ll never experience that delightful sense of flow that turns a reader into a fan who’s addicted to your work. I’m a professional editor myself (www.ByYourSideSelfPub.com), and I have someone edit me.
Same thing goes for your cover. Unless you are a professional graphic artist, don’t even try it. The cover is your calling card; it grabs the reader. Your writing is what seals the deal. Save your pennies, and do it right.
Okay, I have a shared quirky question I ask of all my guests. I’m a big fan of the Walking Dead. If you were caught in an apocalypse and could only take one item and one person with you to a no zombie place, what and who would you take, and why?
I LOVE The Walking Dead!!!! Naturally, I’ll take Daryl Dixon with me. He’ll keep me safe, and I’ll keep him entertained. (With stories, naturally!) As for the item? I’m hoping I’ll have a solar-powered Kindle by then so I can take my library with me!
Where can readers find you on social media?
Feel free to friend me on FaceBook or Goodreads. I’m on both a lot! And I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict. (Okay, okay, yes, that’s wee fib. I spend WAY too many hours pinning cute animals, hot guys, and pics from Supernatural—I love my Winchester boys!)
Again, thank you for being my guest! Dana has provided an excerpt from her most recent release and a link to her Amazon page with all of her books. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the app on your phone. Prefer Nook? There’s a link for that too.
Link to my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Dana-Delamar/e/B006T9J836/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1403211208&sr=1-2-ent
Link to my B&N page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/dana-delamar
Her heart pounding, Bianca Lucchesi smiled at the man she’d come to see while doing her best to ignore the one she’d never wanted to see again. Antonio Legato. She’d arranged to meet her uncle at the bank instead of at his home because she’d hoped to avoid Antonio. And here he was anyway.
Dio mio, would her heart never slow down? One glimpse of him had been enough to bring everything back. Everything she’d tried so damn hard to suppress. To forget.
She widened her smile. “Zio Enrico,” she said as her uncle came around the desk and embraced her, kissing her on both cheeks. Marriage had agreed with her godfather. He was still lean, still handsome as sin, with that black hair and those chocolate eyes. He looked happy again—not stricken, the way he’d been at the funerals for her father and her brother Fedele.
“Prego,” he said, motioning to the chair beside Antonio. “I don’t believe you’ve met my capo di società, Antonio Legato.”
Would Antonio say something about their past? She stuck out her hand and tried to appear mildly interested. Anything but infuriated. Or hurt. “Don Legato,” she said.
Antonio rose and took her hand in his large one. Cristo, he’d grown. He was a man now—at least six feet, with the broad shoulders and slim hips of a male in his prime.
His blue eyes met hers, a shock of unruly blond hair falling just over them. A wave of heat rolled through her. How many nights had she dreamed of him? How many times had she relived those moments they’d spent together?
He flashed her a casual smile, as if he were completely unaffected by her, and pressed a kiss to her knuckles, the light brush of his lips reminding her of other places he’d kissed.
“Signorina Lucchesi. It’s a pleasure. I haven’t seen you since secondary school.”
“I wasn’t aware you knew each other,” Enrico said.
“We had a class together,” Antonio said. “Chemistry, I believe.”
Bianca wanted to kick him in the shin. Was he trying to flirt with her? Chemistry! Yes, they’d had it. But outside of class.
“You’re mistaken, signore. It was biology, not chemistry.”
“My error.” He was still grinning at her—the arrogant bastard. Did he think she still wanted him? Well, if he did, he was wrong.
Antonio released her hand, and they retook their seats. Bianca’s skin tingled where he had touched her, and she resisted the urge to press her hand to her mouth, to feel that tingling against her lips. Damn him. Antonio Legato was a hundred different kinds of infuriating.
And he knew it.