First and foremost, it is a pleasure to have you here.
So, can you tell us what makes Dana Delamar tick? What got you started on the path to becoming an author?
I’ve wanted to be a writer from a very young age. In my teens, I was constantly writing romances for my sisters and my friends. They were all about the rock stars we adored. I spent hours and hours dreaming up stories!
What are you currently working on? Would you care to share a snippet?
I’m currently working on RECKONING, the fifth book in the Blood and Honor Mafia romance series. It’s about a hit man who falls in love with the anti-Mafia judge presiding over his boss’s trial. Here’s a brief taste:
Ruggero grabbed hold of Loredana’s arms. “Is that how you see me? As a man? Or do you see me as a Mafioso?” He pulled her close, his eyes flicking back and forth across her face, before dipping down to stare at her lips.
Both of them were breathing hard. She placed her hands on his chest, his muscles twitching beneath her hands. Her heart was pounding, her stomach flipping. “I see you as a man,” she said, the words just barely above a whisper.
Before she could second-guess herself, she leaned in and pressed her lips to his. For just an instant, he kissed her back, then his hands clamped down on her biceps, and he broke the contact. “What the fuck are you doing?”
“I don’t know.”
Those wolf’s eyes drilled into hers. “You’d better know, Loredana. I’m not a man you can play with.”
Do you include some of your own personal experiences in your books or do you prefer to use your imagination?
It’s a mix of both. I frequently write about places I’ve been, occasionally about things that have happened to me. But since I’m not in the Mob, a lot of it is drawn one-hundred percent from my imagination!
What genre do you typically write in and why did you choose this over others?
My first book was a hot contemporary romance (still unpublished). I switched to romantic suspense while I was playing the “what if” game trying to brainstorm my next book. I asked myself, “What if my hero isn’t such a good guy?” And that’s how the Blood and Honor series was born.
I also really enjoy erotic romance and hot contemporary romance, so I think my next series may be in one of those genres. And I’m not ruling out paranormal either--I just need the right idea!
Do you have a specific process or a ritual you go through when sitting down to write?
Not really, though I have found that I write more easily if I’m doing it longhand in a notebook. I also like to have a cup of tea or chai with me.
Where do you find your inspiration for your plots? Do you have any tricks of the trade you would care to share?
For the Blood and Honor books, I try to put myself in my characters’ shoes. What moves would I make if I were a Mafia don? How would I feel if I found out that the man I loved was a criminal--and he’d been hiding it from me?
I also do a ton of research, reading about what real-life Mafiosos have done. I’ve picked up little tidbits here and there that have morphed into whole plots. Occasionally, things I’ve dreamed up that I thought were perhaps far-fetched (such as the Mob taking over banks) have turned out to be true. Sometimes I think I missed my calling! ;)
What is the oddest place/situation where an idea for a book/plot has come to you?
I get tons of ideas in the shower or while driving. I actually bought this notepad (Aqua Notes – you can get it on Amazon) so that I could make notes in the shower. It’s been worth every penny!
What makes a book stand out and perk your interest?
The premise. I love books with seemingly impossible conflicts to resolve.
We all have our favorite authors. Can you share some of yours and tell us why you like them?
J.R. Ward, Darynda Jones, Larissa Ione, Pamela Clare, Kristine Cayne (my awesome critique partner!). They all write books with bad-ass heroes, fast-moving plots, and sexual chemistry that’s off the charts!
We all have a pet peeve, care to share yours?
Mine is books with a great premise but that haven’t been edited. I can deal with some typos, but when words are constantly misused and sentences are so garbled that I have to read them again and again to try to make sense of them, it just becomes work to read. I hate slogging through a book. I want to get lost in the story. If I’m hitting errors in every sentence or every paragraph, I never forget that I’m reading. It bums me out!
When you’re not writing, what are the things you enjoy doing to relax?
Reading, reading, reading! And watching great TV. There are so many awesome shows on these days. One of my all-time faves is “Supernatural.” I’m a total Dean girl!
Quickly, tell us about your upcoming releases?
I’m currently working on RECKONING, the fifth book in the Blood and Honor Mafia romance series. It’s about a hit man who falls for the anti-Mafia judge presiding over his boss’s trial. Here’s the description:
RECKONING: A brutal man of honor. A fervent anti-Mafia judge. A far-ranging conspiracy…
Ruggero Vela has long protected the don of the Lucchesi family. When his boss is framed, Ruggero is desperate to exonerate him. So desperate, he risks his life to protect the zealous anti-Mafia judge presiding over the case. She’s incorruptible--and the only person they can trust to conduct a fair trial. Although Ruggero has always survived by keeping a cool head, he’s blindsided by an irresistible attraction to the beautiful judge--an attraction that grows by the minute.
Loredana Montisi is renowned for her courageous struggle to prosecute Mafia thugs. But she doesn’t know she’s the pawn of much darker forces with a truly frightening agenda. When she unwittingly deviates from their plan and gets too close to the truth, they try to kill her. Information Loredana learns from her unlikely protector forces her to question everything she knows. Can she let go of her deep-seated beliefs and place her trust in a Mafioso?
Do you have any specific inspiring incident that turned you out as an author?
I got a degree in writing in college, and unfortunately, while I learned a lot, I took away the attitude that the only writing worth doing was literary writing, not commercial fiction, much less romance! I convinced myself I didn’t have the literary chops to write the Great American Novel, so my writing dreams remained just that--dreams. Even though I read and loved a lot of commercial fiction, I wasn’t sure writing it was a worthy pursuit, and even though I started a number of novels, I never finished any of them.
Then I went on a wonderful trip to Italy, and something that happened to me there lit a spark in me. As I was telling a work colleague about my experience, he remarked “That sounds just like a romance novel,” and that was it--I thought “Why not write about it?” I started working on my first romance novel within days of that discussion, and even though I’ve never published that one, I loved writing it so much that I knew I’d found my calling.
Who designed your cover art? How did you choose the image?
My cover art was designed by the awesome Scarlett Rugers. The original covers we did together emphasized the dangerous aspects of the stories (the focus was on guns!), but the romance was getting lost, and while I loved the original covers, I realized that I was missing the mark with a bunch of my readers. So we replaced the central image with a more romantic one. This one caught my eye because the tenderness in this picture was just perfect for Enrico Lucchesi, the hero of REVENGE. He’s a Mafia don, yes, but he’s also a man with a huge, loving heart. He’s lost a great deal in his life, so when he finds the right woman for him, he’s determined to cherish her, and this picture felt spot-on for that reason.
Do you outline your work before you write?
I didn’t used to, but after getting halfway through two books and then ending up having to rewrite most of them because the plots weren’t working, now I do. I don’t write anything too elaborate, but I at least need to know a few lines about the scenes in each chapter. However, writing the outlines feels like the worst homework *ever.* I just want to write!
How do you like spending your leisure hours?
READING! I always have at least two (and often three) books going at once. I also have a great many TV shows that I love. Right now, “Supernatural,” “Hell on Wheels,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Mad Men” are my favorites.
Which genre is far more appealing to you as a reader?
I’m really an omnivore when it comes to reading, though my favorite books always have a romantic story line in them somewhere. I read anything from Booker Prize winners to the latest bestsellers. I also love books with exotic settings. I love traveling, and reading is one way to satisfy that bug when I can’t go in person.
What inspires you to write? Is there any level of similarity with the events or characters in your book and real life?
I love putting two people together who have some kind of major difference between them--some seemingly insurmountable difficulty that should keep them apart. The fun part is figuring out how they bridge that gap.
Since the characters in this current series are in the Mafia, there’s very little overlap between them and my real life. However, to get the emotions right, I’m always drawing from things that have happened to me. I also like to write about locations I’ve actually been to so that I can make the settings as real as possible.
Which is your current read?
I’ve just started “Memoirs of a Gigolo: Volume Nine” by Livia Ellis. She’s a phenomenal writer, and I am so in love with this story and these characters!
What, in your opinion is the toughest part while carving your book?
Plotting, hands-down. Because the Blood and Honor series is about the Mafia, the plots tend to be complex, with lots of stuff going on, and you never know what’s going to happen next (the characters surprise me all the time). That means plotting them can be a bear. And five books in, I need to keep switching up the story lines so that they’re not the same.
Share a word of advice with our readers and authors, if any?
Always bring your A game to whatever you do. For writers, that means getting lots of eyes on your work (including a professional editor) and getting professional covers and formatting.
Share one of your favorites from your music band collection, if any?
My favorite song right now is the Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” That song just oozes sex!
If you’re a foodie, tell us about your favorite dish?
Wow--it’s hard to choose one thing. In Italian food, it’s trofie (twisted handmade pasta) or risotto di mare. In Spanish food, it’s paella. In Thai, it’s red curry or panang curry.
Thank you so much for joining me here today. Good luck on all your future books.
Thanks for having me! It was a pleasure. :)
Tell us a little more about yourself?
I’m in my late forties and happily married. We met late in life, so no kids, though he has some from his first marriage and they also have kids, so I’m a proud grandma! Prior to becoming a full-time writer, I worked in the software industry for almost nineteen years as a technical editor and writer. Around the time I hit forty, I lost a couple people close to me, and I realized that if I was ever going to make my dream of becoming a novelist come true, I’d better get serious about my fiction writing before it was too late. I wrote my first romance novel (still unpublished) mostly between 1-3 AM on weeknights while I was still working full-time, and I was having a ball. I knew that this was the thing I *had* to pursue, no matter what.
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Dana Delamar is the author of the "Blood and Honor" romantic suspense series, which is set in Italy among the Calabrian Mafia. An avid traveler who loves to learn about different peoples and cultures, Dana often sets her books in exotic locales. She grew up in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, and today makes Seattle her home. She's an omnivorous reader with overflowing bookshelves and a passionate love of "Supernatural," "Firefly," "True Blood," "Mad Men," and a zillion other TV shows. Where she finds the time to sleep is a mystery.
When she's not writing, Dana is zipping off to visit new locales, dreaming about her next trip to Italy, or narrowly avoiding car accidents while she conjures up exploits for her characters. You can visit her at http://www.danadelamar.com.