Good Morning! Welcome back to SIS (Sunday Interview Series)! I’m pleased to introduce you to a new author: Dellani Oakes. She has been writing for most of her life, and has numerous books out and even more still to come; for those avid fans. I know I will be checking out her books, as the genre she writes is among my favorites. If you would like to learn more about her and or follow her on social media then you’re in luck. She can be found on Amazon, Facebook, Blogspot, Smashwords, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Goodreads, Google+, B and N, LinkedIn, and her Author website.
Below is some more information that Dellani wanted me to share with all of you!
Dellani Oakes has been telling tales since she learned how to talk. She progressed from this to writing (horrible) poems and song parodies when she was a child. In junior high and high school, she went on to write short stories and humorous essays. In college, her interest turned to plays, though she also wrote more short stories. Her first attempt at a novel came in 1989 when she quit teaching and got bored. It’s not finished yet, and may never be, but she holds out the hope that the characters will one day share their story with her. Her first completed and published novel was her historical romance, Indian Summer. She has since put out eleven more books, romantic suspense and sci-fi.
Dellani currently lives on the east coast of Florida with her handsome husband and two of her four children, her son’s girlfriend, and their dog. She volunteers weekly at the local Council on Aging, where she leads a small writing group. She also hosts two shows a month on Blog Talk Radio: Dellani’s Tea
Are you an indie author or a traditionally published author?
I am both. I have books out with Tirgearr Publishing, as well as several more on my own.
Tell me a little about your writing journey, thus far.
My journey has been long and sometimes frustrating. I have written, what I believe to be, good books. The people who read them, love them. The frustration comes from having written and published books, which no one is buying. I was unlucky enough to get involved with a publisher, who stole from his authors. He seemed very nice, and legit—at first. I was getting decent royalties every quarter. Suddenly, the money stopped. I couldn’t figure out why. Little did I know that he was lining his own pockets with our cash. I wasn’t the only one; he did it to everyone. After a lengthy amount of time, I got the titles and rights back, but it was an infuriating experience. I couldn’t prove anything, so he got away with it.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If so explain why.
Yes, Dellani Oakes is a pseudonym. I started trying to publish my work about ten years ago, and my husband worked for the Department of Corrections. My real name is very distinctive, so I still don’t use it publically.
What genre do you write and why?
I write mostly romantic suspense, though I branch out into historical romance, contemporary romance, sci-fi, and fantasy. I didn’t choose this genre; it chose me. I didn’t read romance, when I was younger, I read mystery and humorous crime novels. My first published novel was historical romance. Also a genre I didn’t read much.
What are you currently working on?
I always have a lot of irons in the fire. I have 60 unfinished novels, which I am trying to finish. I also have well over 100 which are in various stages of editing. I’ve been nipping away at the unfinished ones, but I’m not making much progress at the moment. I also need to finish editing the fourth novel in my sci-fi series. It’s proving to be a bit of a bear.
What inspired you to write your books?
I’ve always liked to write and tell stories. Shortly after my youngest child started kindergarten, I was cleaning out a drawer. I found some loose pages of a story I’d started writing when his older brother was in fourth grade. (He is 11 years older.) I’d started this novel, but it wasn’t going well, so I’d shoved the pages into the drawer, and left them. I read through them, finding most of it to be crap. Deciding it had potential, I trashed most of it, kept about five pages, and started writing. Thus, Indian Summer was born. I haven’t stopped writing since.
What are your top 5 favorite books?
Wow, just 5? It would be easier to list what books had an impact on me. First would be Star Man’s Son by Andre Norton. It opened the door to fantasy/ sci-fi for me. The Hobbit was another that made my imagination dance. A Wrinkle in Time took my dancing imagination and put it into a tight spin. I love that book! My first experience with romantic suspense was Rebecca by Daphne Du Mauier. I attribute my love of the genre, to her. At one time, I wanted to be either Kurt Vonnegut Jr. or Ray Bradbury. I’m not sure which book of Vonnegut’s influenced me the most, but Dandelion Wine by Bradbury stands out as a major love.
What does literary success look like to you?
I’d love to make money from my books, but I’m realistic (perhaps fatalistic?) I know that the blockbusters are rare. I’d love to have a stranger approach me and say, “Are you, Dellani Oakes? I love your books!”
How many hours a day do you write? What is your writing routine?
I don’t have a routine for writing, and I don’t spend as much time at it as I’d like. I help promote other authors, both online, and via my Blog, Talk Radio shows: Dellani’s Tea Time and What’s Write for Me. I squeeze my writing in when I can, but it’s not always easy. I’m not very good at time management or balancing responsibilities. I try to get my promotions done and reward myself with writing. That doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes, I’m so tired after all that; I don’t feel like writing.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it be and why?
I love the books by Douglas Adams. They make me laugh, think deep thoughts, and awake my imagination. I’d love to have one of my catch phrases catch on, and everyone would know what was referred to when they said “42.”
What advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?
One of the best pieces of information I ever got, was from a guest on my radio show. His name is Ken Farmer, and he’s an actor, author, director, producer and real-life cowboy. His advice was “Just write the damn story.” In other words, don’t worry about your voice, or point of view. Set self-editing aside, outline only if you need to, but get the words down. Finish the story, because all your mistakes can be fixed in editing. I think it’s some of the best advice I ever heard, so I share it often
Also, To thine ownself be true. Don’t try to imitate anyone else. Finding your voice as an author is trial and error. Keep writing, exploring, growing. Don’t expect to know everything right out of the gate. And for goodness sake, if you aren’t good at grammar, hire someone who is! It can be costly, but it’s worth every penny to have your book the best it can be.