Hello, lovely readers! I’m delighted to begin writing for Doc’s, and figured what better way to share my enthusiasm than by having a friend help me with my inaugural post! I can’t think of many, unless there were cake and maybe peacocks (they’re pretty; so sue me). Lucky for me (and you!) the fabulous Delilah S. Dawson agreed to let me ask her my burning questions. Her Steampunk paranormal romance (yes, you read that right), Wicked As They Come, debuted in March.
Delilah S. Dawson (DSD): Wicked is a Steampunk paranormal romance set in Sang, a Victorian-type world where half the people and most of the fuzzy animals are blood drinkers. Atlanta hospice nurse Tish Everett just wants to take care of her dying grandmother and get over a bad relationship, but the locket she finds at a patient’s estate sale magically transports her to a faraway forest where a rakish carnival ringmaster awaits. His name is Criminy Stain, he’s a blood drinker and magician, and he’s summoned her with a mysterious spell. Hijinks ensue, including a kraken, a ghost, vampire horses, prognostication, true love, and ever so much more. Also, some sexytimes.
DF: I can’t speak for everyone, but I love sexytimes with my Steampunk! And who is Delilah S. Dawson? (And where does she get her clothes!?)
DSD: You know, I’m starting to think the costume is the most important part! Most of my wardrobe comes from the magical Michelle of Damsel in this dress, who makes corsets that are amazingly beautiful, flattering, and very comfortable. Take it from the girl who wore one from 8am to 2am at FandomFest last Saturday while eating an entire slab of caramel cake and meeting Norman Reedus! Without fainting!
As for me, I’m a Georgia native, mother of two, unruly wife, media geek, goof, artist, writer, and Steampunk adventurer. I started writing novels in 2009 and feel like I finally found my place in the world. I’m also big into cake.
Oh, and a random fact: I have synesthesia, so all my senses are mixed up. Smell factors into my world-building so much that I partnered with one of my favorite perfumers to design artisan soaps and perfumes based on three of my characters. If you hug me, you’ll smell the Criminy perfume from the Wicked as They Come line by the amazing Brooke at Villainess Soaps. I recommend the sampler!
DF: I understand there are people who aren’t big into cake, but let’s pretend that’s not true. WICKED is described as part paranormal, part Steampunk for obvious reasons. How do you find the genres complement each other?
DSD: I love that the basis of both paranormal and Steampunk is WHAT IF? They’re both about an escape, an adventure that lifts the reader (and the writer!) out of the everyday world of mortgages, bed times, and cubicles. And I believe that with both paranormal and Steampunk, the worldbuilding has to be logical, well-thought, and integral to the story. You can’t just glue some cogs or fangs on it to make it more appealing. Plus… well… vampires and dudes in vests are way hot.
DF: So. You’re a Southern belle. How in tarnation did you find your way to Steampunk, and how do your roots affect your writing?
DSD: For someone who loves the South, I was always a peculiar critter. I was the first one in the family who preferred books and cemeteries to sports and malls and didn’t want to be normal. In high school, I wore vests, fedoras, pocket watches, suspenders, and wingtips, but I could never figure out how to make them flattering and feminine. I learned about Steampunk via the Internet shortly before writing Wicked [as They Come], and I was utterly smitten. Clockwork pets, carnival trains, and steam-powered conveyances were a perfect fit for a world where half the people and all the animals hunger for blood.
As much as I love the magic and Steampunk side, I think you can also see my Southern roots in [the novel]. The cadence of Nana’s voice, the little colloquialisms, the smell of a magnolia tree, or the fact that Tish (and I) are unable to replicate Grandmama’s chocolate pie– I think they all add a touch of home to a book about another world. I love the South, and I wouldn’t know how to write about other real-life locations with the same attention to detail and affection.
And Steampunk has a way of seeping into your everyday life, too. The Steampunk scene is so inclusive, kind, and enthusiastic, full of intelligent people who share a love of creativity, invention, beauty, and fun accessories. I was surprised to find that if I run into the grocery store in costume, people are fascinated, kind, and charmed. If you’re in the South and want to hang out with some Steampunks, find me on Twitter or Facebook, and I’ll set y’all right
DF: What can we expect from the rest of the Blud series?
DSD: You can expect more of the same… but different! Each book or e-novella in the series follows a new romance in Sang, although the characters are always connected. My first e-novella, The Mysterious Madam Morpho, is out this October and takes place completely in Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan. Book 2, Wicked as She Wants, will be out in spring 2014 and picks up Casper’s story after Letitia’s predictions for him come true. Some people loved Casper after Wicked as They Come, and some people hated him, but I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the man he becomes when he meets Ahnastasia. There will be three e-novellas and three books, and they’re all in the works! I’ve been asked to make sure Criminy makes several cameos, so if you love him as much as I do, never fear.
DF: You’ve kind of burst onto the Steampunk scene with lots of local appearances this year. What have you learned about Steampunk and its community?
DSD: I’ve learned that it’s hard to find a friendlier, more welcoming bunch of folks than Steampunks. My first local con was AnachroCon, and it blew my mind. People want to meet you, know your story, find out how you made your hat. And they’re happy to tell you how to make things or where to find things, too. I’m a member of the Artifice Club in Atlanta, and they do a lot of charity work, in addition to finding outlets to showcase the members’ businesses and artwork. Volunteerism is huge, and most people are into Steampunk because they love it, not because they think they’re going to make a ton of money. If you’re scared of buying your costume or attending your first con, or if you’re shy like me, Steampunks are going to welcome you with open, well-gloved arms.
DF: I’ve seen your Facebook photos. I’m not sure I buy “shy!” What’s the one thing you wish an interviewer would ask you? What are you just dying to tell everyone?
DSD: I love that you asked me about costumes right off the bat, because so many girls stop me and say, “I wish I could dress like that!” And my immediate answer is, “HONEY, YOU CAN AND SHOULD!” I never feel prettier and more confident than when I’m in one of my Steampunk costumes. And it isn’t all about being sexy, either, as I don’t have a perfect body and don’t like showing a lot of skin. I don’t even have cleavage. I seriously had my first costume for several months before I got up the guts to wear it out of the house, and I’m so glad I did. You only get to live once, and you should feel beautiful and fantastic doing it. If anyone ever wants some links or advice on costuming, please find me on Twitter or Facebook or search my blog for “Steampunk” or “costume”. I will bombard you with links.
DF: Thanks so much for chatting with me, Delilah! And there you have it, lovelies. Delilah S. Dawson, helping me debut here at Doc’s!