Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Interview with Delancey Stewart and a contest!

Please start by telling us a little about yourself (education, jobs, significant other, children, pets, etc.) 

I’m a military spouse and the mother of two little boys, and we live outside Washington DC. I work part time as a tech writer. I’m originally from central California, and lived in Los Angeles, San Diego and New York City before meeting my husband. He then took me on an all-expenses paid tour of some of the country’s smallest towns. I decided to have children to keep myself from dying of boredom. I’m kind of a city girl at heart.
Tell us about your latest New Adult book and what inspired you to write it.

The Girlfriends of Gotham series is set in the late 1990s, at the beginning of the Internet era. Not at all coincidentally, this was the same time that I lived in NYC, worked in the Internet industry and had a fantastic group of girlfriends. The books aren’t autobiographical, but they’re based on the city as I knew it at that time.

The New Adult genre is fairly new. What's your definition of it? How does it differ from Young Adult or just regular Adult books?

I’m glad you asked – this is one of my favorite topics. I’m an ambassador for New Adult Alley (www.naalley.com) and think it’s really important that NA gets represented accurately, because I think it’s gotten a bit of a tarnished image right out of the gate. NA is a category – just like YA. If a book is categorized as NA, all that tells us is that the main characters will be between 18 and 26 years of age (with some exceptions). The subject matter—like YA—can be anything, and not all NA books contain sex or are romances. NA books run the gamut from fantasy to romance, thrillers to mysteries to literary fiction and everything in between. The Girlfriends of Gotham books, for instance, would probably be best categorized as upmarket chick lit, and there are no graphic sex scenes. But they fall into the NA category because of the ages of the main characters and the situations that they deal with (first jobs, first loves, first apartments, etc.)

Do you belong to any critique groups and/or do you have other people read your work as you're writing it? Who's brutally honest and who's a cheerleader? Which do you prefer?

I have a great group of author friends and we all read for each other when time permits. I also have beta readers. I think you have to know the personalities of your readers to know what type of feedback you are likely to get, and asking specific questions is also helpful. At heart, no one wants to hurt your feelings, so you have to be clear that you’re looking for constructive feedback. I’m sensitive, like anyone else, but I’d always rather hear about potential improvements from my early readers than from reviewers once it’s too late!

What are your all-time favorite authors/books?

Lately I’m a big fan of Liane Moriarty, and I still haven’t gotten over my love for E. Lockhart’s WE WERE LIARS. I just read Sara Gruen’s AT THE WATER’S EDGE, which I really enjoyed, too. I do have favorite books, but I often love whatever I’m reading currently! I guess to name a few Delancey Stewart classics: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE THORNBIRDS, THE HUNGER GAMES, SARAH’S KEY (which I simultaneously loved and hated – no book has made me ugly cry like that one…), PILLARS OF THE EARTH, A WRINKLE IN TIME… I could really go on, but I’ll stop there.

Do you outline before you write or just dive head-first into a manuscript? Do you maintain a schedule for writing, or is it more haphazard?

I use beat sheets and an outlining spreadsheet. Sometimes I do more plotting than others, but I find that the more I’ve planned, the easier it is for me to write. If I plan well, I write really fast. Otherwise, I find that I just have to go backwards and do all the hard work that I was trying to avoid anyway.

Where do you do your best writing? (Ex: desk in your office, public library, under a tree in the park, in front of a Real Housewives TV marathon, etc.) Do you like music or some other background noise, or do you need quiet?

My desk in my office is really my favorite spot. I have a huge writing desk, and since we just moved into a new house, I got to pick my office and decorate it. I painted it a dark turquoise and put birch trees on the walls… I love it.

What are the best and worst parts of writing a book?

The worst part is plotting – for me. The best part is when I go to bed and I know I’m going to get up really early to write and I know exactly what I’m going to be writing, and I’m at a part that I’m really exciting about writing.

When you're driving and you have a sudden, brilliant idea for the new manuscript you're working on, what do you do? (Ex: pull over and fire up the laptop, keep driving while scribbling on a McDonald's bag, tell Siri, etc.)

I have very few brilliant ideas while driving. There is too much arguing going on in the back seat! Mine come in the shower, usually! And then I just do my best to remember until I’m dry.

Imagine you have a whole day free for shopping. Where do you go? (Mall, unique boutiques, flea market, antique shops, bookstore, home improvement store, etc.)

If we had a bookstore in this tiny town, I’d totally go there. But alas, we do not. So I’d probably drive to where there is one! But I’m also quite happy at Target, where they might as well just take all the money from my purse as I walk in.

What are the top 5 titles in your Netflix queue? (Be honest.) Or if you don't have a Netflix queue, which books are on your bedside table? (Again, be honest.)

Hmm… I think I have a season of Mad Men at the top of my iTunes list that I paid for and then only watched one episode of. Don Draper got all dark and angsty and I couldn’t watch it anymore. Next in line are Game of Thrones (last season), Modern Family, The Originals, and Dexter.

Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?

Ebooks unless I’m laying in the sun (which hardly ever happens, but I just returned from a vacation where I realized that reading on the iPad is not ideal in the sun).

Where is your favorite place in the world?

New York City.

Do you have any advice for people who want to write a book?

Read as much as you possibly can, both fiction and books about writing. Don’t believe in writer’s block—it doesn’t exist. And formulate a plan for getting your work done. Set goals and meet them. If you don’t meet them, set new goals. Writing a book is a very doable thing. I know this because I’ve done it! A surprising number of times!

Twitter: @DelanceyStewart

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