April 1, 2013

Guest Post: Delilah S. Dawson

I love a good escape book.

Delilah S. Dawson writes amazing escape books. Set in a world full of blood-guzzling bunnies and all sorts of magic, they're their own brand of supernatural fantasies. I can't get enough of them.

To celebrate the release of her latest e-novella, The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance (April 1, 2013, Pocket Star), Delilah dropped by to talk about writing, mom-ing, and the embarrassment of kids whose mom's write steamy love scenes.

Her story of how she started writing is eerily similar to my own, which made this post all the more striking for me. I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I did...in fact, I know you will.


Writing, Motherhood, and other Scary Things
By Delilah S. Dawson

Here's the big secret: if I hadn't had my second child, I don't know if I would be a writer today.

Sure, I'd always enjoyed writing and did poetry slams in high school and college, but I had always assumed that writers were like doctors and nuns, called to their destiny and possessing special gifts. But when my son was about nine months old, nursing constantly and barely sleeping, something changed. In between the sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and insanity, that part of my brain that told me what I could and couldn't do-- it just shriveled up and died. And that's when I wrote my first book.

I read a study positing that male DNA crosses the blood-brain barrier of the pregnant mother and makes subtle, lasting changes to her nervous system. And I have never been more grateful, because I'm happier now, as a writer and mother, than I've ever been in my life. I feel like anything is possible, and I adore being a writer. The writing itself is a gift: after a long day of caring for my family, writing is something I do for myself, an escape I cherish. Disappearing into a world of my imagination, honing the manuscript, and finally seeing my words in print is thrilling.

And I like to think it makes me a better mother, too. My children see me following my passion, growing more confident and constantly learning new things. While I'm writing, they're free to be kids, exploring their own imaginations. And my daughter is already writing her own stories. For her, writing books won't be this impossible thing that only the specially chosen bards can accomplish; it'll be something that happens in the other room, something real and tangible that brings her mother great joy-- and something that takes time and dedication. And one day, she'll get to be embarrassed that her mom writes fluffy vampire romance books with sex scenes. Score!

Just as my writing came from a dark place in my life, so do all my stories have a dark cast to them. My Blud series for Pocket takes place in a world where many of the people and most of the animals are blood drinkers, a place riddled with monsters and krakens and evil villains. You won't believe what tries to kill the heroine in my next e-novella, THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE. And in my YA, SERVANTS OF THE STORM, which is out in 2014 with Simon Pulse, I've turned the pleasant Southern town of Savannah into a demon-ravaged wasteland. Whether it's my teenage gothiness finding an outlet or my mother's recognition that the world is a dark place, I'm drawn to stories of horror, weirdness, and the supernatural. When I was a teen, we didn't have YA, so I read a lot of Stephen King, and I hope it shows in my writing.

I'll admit it: when I decided to become a mother, I was a little bit scared of losing myself. I've always been an artist, and I've always needed time to myself to create and recharge, and I've often battled with depression. I knew from the start that I wouldn't be on the PTA or leading a Girl Scout Troop, but I also knew that I would find a way to keep growing as a person as I took care of first one and then a second child. The cool thing is that becoming a mother is, in a way, the most creative thing you can do as a human being. You make people! From nothing! And for me, the second coolest thing was that becoming a mother helped me find the calling and career that I'd always hoped to discover.

So, in conclusion, I'm so crafty I make people, and you can, too!

Thanks so much for having me, Leah! 

Readers can always find me at my blog, www.delilahsdawson.com, or on Twitter. My next e-novella in the world of Sang is THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE, out April 1 with Pocket, and the next book in Sang is out April 30, WICKED AS SHE WANTS. Oh, and if you like artisan perfumes, check out the scents based on my characters at Villainess Soaps!

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