Multi-Genre Author and Blog Talk Radio Host Dellani Oakes is my Guest…
I am really excited to welcome Multi-Genre Author and Blog Talk Radio Host Dellani Oakes, to my blog.
Dellani kindly hosted me on her fab show, the Books & Entertainment Network on Blog Talk Radio , back in March. I had a blast alongside fellow guest author, Susan Solomon – who will be my guest author next week.
Let’s find out more about Dellani, her books, and her writing process:
When Jane first invited me to be on her blog, I marked my calendar and promptly forgot about it. I looked again later and forgot again. Then she sent me a reminder, and I thought, “Hmm, what shall I write about?”
Blank. Totally. No idea what I was to say, or where this is going – which is how I write my books. Since the writing approach is something I like talking about, I’ll run with that for a while. There is, however, no telling where this will head – so hold onto your hats.
I’ve been writing since I was a child. I began my illustrious career when I was six or seven, writing terrible verse. I wrote a poem for my grandmother and illustrated it. I don’t remember exactly what I said, only the repeating line, “When you get a coffin, you never will grow cold, if you make sure that the coffin’s made of 14-carat gold.” No clue what she really thought of it, but she thanked me very graciously.
I wrote stories as assignments in 6th – 8th grade. Some were actually not terrible. I wrote others in high school – and was pretty pleased with them. Unfortunately, I don’t have them anymore because my husband put them in the attic, and we have squirrels! I hope my stories kept them warm in the chilly winter months here in central Florida.
In college, I wrote plays. They were good. Also – gone. This was before computers, so it was all done by hand. After college, when I was teaching, I decided to start a novel – that was oh…1988 or so? Still unfinished, but I have added to it, and I think it has potential. Maybe one day I’ll publish it.
I had to set my writing aside while I had young children. I am absolutely astounded by anyone who has more than one child and can write a book. My attention was too divided. However, once my youngest son started kindergarten, I had more time to put words on paper. A story I’d started years before came out of the drawer, and I finished it. Thus, Indian Summer was finally complete.
I got the idea for Indian Summer when I accompanied my oldest son to St. Augustine on a field trip. We were climbing the steps of the Castillo de San Marcos, and I had the fleeting thought, “If these walls could talk, what would they say?” I touched the wall, and afterward, I had this weird feeling that someone was trying to speak to me. Once I got home, I heard Gabriella’s voice clearly. It took me nearly ten years to tell her story, but I’m very pleased with it. I became so interested in the time period, I also wrote a sequel called Savage Heart.
Since Indian Summer, I have finished 135 novels or novellas, and 28 short stories. That’s not including the 58 works in progress. That’s a lot of words! Of these works, 15 have been published, and I hope to have 2 more by year’s end.
I got a bit off-topic, I was going to talk about my writing style. Perhaps style is elevating the process to a level it doesn’t really live up to. I think the approach is a high enough bar. I call it Chaos in a Teacup, which I think describes it well. Despite the contained bedlam, it gets the job done, as my numbers attest.
I’ll describe my creative process for you because not everyone writes the same way. I get a starting idea, an opening line, or a scene that won’t go away. If I don’t capture it, it will disappear and light on another author’s shoulder. I don’t think of my stories, they present themselves to me. I have to put the words down, telling their tales.
I don’t outline. I don’t do any fancy character sheets. I don’t plot or plan anything in advance, except in very rare instances. When I write my NaNoWriMo novels, I sometimes get character names in advance. These, I jot down and use when I begin writing. I might get a starting line, which I will scribble down. I won’t actually start writing the novel until November 1st at midnight – otherwise, it’s cheating. If I finish early, which I often do, I will get another story idea, and write that, too. I don’t count it in my NaNo word count. It’s like an after-dinner mint, an extra at the end of the meal.
Planners, Pantsers and Plantsers:
I often ask other authors what their process is because I am fascinated by the variety of approaches – as individual as each person, it turns out. Though writing styles can be loosely grouped into three categories, there are an infinite number of possibilities. The three main categories are Planners, Pantsers, and Plantsers.
Planners, as the name suggests, plot and plan every detail. They know what their characters had 10 years ago for breakfast. Every facet of the backstory is outlined in detail, as well as how the story will go from start to finish. These authors frequently do detailed research in advance.
I honestly am in awe of Planners, because that will never be me. Their adherence to detail fascinates me! I listen to them discuss their flow charts, spreadsheets, and story walls with my mouth hanging open. I don’t even have a blank wall in my office where a storyboard could go!
Pantsers are those folks who write by the seat of their pants. In other words, they get an idea and run with it. They research as they go, have no idea where the story is going, and don’t know their characters until they walk onto the page. If you haven’t already guessed by my writing style name, I fall into this category. If I actually know where a story is going, I’m as surprised as anyone.
My husband, who is not a writer, thinks I control my characters and story. “You can make it go wherever you want, it’s your book!” I laugh at him. It’s so sweet that he thinks that, so I let him live with his delusion.
Plantsers are a hybrid of Planners and Pantsers. They are the folks who loosely outline, or at least have a guideline in their heads. They do some research beforehand, but often stop while writing, to look something up. They make notes and keep gentle control of their stories. They’re more organic than the Planners, but not as chaotic as the Pantsers.
Confused yet? Don’t worry, we can’t always keep it straight either.
Planners are the control freaks of the writing world. They also contend that their way is The Only Way to Write. I would disagree, and I think my prodigious number of completed books completely negates this contention. I had one author, whom I interviewed on my podcast several years ago, “You know, Dellani, the majority of authors do plot and plan.”
I hate to disagree (actually, I don’t) but the majority of the authors I’ve interviewed over the last 13 years, are Pantsers or Plantsers. The Planners are actually in the minority.
Dellani’s Podcasts: Books & Entertainment Network on Blog Talk Radio:
To give you a bit more information about my podcasts: I own the Books & Entertainment Network on Blog Talk Radio. I have several other hosts who work with me and share the air – Karen Vaughan, who hosts Writer’s Round Table (2nd Tuesday of each month). Another is Marta Moran Bishop , who hosts Chasing Entertainment (show dates vary). The third host is Barbara Ehrentreu who hosts Tales from the Pages (Every 4th Thursday).
My shows, Dellani’s Tea Time and What’s Write for Me, are on the 2nd Monday and the 4th Wednesday each month. We have one more member of the Books & Entertainment team, our fabulous co-host, Christina Giguere, who writes under the name Rachel Rueben.
Throughout my career, I’ve met some amazing, creative, and talented authors. I love chatting with them, hearing excerpts from their books, and talking about their work. It has been an honor and privilege to give them a chance to talk about themselves and their work.
After all this, I suppose I should tell you a little bit about myself. I am an author, mostly of romance novels, though I branch out to fantasy, sci-fi, romantic suspense, murder mysteries – even the occasional vampire story, though my vampires don’t sparkle unless they’re on fire. I wrote a couple zombie stories, but they don’t shuffle around trying to eat brains. In fact, you won’t find that any of my books and stories are typical of their genre. I try to step outside the norm, and make the tales unique.
I invite you to look for my books on Amazon, Smashwords and a variety of other sites. Many of my novels are also in audio format, for your listening pleasure.
Please check out my website www.dellanioakes.com, and my Blogger site – Writer’s Sanctuary www.writersanctuary.blogspot.com I also post daily at Books & Entertainment https://booksandentertainmentnetwork.wordpress.com/ with Karen Vaughan, Ruth Davis Hays, JD Holiday, Amanda Thrasher and Rachel Rueben. I hope you’ll drop by and check it out.
You can follow me on Twitter @DellaniOakes, on Tumblr https://dellanio.tumblr.com/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dellanioakes LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dellani-oakes-34290526/
Thanks so much for being such an interesting guest author, Dellani. Good luck with your books and podcasts. I hope readers will engage with you here and visit your post and visit your books and podcasts.
BOOKS by DELLANI OAKES
Great blend of humour and fact. Thanks, Dellani. I guess as a writer I’m a planner, though there’s an element of plantser too, since I don’t plan every detail. It’s good to be surprised by a character, a scene or a plot-thread!
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Jane, thank you so much for inviting me to be there. I’m thrilled and delighted to answer any questions. I hope that your readers will check out my books, and enjoy the flight of fancy for a little while. ~ D
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Thanks, Dellani. It has been a great pleasure. I am sure your books will be sought after. Congrats.