Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Delia Latham

I’m so happy to have Delia Lathan to talk about Destiny’s Dream, the first book in her Solomon’s Gate series, which revolves around a Christian dating agency of the same name. A dating service – what fun!

And, she’s having a contest. Be sure to click on “my website” at the end of the interview to learn about it.

First tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a born-and-raised California girl, recently transplanted to Oklahoma. (That’s a big change for a gal past 50!) I’m a wife of 37 years, a mother to four adult children, and Nanny to nine, counting the five extra grandchildren God “brought” into our family. I enjoy singing, and especially enjoy Southern Gospel music. And I enjoy designing marketing products, such as business cards, bookmarks, flyers, postcards, etc.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
It would probably be easier to say what I didn’t read! J I’ve loved books ever since I was introduced to “Dick and Jane.” (Okay, I know, that really dates me, doesn’t it?) From that time on, I could be found with my nose buried in a book at just about any given time. I read everything I could get my hands on–including dictionaries and the backs of cleaning products. I especially enjoyed Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, and The Bobbsey Twins, but…anything would do, as long as the storyline pulled me in and took me to another world.

I believe most writers are avid readers. Why do you write?
Because I can’t not write. Just like reading, writing is something I’ve done since I was able to hold a pencil. Even as a very young child, I wrote little poems and songs, then graduated to making up short stories. I always knew I wanted to write a book…someday. But first I had to raise four children, so I wrote for a large daily newspaper and freelanced to a regional magazine in the meantime.

I can relate to that. I wrote magazine articles also. Tell us about your latest book.
Here’s a blurb: Is a little respect too much to ask at a parent’s funeral?

Apparently it is for Destiny May. Clay Gallagher is built like a small mountain and far more vocal than is fitting when he shows up late to her mother’s “going away party.” When it turns out he’s not even at the right funeral, Destiny demands retribution in the form of an escape from the day’s dreary proceedings. Spending time with a handsome stranger who makes her laugh is more therapeutic than fighting with her overbearing family.

Clay finds Destiny beautiful, charming...and intelligent. So why is she stubbornly determined to open a Christian dating service? Clay has little respect for such a frivolous profession, and doesn’t think the small, conservative town of Castle Creek will welcome such a progressive business. But when Destiny is threatened by an anonymous caller who deeply resents her and what she does for a living, Clay makes it his business to keep the saucy redhead out of harm’s way.

Trouble is, spending time in her company weakens his defenses, and Destiny may be the one thing Clay can’t escape...if he even wants to.

Where do you get ideas for your books?
Ideas are everywhere. I think of them as chameleons…they blend into the surroundings, but if you’re really looking, you’ll find them. They’re hiding in overheard conversations. (Writers are shameless eavesdroppers. Be careful what you say in the booth at your favorite restaurant… J); they’re tucked away in newspaper headlines and magazine articles; they play hide-and-seek in the movies you watch–if you don’t like the way the scenes play out, how would you have written that story?; they tuck themselves into everyday situations, like a trip to the store or an over-the-fence chat with your neighbor. The trick is to hear what people are saying, see your surroundings, feel the wind in your hair and the sand between your toes, take a moment to actually smell the roses…fresh air…barnyard–yes, even the unpleasant smells have something to say; relish the taste of everything that touches your tongue. Only by using all of your senses to their maximum potential will you be able to recreate them in your descriptions. Only by going one step beyond what you think you hear, see, feel, smell, or touch will you be able to find the chameleons (ideas) hiding beneath the surface.

How do you get to know your characters?
How do you get to know anyone? By spending time with them. By listening to what they say…and what they don’t say. By noticing how they react to various situations. By allowing them to become a part of my life.

During the writing process for each book, I actually feel that I know my characters better than I know anyone else—even the “real” people in my life. How could I not? I live in their heads and exist in their world, sometimes almost to the exclusion of my own. I suppose being so immersed in an imaginary world might be considered dangerous or ridiculous (depending on who’s judging…lol), but it’s what works for me. When I finish the book, I actually miss my characters. Writing a series has been a joy, because I’ve been able to spend a little more time with the original characters in each of the follow-up novels. J

What themes do you write about?
Romance, of course. Christian romance, which brings other themes into play—faith, trust, forgiveness, prayer, salvation…. But readers will almost always find some element of the divine in my books, as well–usually angels. For some reason, God seems to draw me to and give me ideas using His special messengers. In Destiny’s Dream, the angel angle begins from the very first chapter–almost the first page. I’ve enjoyed this series so much, as God took my storylines in directions I hadn’t even dreamed of. I’ve always thought I believed in angels, but through this series, God has made them very real to me, and I hope that will be true for my readers, as well.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m definitely a pantzer. I wish I could plot ahead and know right where my story was going, but…no. It doesn’t work for me. I get the seed of an idea, toss it around in my head for a few days (or weeks, depending on how stubborn my muse is being), then sit down and start writing. My stories are very much character-driven, so I just start putting words on paper and see where the characters take me.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Without a doubt. How can it not? I consider my writing a ministry, and I spend a great deal of time praying about every word that I write. I want the finished product to be edifying and uplifting, clean, inspiring—and for my readers to find something to take away with them. A stronger faith, a more trusting heart, a call to forgiveness…something lasting.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the galleys from Book Two in the Solomon’s Gate Series, Kylie’s Kiss. And I’m writing the third book, Gypsy’s Game. In addition, I’m working on my portion of a Christmas collection that’s being written by four different authors, and preparing for the release of my first published children’s book, a rhymed story called Mine!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Writer’s write. So write. Even if on some days it feels like you’re writing rubbish, write. Find a place you can make your own, whether it’s one end of the dining table, a walk-in closet you’ve taken over, or a full-blown office with all the bells and whistles. The important thing is that you have a place to go, and that you go there every day, preferably at the same time every day, and do what writers do. Write. You’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes such a part of your routine that you can’t imagine not being there, in that place, at that time…writing.

What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not much of a risk taker. Does getting married at 16 and having four children count? LOL

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Yes. In lieu of doing separate giveaways at every blog stop during this blog tour, I’m running a two-part contest on my website. It’s fun, exciting, and the prizes are beautiful. Come on over and check it out–there’s ample opportunity for participants to earn numerous entries. Good luck!

Delia's Bio
DELIA is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. While she considers each of these roles important ones, she treasures most of all her role as a child of the King and an heir to the throne.

A former newspaper staff writer, Delia promised herself a novel for years, while raising her four children, working at various jobs and writing the occasional article, poem, or song. She fulfilled that promise when Vintage Romance Publishing released Goldeneyes in 2008. A Christian historical romance with a touch of the divine, Goldeneyes is set in the farm country of the author’s childhood, and therefore close to her heart. In 2010, White Rose Publishing released Yesterday’s Promise in electronic format, and Destiny’s Dream in print and e-format. A children’s book will be available early in 2011.

Delia grew up in Weedpatch, a tiny agricultural community near Bakersfield, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She and her husband Johnny recently transplanted from that area to Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.


Miss Mae said...

Hi Delia! Nice to meet you! And I'm dated with you because I also grew up with Dick and Jane...and Spot and Fluffy! lol

Also, yep, Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Ah, those two gals lived the kind of life I coveted!

I really like the premise of a dating service for your book. Wishing you much success! :)

Danielle Thorne said...

What a beautiful cover. I love how you get ideas for your stories. I suppose moving from CA to OK has inspired many ideas! I'm a Southern girl but I lived in OK for six months once and I found I rather liked it. The people were so friendly!

Good luck with your new release!

Delia Latham said...

Gail, thank you so much for hosting me on Peering Through Life's Window! I enjoyed your interview and look forward to chatting with your readers.

Ah, Miss Mae...thank you for reminding me I'm not alone in that "dated" thing. lol

I love the cover, as well, Danielle. Nicola Martinez (who also is the editor-in-chief of White Rose Publishing) designed it. She always does a great job. Hop on over to my website and take a look at the "matching" covers for the next two books in the series.

Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo said...

Blogger Jo said...

I'm dated with you as well. Remember reading Dick and Jane books. I also loved reading Boobsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames.

I'm originally from New York City but the first place that we moved when we left there was Midwest City 38 years ago. Talk about culture shock!

Your book sounds quite interesting. Interesting idea of a dating service.


Delia Latham said...

Oh, my goodness, Jo! I read all of those books too, and I had completely forgotten about Cherry Ames! Thanks for the reminder!

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Delia, plotting too far ahead doens't work for me either...the characters start wanting to d things their way.

And oh, I totally loved the Trixie Belden serie, Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins. The occasoinal Cherry Ames. But my ultimate was anything by Louisa May Alcott.

The book sounds awesome! oxoxox

Elaine Cooper said...

Such a fun interview, Delia! Loved that you read everything that you could get your hands on, even the backs of medicine bottles! I could relate!

I remember checking out 8 books at a time from the library—before I could read!

And Nancy Drew? I had to take my flashlight to bed with me (under the covers) to finish off the latest thrilling adventure!

Best wishes on this latest novel. Sounds great!

Delia Latham said...

Hi, Tanya! Dare I admit the only Louisa May Alcott book I ever read was Little Women...?

Mary Manners said...

Hey, Delia...What a beautiful and insightful interview. I had fun with Dick and Jane, too, and if it dates us then all I have to say is it's a good date!

You are an amazing and very talented writer, and I wish you great success with your career. You truly deserve it...and you share wonderful messages, as well.

God bless!


Marianne Evans said...

What a great interview! I love learning more about you, Delia - and I can't wait to read Destiny's Dream. GORGEOUS cover - and a Christian dating service - how cool is that?? :-) God bless, and much success to you, dear friend!

Delia Latham said...

Oh, and my flashlight spent lots of nights in bed together! lol

Delia Latham said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mary and Marianne! I so appreciate your support. (And you're right, Mary - it is a good date!)

April W Gardner said...

Hi Delia! I'm a Southern Gospel gal too! Although how you write by the seat of your pants, I'll never understand. I tried it. Once. :-) So glad God created such a variety of authors!

Delia Latham said...

LOL, April! That's true, isn't it? Nice of God to not make us all alike!

Tanya Stowe said...

Praying over every word you write hit me like a brick between the eyes. Thanks! I needed that. It's been a whirlwind month and I need to hand it all over to Him. I knew you were special, Delia. Thanks,
PS Can't wait to read Destiny's Dream!

Delia Latham said...

Hey, Tanya! I can't wait for you to read Destiny's story myself...I'm eager to hear what you think. (I pray over every word because I can't write without Him...and I so want every word to edify!)