Interview: Delia Latham, Author of Destiny's Dream
Joining us today is Christian author Delia Latham. A former newsppaer staff writer, her first book, Goldeneyes, was released in 2008 by Vinspire Publishing. In 2010, White Rose Publishing released Yesterday’s Promise and Destiny's Dream, Book One of the Solomon’s Gate series. We'll talk to Delia about her work, her inspiration, and what she's working on next.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Delia. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Weedpatch, a tiny agricultural community near Bakersfield, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. My husband Johnny and I recently transplanted to Okmulgee County, Oklahoma. I am a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. While I consider each of these roles important ones, I treasure most of all my role as a child of the King and an heir to the throne.
I promised myself a novel for years, while raising my four children, working at various jobs and writing the occasional article, poem, or song. Vinspire Publishing released Goldeneyes in 2008. A Christian historical romance with a touch of the divine, Goldeneyes is set in the farm country of my childhood. In 2010, White Rose Publishing released Yesterday’s Promise (ebook) and Destiny’s Dream, Book One in the Solomon’s Gate series. Kylie’s Kiss and Gypsy’s Game will follow in 2011, along with a children’s picture book, Mine!
When did you begin writing?
I truly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something. Even as a child, I always loved words—and devoured them, reading anything I could get my hands on, including the dictionary and the backs of cleaning product containers. But I seriously knew I wanted to be a writer after winning a third-grade essay contest. That little victory did something magical in my young mind. I could rarely be found without a notebook and pen (and/or a book) after that time.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I write whenever and wherever I can find time, but I’m most comfortable—and, I think, most productive—late at night and in the wee hours, when the rest of the world is asleep. I’m not one of those people who can write with distractions (including music), so it’s simply to my benefit to work when the phones aren’t ringing, no one’s knocking on the door, my sweet grandchildren aren’t pitty-pattering in and out of the house, and my (very supportive) hubby isn’t popping in and out with comments, questions, and ideas about going somewhere.
What is this book about?
Destiny’s Dream is Book One in the Solomon’s Gate Series, which is based around a Christian dating agency of the same name. In the first book, Destiny May not only founds Solomon’s Gate in a very conservative California mountain town, but finds her own true love in the process. Here’s a blurb:
Is a little respect too much to ask at the funeral of a beloved parent?
Apparently it is for Destiny May. Her mother’s “going away party” is crashed by an unfamiliar and totally irreverent guest. Difficult to ignore, Clay Gallagher is built like a small mountain and far more vocal than is fitting for the occasion. When it turns out the annoying stranger is not even at the right funeral, Destiny demands retribution in the form of an escape from the day’s dreary proceedings.
From the beginning, their relationship has some kinks – starting with Destiny’s determination to found a Christian dating service in their conservative town of Castle Creek. A highly esteemed investment broker, Clay has little respect or patience for such a frivolous profession. 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 Cupid’s arrows are known to fly straight to the heart.
What inspired you to write it?
Over a decade ago, I read A Match Made in Heaven by Shari MacDonald. I loved the premise of a young woman operating a dating agency—I guess at that time it hadn’t become quite such a trend as it has since. In particular, I loved the idea of a Christian matchmaking service. The idea stayed with me through the years. I mulled it over while doing dishes and making beds; chomped on it when I was alone in my car on quiet stretches of road; worked on a scene or two while vaccuuming floors and cleaning toilets. (I often made mention in interviews that I was working on a book based around a Christian dating agency, and I was—but only in my mind.) One morning, I woke up and it was as if God poked His finger at my chest and said, “It’s time, girl! Do it!” Well, what’s a girl to do under those circumstance? I did it. By that time, it had become more than just a book…it had turned into a series, and I have truly enjoyed writing it.
Who is your biggest supporter?
I’m incredibly blessed to have a number of staunch supporters. My children are proud of me, although I’m not sure exactly why… lol Hubby is amazing—he’s the cook in our house, so I don’t have to worry about planning and preparing meals. Plus, he sees to my well-being by placing vitamins and liquids in my hands and giving me the command to swallow when I’m so caught up in a story that the real world becomes a bit hazy. My aunt markets for me all the time in the good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth way…she’s sold a lot of my books by talking about them. And I have a wonderful friend whom I “met” when she reviewed Goldeneyes through an online review site. She loved it, and still maintains that Goldeneyes is her all-time favorite book, ever. I’m so very grateful to have an amazing support system.
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
I’m not a member of a critique group, per se, but I do have a few individual critique partners whose opinions I value. A couple of them are authors themselves, and I have one treasure of a reader who is also a transcriptionist/word processor, and possesses a keen eye for editing. She reads my work and tells me about anything that slows her down, doesn’t flow smoothly, or jars her out of the storyline. She’s also great about picking up on those uncooperative characters (ha) who like to change eye color, hair color, name…whatever…from chapter to chapter. She’s a jewel, as are all of my wonderful writing pals. I wouldn’t even think of sending in a manuscript without their input.
Who is your favorite author?
I have too many favorites to even begin mentioning them! It might surprise readers to know that, in spite of my love for inspirational romance, my all-time favorite books were written by Stephen King (The Stand)and Robert R. McCammon (Swan Song). Neither of these books could in any way be considered “inspirational,” and yet they’re amazing, epic tales of good vs. evil.
The Stand is my favorite book of all time. Seems we share something in common.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
I’m looking, I’m looking! Do you have one stashed way somewhere?
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Write, write, write. It’s so important to make writing a habit. I suggest finding a space you can call your own—whether it’s a confiscated walk-in closet, the end of a dining room table, a corner of your bedroom, or a fully equipped office with a view. The important thing is to have that space and go to it every day, preferably at the same time every day, and do what writer’s do…WRITE. It’s also important to never, NEVER give up! You will get rejections. You will almost certainly receive a review or two that hurts so badly you can’t help crying. You will think, at times, that you’ll never see your name in print. And if you give up, you won’t—you can count on it.
What is up next for you?
I’m currently finishing Gypsy’s Game, Book Three in the Solomon’s Gate Series; I have a couple of children’s books contracted (one of them will definitely release in 2011); and my goal is to pull out a manuscript I started several years ago and give those characters a chance to live and breathe. Readers who enjoyed Goldeneyes and/or Yesterday’s Promise will be particularly interested in this one…
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much, Cheryl, for inviting me to your blog! I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, and hope your readers find something in our interview that makes them smile, encourages, inspires, and brings a ray of sunshine into their day.
Thanks for spending time with us today, Delia. We wish you continued success.