Monday, July 27, 2020

Welcome Shawna Delacorte to our Garden Interviews

Hello Shawna

Tell us about you and your books.

Have you ever cried while writing a book?
Absolutely! When I have an emotional scene dealing with sadness or momentary despair, it usually brings tears to my eyes. When the same scene, during revisions and/or edits, brings tears to my eyes again even though I know what's coming, I consider that I've successfully gotten across the emotion I'm trying to convey.

When did you decide to become an author?
I've lived most of my life in California—specifically the greater Los Angeles area. For over twenty years, I worked in television production. I was very interested in photography but found that I had a much better chance at marketing my photographs if they were attached to magazine articles. So I started writing magazine articles, primarily destination pieces about travel. After having several of my articles and photographs published, people I worked with told me I should write scripts since my job as a production manager gave me access to producers and directors. I enrolled in a screen writing class at UCLA. The first thing the instructor said on day one of class was if you're in love with words, you don't want to write screen plays. By the end of the class, I knew exactly what he meant and agreed with him—I didn't want to write scripts. However, I did want to try fiction, specifically novels. My third completed manuscript was contracted by Harlequin and published in print (in the days before ebooks). Harlequin then contracted my second completed manuscript and over the years a total of 21 books.

What tips would you give a new writer?
First and foremost is persistence. If you really want to write (especially if you want to be published rather than writing for yourself), you have to stick with it. Unlike what you see in movies and on television, you don't labor over your manuscript, send it cold/unsolicited to a publisher, then a week later you have a contract. It's time consuming. While you're waiting to hear back from a publisher, use that time to start on a new manuscript. It's imperative that you learn the craft of writing, not just the basics of the English language like how to construct a grammatically correct sentence. Active vs. passive, point-of-view, narrative vs. dialogue, action vs. introspection, and characterization are just some of the aspects of fiction writing. And finally, realize that every word you write is not golden. Sometimes it's difficult to see something you've labored over be changed by an editor. But remember, the writer and the editor are looking at the material differently. As the writer, you're creating this incredible masterpiece. The editor is making it commercially viable and publishable.

And remember—the acceptance/appreciation of any creative endeavor (writing, art, music, etc.) is a subjective thing. Just because someone enjoys country music doesn't mean that same person will like jazz. A rejection is one person's subjective opinion on that given day—assuming the writer/artist/composer knows their craft and has constructed a viable product. Sometimes the rejection, those non-descript words "does not meet our editorial needs at this time," is nothing more than the fact that your manuscript was too similar to something they had just contracted or they have too many submissions with a story centering around a pandemic. I've had manuscripts rejected by an editor, then the same manuscript with no changes was contracted by that same editor two years later. Or sometimes you have a great premise, you just need to re-think how you're presenting it in story form.

Does working to deadline inspire or annoy you?
Probably both. 😊 I suppose you could say inspire in that it keeps me on track and allows me to prioritize everything so I don't spend too much time working on something new that doesn't have any type of deadline while getting behind on something that has a higher priority. And on the other hand, you could say it annoys me to have to set aside something that's really flowing and working so that I can return to something with a deadline that isn't flowing as well.

What are your current projects?
I'm currently working on edits for another contemporary romance novella also for The Wild Rose Press, this one for their Deerbourne Inn series.

I also have two mystery/romantic suspense novels that I'm working on as time permits. I'm particularly fond of mysteries, love creating the twists and turns of the plot and characters who may or may not be who and what they seem to be.

and for something a little personal...

Are you jealous of other writers?
No. There are certainly many other writers who have achieved much greater success than I have, but they've earned it. Writing a novel doesn't just happen where you sit down to the keyboard one day and whip out a great manuscript. There's a lot of work that goes into writing a novel. Other writers have put in the time and work required. They've earned their success.

Are you fun to go on vacation with?
I think so. I love to travel, both returning to favorite places and seeing new places. I enjoy a variety of things. I love museums of all kinds (natural history, history, art, etc.). As an avid photographer, I want to see anything and everything where I can take pictures. I like learning about local culture and customs. If in a foreign country, going to the local pub and talking with the people who live in that area.

Do you have any hobbies?
As I mentioned earlier, my primary hobby and outside area of interest is photography. At one time, I wanted to be a National Geographic type photographer. I even took a photography workshop taught by a freelance photographer who worked for National Geographic. Back in the days of film, before digital, I even had my own darkroom. Now, of course, the darkroom is whatever computer programs you use.

If you could have three wishes granted, what would you wish for?
World peace, health, and happiness. I don't think I need to elaborate on that.

What is your favorite comfort food?

I'm embarrassed to say, but it's mac and cheese. Lots of pasta carbs, lots of cholesterol choking cheese, and lots of calories. It's definitely comfort food. And then there's gelato—not just ice cream, that extra creamy calorie-laden gelato which is definitely my dessert weakness. I don't buy desserts very often, not really a sugar person. But when I do, it's usually gelato which doesn't last long. I think creatures sneak into my kitchen and steal it from my freezer in the middle of the night.

Where can we find you online?  a new post almost every Saturday.

Download The Rocky Road to Romance on Amazon and other online retailers. It's part of the summer romance series One Scoop or Two



Happy release day! said...

Hi Shawna,
I just wanted to say I enjoy your blog and your writing advice is spot on.I'm a mac and cheese lover too. Well, you had me at cheese.
Best of luck with your latest release. Love the cover.

Barbara Bettis said...

Impressive background, Shawna, both in production and in fiction! Loved getting to know you better. Wishing you gobs of luck with your latest book!

Shawna Delacorte said...

Jennifer: I appreciate it.

Thanks for your comment.

Shawna Delacorte said...

Charlotte: I'm glad you enjoy my blog posts. Yes, it is a good cover.

Thanks for your comment.

Shawna Delacorte said...

Barbara: I appreciate your kind words.

Thanks for your comment.