What is your book about?
Pia Donovan is a small town girl in the big city. Finding herself a bit overwhelmed, she’s delighted when she meets Flynn Chancellor, and his roommate, Yancy Fredrick. The young men make her feel at home in the bustling metropolis.
How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?
I wrote this book for my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month) in November of 2016. I got the idea sometime in October, though I didn’t think too much about it. I don’t like to make too many decisions ahead of time, because the characters always run away with the plot. I had a location in mind, the names and occupations of the three main characters. That’s more than I usually have when I begin a story.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I’m not entirely sure. One day, I was thinking about what I wanted to write about for NaNoWriMo, and I had this spark. The names came to me, and I wrote them down, along with a note about what their college major was. As to where the story came from, the characters told it.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
I can see myself a good bit in Pia. We both grew up in Nebraska, we had a parent who was a college professor (for me, it was my dad) and we love music. Her likes and dislikes in music absolutely mirror my own.
Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
I love all three of them. Pia has such an unending joy of life. She’s had a tough breakup, but she doesn’t let it get the better of her. Flynn is excitable and enthusiastic, full of creative energy. Yancy is much more down to earth than the other two, with a quiet strength that they both hold onto. I think the character that surprised me the most was Yancy, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why.
Who is your most unusual character?
There is a young man named Oz, short for Oswald, who lives on the same floor as Pia, Yancy and Flynn. When they meet, they have a fascinating conversation and he says, “I have Asperger’s. Like Rain Man. I’m like Rain Man.” He’s an brilliant young man, full of love and joy. He’s fiercely loyal to his friends and has a strong sense of right and wrong. He’s not a main character, but he is certainly a pivotal one.
Why will readers relate to your characters?
I’ve been told by several beta readers, and my editor, that the characters jump off the page. They are three dimensional and multi-faceted. All of them have their own distinct personalities, and speak in their own, particular voices.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I started the book on November 1 and typed The End on November 5. The book is approximately 57,000 words, so that’s no small feat.
How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
It’s been my experience that they define themselves. I listen and record their actions and words.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I adhere to Ray Bradbury’s technique: Find out what your hero wants, then just follow him.
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I don’t really have one. I’m very fortunate that I’m able to work from home and don’t have a 9-5 job. It makes my writing time much more flexible. Sometimes, I don’t write at all, but I read through my finished books and edit. Other days, I’ll sit down and write 10,000 words. It just depends.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, except for a brief time when I thought of being a veterinarian. Then I discovered I’m allergic to virtually every animal in the world.
Does writing come easy for you?
Yes. Not to brag, but my first year of NaNoWriMo, I finished the day before Thanksgiving. The next afternoon, after we’d eaten, I sat down and started another novel. I finished it in four days. Lest you think that a fluke, I’ve got numbers for you: 3-4 days (3), 5-7 days (6), 9-11 days (3) and 15-16 days (5). Only two of these were less than 35,000 words. Most were well over 50,000. (Okay, exactly to brag. I’m pretty proud of that)
What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?
There needs to be a compelling plot. Readers must feel invested in the outcome and care about how events affect the characters. There needs to be excitement, conflict and resolution. If that includes a few hot love scenes – okay! If not, also okay.
Which is more important to your story, character or plot?
They are both essential. If I have great characters, but they just sit there and talk – BORING. Conversely, if they are uninteresting characters, readers won’t care what happens to them.
If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
This is easy to answer. When I write, I tend to see the characters as actors. Pia is Mila Kunis. Yancy is Henry Cavill and Flynn is based on a singer, Jamie N. Commons.
What is your favorite place, real or fictional? Why?
I love my imaginary city where So Much It Hurts is set. I can do anything I want with it, populate it however I see fit, and even provide its own benevolent billionaire.
Who designed your cover?
The amazingly talented Elle J. Rossi. She’s done several covers for me and I love her work.
Where can people learn more about your books?
People can visit my blog dellanioakes.wordpress.com or head over to my Tirgearr page http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/index.htm
All my books are available on Amazon. So Much It Hurts is available at online retailers everywhere.
So Much It Hurts is currently on sale for only .99 cents until November 8.