Hi folks. This year I got to meet an exciting new fantasy writer named Delia Strange. I managed to track her down recently for an author interview, so strap yourselves in and enjoy the roller coaster ride as we travel through the lava caves of Femme.
Delia Strange has always had a love affair with books. As a child, the bookshelf couldn’t be filled quick enough and stories were read over and over. Trips to the library yielded gifts far superior to the latest expensive gadget toy as seen on TV. Once Delia became
Delia Strange was born in picturesque New Zealand and moved to tropical Australia, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Cat pending.
· Book title: Femme: A Wanderer of Worlds Novel
· Genre: Science Fantasy with a touch of Romance
Kaley Blackburn is sent to Femme in her final year of Future Tech studies. The world is a socialist utopia of low crime, great health and advancements in technology that leave other worlds envious.
It’s a fantastic place to visit if you’re a woman. Men, on the other hand, are the slaves that tend to all feminine desires. Kaley knew about the world’s cultural aspect of slavery but didn’t expect that she would be assigned a slave for herself for the duration of her stay.
Mecca is handsome, intelligent and obedient but every answer he gives to Kaley’s questions only feed her growing concerns. Does Femme hide an ugly truth beneath its glamorous surface and can she trust her feelings for a man whose duty is to make her feel special?
· Publish date: 16 May 2014
· Publisher: Independently Released
· We have included an extract of Delia's novel at the end of the interview. Please check it out and contact Delia if you are interested in doing a review, thanks.
Purchase links are included below.
I really enjoyed reading Femme and would like to recommend it to you. Check out my review here: http://huntersofreloria.weebly.com/kaspers-book-reviews/book-review-femme-by-delia-strange-scifi-romance
Here's our author interview:
Hi Delia. Thank-you for doing an interview for my blog.
This must be the most beautiful book cover I've seen this year. Congratulations on doing the design and graphic artwork yourself. Those previous careers you mentioned are definitely coming in handy.
What’s the story behind your book title?
Femme is the world that my story is set in, and as a title it encompasses the novel perfectly. It’s an elegant world, a feminine world with just enough of a hint of something more sinister (thanks to the commonly observed phrase ‘Femme Fatale’). The subtitle
Well, from someone who has read your book and loved the main characters, I would have to say that there will be a lot of disappointed ladies out there if we don't get to hear more adventures of Mecca.
What’s the basic plot of your book?
Which one? Some readers see the sci-fi ‘Journey and Return’ plot, where the protagonist goes to a new location and returns with life experience. Other readers see a ‘Sweet Romance’ of unexpected (even unwanted!) love that grows slowly and then meets obstacle after obstacle. They’re both deeply embedded in there and I think the plot the reader sees reflects their dominant interest.
I did ask Delia off the record if having a male slave was a fantasy of hers, but being politically correct, I assume, she declined to comment.
Which is your favourite character and why?
Ronika Howard. Her blunt observations were fun to write. One of my beta-readers commented: ‘I thought she was a cranky-pants but then I ended up liking her’. I also had no idea that the reason the name ‘Ronika Howard’ sounded so right was because it was very similar to a well-known director. Thanks for that, brain.
LOL. I did like the Ronika character too, after she mellowed a little.
How do you develop your characters?
They develop themselves! I always start off with a basic idea of what I need from them; in Kaley’s case, she had to have no male authority figure in her life, she had to have strong family values and have high morals, but she also needed to be tolerant and intelligent to counter-act her social naiveté. As she explored and interacted with the world and other people in it, she changed.
What song would you choose as the theme song of your book?
Boadicea by Enya.
What are you working on now?
A couple of things. I have a short term project which is a short story (also set on Femme) called ‘Weather Girl’. It’s going to expand on a few things that didn’t and couldn’t make the novel because of the singular POV. This will be a freebie once it’s written, to showcase the world and garner interest.
The gargantuan project is a six book series called Wanderer of Worlds. Thankfully, because my co-author and I have been discussing this story for the past twenty years, I’ve already done some extreme world-building (as one story spans multiple worlds) and
What a great collaboration! You and co-writer Linda Conlon must be very close. Well, you're off to a great start with Femme and I can't wait to read the Wanderer of Worlds series when it is released.
What is your favourite quote?
Exitus Acta Probat. It roughly translates to ‘The end justifies the means.’ It makes me sound ruthless and mysterious and obnoxious, because I used Latin.
Who would you like to be stuck on a deserted island with and which book would you like to have?
Bear Grylls and ‘Outdoor Survival Skills’ by Larry Dean Olsen.
That's a clever answer, good thinking.
Are there any writing styles or genres you dislike?
I’m tired of Hollywood (and also the bigger publishing houses) trotting out the same tired formulas because it’s what sold in the past and is ‘tried and true’. I understand it from a business perspective (to a point), but it doesn’t allow any room for improvement or artistic licence. Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest romantic tales of all time, yet publishers still insist a romance novel is not a romance novel if it doesn’t have a happy ending. Yawn.
I guess that's the beauty of being self-published these days - pushing the boundaries and testing what readers choose instead of the big publishers.
Where do you see the fantasy sci-fi network in 5 years?
In outer space, chowing down diet pills to offset its weighty and constant consumption of fantasy tomes.
LOL! You are funny! Thanks so much for dropping by the Hunters couch today, Delia. You've been fun to chat with.
Please check out Delia's Links and her book extract below:
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaA3bJREvSdsmPBs_1HmDkA
Femme novel: Chapter One: The Big Bad Wolf
Kaley Blackburn had no luggage and it felt absurd to travel without it. Seated across from her, a woman was reading a paperback. The cover showed a bare-chested man embracing a woman in ragged white clothing. Kaley didn’t need to see the title to know what kind of book it was.
Her gaze dropped to the low modern coffee table between them. A trio of stubby green candles were lined on a crystal tray, their candle-light lost in the overpowering glow of fluorescents. They were there for their citrus scent
and to add to the ambience.
He stood at attention; unmoving, unwavering.
What big guns you have, Authorities.
All the better to protect you with.
Two chimes caught Kaley’s attention. There was nothing to see overhead except for lights and a few discreet speakers embedded in the ceiling. An overly-loud disembodied voice made an announcement.
“Last call for Femme at gate four. Departure time confirmed for nine hundred.”
The armchair was so plush that Kaley had trouble extracting her phone out of her jeans back pocket. The cushion expelled a wheeze of air that she pretended didn’t bother her but her heated cheeks proved otherwise. She brushed a few wispy blonde strands out of her face and woke her phone to check the time. There was ten minutes to go.
A whispered conversation began behind her and she tried her best not to listen but there was nothing to distract her from it.
“I wish I’d looked up my ranking online.”
“Didn’t you get your letter?”
“I always get them late because I transferred to wuss.”
Kaley screwed up her nose. The Wynnum University of Scientific Study had a stellar reputation and she was disgruntled when other students spoke its acronym instead of spelling it out.
To avoid listening, she decided to start up a conversation of her own. She thumbed her way to her mother’s number in her contacts list even though she knew it by heart. As she listened to it ring she couldn’t help but smile, anticipating the reaction to a second call for the day.
“Kaley? Have you forgotten something?”
Kaley laughed softly and shook her head. “No, Mum.
They just made final call. I wanted to talk to you on my phone before I portal out.”
“Oh, honey, you’re a sweetheart,” her mother said. Even though there was no tremor in her voice, Kaley imagined she could hear the emotion behind those words. Whenever her mother felt touched, her eyes glistened with tears. She would often excuse herself to wipe them away in private before they fell. Kaley didn’t understand the motivation behind it but she thought it was elegant.
“I’ll call when I get to the hotel,” Kaley promised again.
“No rush,” her mother said warmly. “Did you remember to pack your inhaler?”
“They’ve got something different for that over there. Something better.”
“Will they let you bring it back with you?”
“I hope so,” Kaley gushed.
“Your dad would be so proud of you.”
Kaley was shocked into silence. Her mother rarely brought up her father without being asked first. Kaley had noticed this since primary school. She’d asked her mother why she never spoke about her dad. Her answer had come in the form of a question. ‘Don’t I?’ so Kaley hadn’t pursued it. She knew plenty because she’d never been afraid to ask and her mother was always forthright with her answers.
When the silence extended, her mother filled it with more revelations.
“He said you would achieve more than both of us combined. Silly man, you were only a baby.” Kaley could hear the smile in her mother’s voice. “But he was right, wasn’t he? He wasn’t just talking about his hopes, he was talking about your future. Who knew that you’d be travelling between worlds?”
Kaley listened to the air on the phone, unsure how to continue the conversation. Nothing seemed appropriate.
She could hear a dog barking excitedly in the background and knew it was the neighbour’s Jack Russell. Someone would be walking past the house and it was going mental like it always did.
“Mum, are you okay?” she asked and instantly regretted it. Her mother had shared something lovely without prompt and Kaley was short-sighted enough to ask if her mother was feeling alright.
“I’m okay, honey. I just woke up feeling old,” she said with a chuckle. Her words and laughter sounded light enough to appease Kaley’s concerns.
“I’ve got to go, they’re ushering us in. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Kaley ended the call and stood to pocket her phone. As she lined up, she pulled the plastic travel card out of her other pocket and handed it to the blue uniformed attendant.
The woman turned and inserted the card into a sleek silver machine at her side. The screen flickered once before Kaley’s image appeared. She stood impassive as the attendant checked her against the screen. Even though Kaley knew there was going to be no trouble, she held her breath until she was asked to press her palm onto a tablet the attendant thrust towards her. She waited until a beep sounded and then the woman waved her through.
What security you have, Authorities.
All the better to contain you with.
She was shown to her seat by a different attendant, this one friendlier than the first but still performing his duties in a perfunctory manner.
Fifteen seats were lined in three columns with lots of space around them. The seats were very comfortable and reminded her of dentist chairs with adjustable height, footrest and back. She could position it herself using the button panel at her left hand. She experimented with it to get herself comfortable.
What a big chair you have, Authorities.
All the better to sleep with.
“Have you portalled before?” someone asked from the chair beside hers. Kaley recognised a curly haired brunette from the huge lecture halls at Uni but didn’t recall her name. The mess of dark curls made her distinctive though this girl normally kept to herself.
“Yes, but not to Femme,” Kaley said. “I visited Prospect on the weekend of my twenty-first,” she said with a grin.
The brunette answered Kaley’s smile with a huge one of her own and Kaley decided she liked whatever-her-name-was.
“What’s it like?”
“Prospect? It’s like Vegas but it’s cheaper to portal there than to fly to the States.”
“Really? How is that possible?”
“A lot of the tourist worlds are really cheap. Not like Femme. I’ll have to get sponsored if I plan on visiting again.”
“I think we all will,” her new friend replied. “I don’t think any of us has been to Femme before.”
“I have,” a new voice interrupted.
Kaley looked up at the intensely green eyes of Ronika Howard before she selected a seat for herself in front of them, exiting her portion of the conversation as immediately as she’d entered it. Kaley looked back at the brunette beside her who was struggling to hold in laughter. Kaley liked her even more. She needed someone on this trip to remind her to have fun.
“I’m Kaley,” she said.
They settled into their seats when the attendant came by with a round pill of swirling blue and green and a plastic cup of water to wash it down with. Kaley thought it appropriate that it resembled her beloved planet Earth before popping it into her mouth. It didn’t take long for her to feel light-headed and sleepy. She fought against it so she could watch the next stage, but was only awake long enough to see the attendants fitting oxygen masks onto the travellers seated ahead of her.
What big masks you have, Authorities.
All the better to keep you alive with.
The story continues in Femme ...
Cover and internal design © 2014 Delia Strange
Cover Image Gromovataya / 123RF.com
All rights reserved.
You have permission to freely distribute this extract as long as it is kept in the same form and no changes are made.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and unintentional.
Delia Strange, PO Box 77, Kallangur QLD 4503, Australia