ATWN Interview: YA Author Delilah Dawson
Welcome to Delilah Dawson, author of the YA Southern Gothic Horror, Servants of the Storm!
We wanted to the get the inside scoop on how music played such an important role in the creation of this creeptastic novel.
Can you give us the blurb or even an elevator pitch about Servants of the Storm?
Southern Gothic Horror with fox-eared storm demons and albino alligators in Savannah, Georgia. Like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but with a strong, mixed race, female protagonist… and everything is evil.
How did you come up with the initial premise for the novel?
I saw a photo set of Six Flags New Orleans a few years after Katrina destroyed it and knew I had to write a story that included it. So super creepy! But I had never been to New Orleans, and I didn’t want to to dishonor to those who lived through Katrina, so I moved the story to Savannah and made up my own hurricane to destroy it. The main character, Dovey, came from an Ulta sales flier and has what should’ve been my middle name. My husband is from Savannah, so we did lots of research trips to take horse-drawn carriage tours with my brother-in-law, the Dread Pirate Robert, and visit cemeteries.
What music influenced Servants of the Storm?
Let’s just say the playlist ranged from Possum Kingdom by the Toadies to the entire Saturnalia album by The Gutter Twins. You can see the whole thing on Spotify: Servants of the Storm. It’s very dark, very creepy, but also has some distinctly Southern songs by The Civil Wars and even Harry Connick Jr. But The Gutter Twins are the #1 influence, and whenever I hear that album, I’m right back in Dovey’s Savannah, surrounded by Spanish moss and crooked tombstones.
If you could choose one song for each of your main characters, which song would you choose and why?
Dovey would be Kid Cudi’s No One Believes Me. Carly would be Rob Zombie’s Living Dead Girl. Isaac would be The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen. Baker would be Undisclosed Desires by Muse. Josephine–and the book on the whole– would be God’s Children by The Gutter Twins.
What traits of your own did you infuse into your characters, if any?
Not many, actually! With Dovey, I wanted to make a character very different from me. Lots of her decisions make me cringe, especially when she gets reckless. But that’s what made her fun and interesting to write. She’s willing to do anything for Carly, and that’s a trait I admire. All of these characters are… off, skewed and living in an off-kilter world. The women of my Blud series are much more like me!
Do you listen to different music depending on what you are doing or writing? Can you give examples?
Definitely! All my playlists are available by book on Spotify, under username DelilahSDawson. Each book has its own playlist, which are often made up of one core album with some other important songs arranged around it. I behaviorally condition myself to be *in the world* when the music is playing, so I listen to the playlist while I’m driving, flying, editing, first drafting, you name it. It really helps me when I need to switch between books or solve a plotting problem.
If you check the playlist for Wake of Vultures, you’ll see a lot of Gangstagrass, which is hip hop bluegrass by the guys who did the Justified theme song. When I asked Twitter for “Weird West music but not country; it needs teeth,” and someone recommended Gangstagrass, I was very dubious. But the music is rad, and the guys are super nice. I really want to see them live!
What other categories/genres do you read and/or write?
I write all over the place, but most of my works are tied together by a whimsical darkness–that’s why my website is whimsydark.com. I write the steampunk Fantasy Romance Blud series for Pocket books, which has three books, three e-novellas, and a short story in the Carniepunk anthology. My next release after Servants of the Storm is HIT, a pre-dystopian about teen assassins in a bank-owned America, out next April. And I have two secret books with my agent now, one a geeky YA contemporary that’s basically a reverse She’s All That, and the other a Weird West that’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer mashed up with Lonesome Dove or True Grit. And Servants of the Storm is YA Southern Gothic Horror. I get bored easily. 😉
What are a couple of your favorite tunes right now?
I’m really into Manchester Orchestra right now, especially their Cope album. My husband wrote his last book to their music, so I bought tickets to their Atlanta show for his birthday… and ended up falling in love with their music. My Mazzy and the Mack playlist on Spotify is the one I’m listening to most, as that’s the geeky YA that I just finished revising. If you can see them live, do! Nothing gets me really energized these days like seeing a band I love live, especially when the music is attached to a book.
If you pre-order SERVANTS OF THE STORM from any venue, e-book or hardcover, before August 5 and email your mailing address to the author at whimsydark (at) gmail (dot) com,
she’ll mail you a signed bookplate, temporary tattoos, and a bookmark!
Go now! Order your copy of Servants of the Storm here:
Simon & Schuster page: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Servants-of-the-Storm/Delilah-S-Dawson/9781442483781
Delilah S. Dawson is the award-winning author of the Blud series, including Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. Her next book is Servants of the Storm, a YA Southern Gothic Horror set in Savannah, GA, followed in 2015 by a pre-dystopian called HIT about teen assassins in a bank-owned America. Delilah is also the author of several short stories, comics, and a playable world in Storium. She’s a geek, an artist, an adventure junkie, and a cake guru and lives in the North Georgia mountains with her family.
Thanks so much to Delilah for sharing more about Servants of the Storm and the importance of music in her creative process!