Dellani Oakes

The Shoe is On the Other Foot – Dellani Oakes

red river radio logoAs many of you know, I host two shows, Dellani’s Tea Time and What’s Write for Me, on Blog Talk Radio every month. I am always chatting with other authors and asking questions that are sometimes difficult to answer. I got to thinking that, for fun, I should try answering some of those questions myself.

What inspired you to start writing?

I was always telling stories. It wasn’t until I got to school and had to write short stories and essays, that I really got into writing. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t take up writing full time until my youngest son started kindergarten 12 years ago. I was home schooling his older brother. When we got done with lessons for the day, I would write.

By Dellani Oakes
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How do you organize your time?

I don’t, really. I try, but that’s one thing that simply doesn’t happen for me. I’m constantly interrupted. For some reason, when people know you work at home, they don’t really consider it work and feel like they can call, drop by or otherwise occupy your precious time. Frustrating! I also have a couple of writer’s groups I attend and that takes up a couple hours twice a week. I have a mental list and decide what will take precedence that day. Doesn’t always work out, though.

How do you approach your stories? Do you outline carefully or simply jump in?

I’m a jumper—both feet first. I don’t outline, I don’t plot, I don’t know my characters or plan in advance. I like writing this way. It works for me and I don’t give a damn about all the naysayers who proclaim that I MUST OUTLINE and plot before I write. They say it’s unproductive and inefficient. Well, I once wrote a 54,000 word book in four days without plotting or knowing how it was going to end. I also wrote a 32,000 word novella in three days in June. I think that validates my position.

If your book were ever made into a movie, who would your dream cast be? 

If my books ever made it to the big screen, they would make kick ass movies. I’ve already thought of my dream cast. The faces have changed somewhat over time, but after extensive research, these are the actors I’ve decided upon:

Lone Wolf and Shakazhan: Wil – Tyler Hoechlin and Malone wolf covertilda – Crystal Reed

Ninja Tattoo: Teague – Jensen Ackles and Vivica – Sarah Shahi

Indian Summer: Manuel – Taylor Kitsch and Gabriella – Emily Browning

Under the Western Sky: Bobby – Tyler Posey and Libby – Aimee Teegarden

If your characters had a theme song, what would it be?

I admit, this is a tough one. Again, with a lot of research, I’ve come up with these songs.

Lone Wolf and Shakazhan: Wil (before meeting Matilda) Counting Bodies Like Sheep – Perfect Circle Matilda (before meeting Wil) – Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds Wil & Matilda together – Battle Without Honor or Humanity by Tomoyasu Hotei Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]I had to divide this one because the characters change a lot once they meet.

Ninja Tattoo: Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf

Indian Summer: Andalucia by Bill Whelan (Riverdance)

Under the Western Sky: Europa by Carlos Santana

How do you come up with your characters?

They come up and introduce themselves. More than once, someone I thought was merely a walk on character, has become a major player. For example, I had no idea that Aisulov, (in Shakazhan) the Chairman of the Galactic Committee, would be much more than an arrogant old moose with issues. When I first brought him in, I thought he’d do his part and bow out. He didn’t. The same thing happened with Dr. Stan. He started out as a mousey type who later The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes - 500becomes a major player in the series. In fact, none of them would be where they are without Dr. Stan. (No, I will not give spoilers)

I have a character named Cullen Fellowes (he’s in a series of books which aren’t yet published) Cullen is the frontman for a band called Sardonic. Not shy by any stretch, Cullen is in no less than 9 of my books – or maybe it’s 11 by now. He doesn’t want his own book. He doesn’t want to take over the other novels, but he likes to intrude in them. Introducing new characters to Cullen is like a rite of passage. He’s outgoing, uninhibited and funny. He’ also tender hearted, kind and generous. He’ll brag about being his ex-girlfriend’s first lover (in front of the current one), and later offer advice to someone else on how to cope with a bad breakup. Of all my characters, he’s the most unexpected and endearing.

On this same note, have you ever had a minor character who tried to hijack the plot and take over? 7309_10200745720822975_1733298453_n

Yes! It has happened twice. The first, and most alarming, happened when I was writing Indian Summer. The Native American, Sailfish, was originally intended as the love interest. Gabriella steadfastly refused to love anyone but Manuel. Manuel refused to be as bad as I intended him to be. Sailfish didn’t want to be relegated to a secondary spot and very nearly took over. I did manage to contain him by promising him his own book. I’m still working on it, but I fully intend to complete it one day. In it, he finally gets his chance at love.

The second time was Dr. Stan in the Lone Wolf series. As I mentioned above, he started as a minor, innocuous person. As the books progress, more of his character is revealed. What I found out was alarming and completely unexpected. There was a point where he fought Wil for control of the series and I had to rein him in. He couldn’t be cut loose or chaos would follow. I finally convinced him to take a step back, though he does have a major role later. He was content with the job I gave him. I still don’t know how I managed to get control of him. (Maybe his wife helped) While we’re assigning theme songs, The Pretender by Foo Fighters would be perfect for Dr. Stan.

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