Delia Colvin is the bestselling author of The Sibylline Trilogy: The Sibylline Oracle, The Symbolon and soon to be released The Last Oracle. She resides in Prescott, AZ with her husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
What is your latest book?
The Last Oracle – Book Three of The Sibylline Trilogy is scheduled to be released in July 2013.
The trilogy is about Alex Morgan, an immortal oracle, whose visions guide him in his attempts to save his mortal beloved.
Those that are interested in Greek mythology will be pleased to know that Book Three delves far more into the Greek underworld while maintaining an anchor in present day Italy.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Treat book writing as a business. Successful authors spend the majority of their time writing and a smaller percentage of time managing and marketing.
Also outsource to professionals for a professional product. Hire pros with a great reputation for editing and cover design. Other recommended outsourcing: formatting, web-design, SEO (search engine optimizer) management.
In your spare time read every author blog, like Lisette’s (this blog has the advantage that she is a successful author and interviews other authors).
Lastly find a trustworthy mentoring/educational site like Fostering Success.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
I finished Book One of my trilogy and set out to have it published in the traditional manner. My husband was upset to think that the publisher and the agent would take such a huge cut.
A few weeks out my husband came home with some information about indie publishing on Kindle. I was completely against it and believed that only non-fiction worked in self-publishing.
Then one of the top five publishers went out of business and that caused me to take a fresh look at the new world of publishing. I found that independent publishing was going the same route as independent film-makers in terms of acceptance and respect.
In fact, I was stunned to discover that several indie-published novels were New York Times bestsellers.
About that time I received an offer from a “top ten” publisher. I was so tied up with writing and editing that I didn’t have a chance to respond right away. A few days later I received another offer from a very small publishing house. My husband and I decided to sit down and compare offers on a spreadsheet when we could find the time.
A few weeks later the “top ten” publisher contacted me again, this time by phone.
Evidently one of their staff had read my entire manuscript and they more than tripled the original offer—as well as offering me advances on the other two books of the trilogy. I had a VERY difficult time turning that one down. But for some reason I never took it to the next step.
In the end I decided that I wanted to maintain control of my books and the majority of the time I’m very pleased with that decision. It’s been a lot of work but it’s also been very rewarding.
In December with the highest level of competition on the market both Book One and Two of my trilogy hit Amazon’s bestsellers lists and have been on those lists almost every month since.
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
I like books that draw a full range of emotions out of me and leave me hopeful or joyful. Reading is such a pleasure because I can totally get lost in another world and often in the delicious language of the writer.
The thing I like least is that I have so little time to read!
Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?
All of this has been pretty surprising to me. Not long after Book One was out it was voted Goodreads Best Book of June and nominated Best Love Story. That was pretty thrilling!
Then, less than a week after the book was released I was walking my dogs on a path I frequented. As I rounded a corner a woman was standing there with a notepad and pen and asked, “Are you Delia Colvin?”
I nodded, wondering how she recognized me, as I was incognito with my baseball cap and sunglasses. Then I realized that my pups are fairly well-known in the area.
She said, “Well, I’ve been waiting for you here every day to get your autograph.”
Now I was absolutely certain that my husband or stepson had set her up to do this. I couldn’t grasp the idea that in less than a week someone that I didn’t know had read my book and wanted my autograph.
The woman continued, “Me and the ladies down at the FBI are all enjoying The Sibylline Oracle.”
I’m not certain but I think my jaw rebounded off the path at that point. Then she added, “Of course, I usually like more sex in my books but it is a great book just the same!”
I didn’t know what to sign on her pad. My hands were shaking with excitement when I scribbled something illegibly and then tried to walk, rather than skip, all the way home.
My stepson said, “Yay! You got your first stalker!”
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
Yes to both. Before I could write I was creating stories in my head. That is how I have entertained myself nearly all my life. Later I wrote them but never had the nerve to share them.
A few years ago I nearly died from massive blood clots to the lungs. I realized that I hadn’t been following my passion in life which was writing novels. I decided that was going to change.
I had always kept a list of stories in-progress that I would work on someday. But one day, not long after the blood clot, a new story popped into my head nearly complete.
It was a present time story about an immortal from Ancient Greece who had been trying for 3000 years to save his mortal beloved. I had never been interested in writing Fantasy or Paranormal novels and I had never been interested in Greek mythology.
My days were filled and there was no time to write. Still, I was so compelled that I pulled out my iPhone and started typing away on the notepad while I was walking to work. Three weeks later I had the first draft of my first completed novel. Then I realized it was a trilogy and six weeks after that I had the drafts for the next two novels. That was January 2012.
Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?
The Sibylline Oracle, Book One and The Last Oracle, Book Three (to a lesser degree) required a tremendous amount of research in Greek mythology. While it was fascinating research I spent a lot of my time double-checking facts.
Writing The Symbolon (which is the original word for soul mates) was just a lovely experience because while there was a lot of mythology in it, most of the ground work had been laid in Book One. The Symbolon is about the pure affinity that these main characters share and the price they are willing to pay for the other’s survival. It was a lot of fun to write although it required about a case of facial tissue.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
Authors know that when we run discounts on our books that a small percentage of 1-2 star reviews will show up. Further, almost all of those low reviews will clearly state that the reviewer has never read the book.
I read all of my reviews and if there is a valid complaint on marketing or content I correct it, if not I move on and write. I never engage review bullies. I discovered early on that anything you say, even in kindness, may be taken out of context and used against you in the public eye.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Does coffee count? Hazlenut coffee with half and half and a hint of cinnamon.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
Without a doubt the very best gift I’ve ever received was when my husband, Randy read the first chapters of my first novel and said, “Forget Air Traffic Control, you were born to write!”
Since then I’ve been a full-time novelist and it has been a most extraordinary life!
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I was completely ambidextrous when I was young. To teach us right from left the teacher told us, “You write with your right hand.”
So I would write out the word with both hands to try to determine which looked better. When they both looked about the same I decided that I must not be very smart and I zoned out of school.
Still to this day I do some things with my right hand and some things with my left.
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Be kind and accepting of others.
Eat more vegetables. That leads to better health, which leads to greater happiness, which leads to more kindness and leads to increased ability to study, which leads to increased knowledge and intelligence which leads to more understanding.
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