Friday, May 13, 2011

New Voices: Alison DeLuca

Author Alison DeLuca

My niece, Rachel, once told me that she loved books with lots of adventures and a little bit of romance. I created my trilogy, The Night Watchman Express, in that image.

I was teaching high school Spanish while I wrote the book. After a full day of teaching and an hour’s commute, I would come home, throw dinner together, and go and work on my current chapter.

There was a long hiatus while I had a child and dealt with my mother’s severe dementia. Writing had become an unbreakable habit, though, and after a few years I went back and took a look at my manuscript.

Of course, it needed a lot of work. My characters dragged their way into the story at long intervals, and my vocabulary was too advanced for my intended market. I also had the usual pitfalls of the beginning novelist: far too many adverbs, and far too many uses of the word “then” among them.

I spent another year rewriting the entire trilogy. I weeded out the –ly words, got my characters onstage at the start, and fixed some contrived plot points.

The story began to come together. I liked my main character, Miriam, an angry orphan who was a beginning writer like me, as well as her governess, Mana, a beautiful woman from the islands who had a lot of strength, dignity, and intelligence. Miriam’s clashes with her guardians, the dreadful Marchpanes, were enjoyable to write and edit, as were the arguments between their son, Simon, and Miriam.

However, the adventures were the most satisfying thing to create. The third volume of the book, Devil’s Kitchen, is set, in part, in an underground factory where Miriam discovers horrifying human experiments.

There is a strange, luxurious prison where Simon is dragged, and where he undergoes a type of Stockholm Syndrome with my villain of the piece, Barbara Cantwell. She is beautiful and ruthless and morally corrupt, and I thoroughly enjoyed bringing her to life.

There are some steampunk elements (such as a brass Typing Machine that is really a quantum computer,) since the book is set at the turn of the 20th century. I kept the entire trilogy G-rated; that just seemed to be a natural part of my style.

At the request of my publisher, I am now writing the sequel, The Lamplighter’s Special, and I will have it on Kindle by the summer.

Alison DeLuca is the Scribbler's New Voice. Want to learn more about Alison? Check out these links.

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