Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Featured Author Interview w/Gail Delany, author of Outcasts

#1 - Tell me what inspired the Phoenix Rebellion series.

It's a bit of a convoluted story, but I'll give the bare bones. A few years ago, I'd finished writing Watch Over Me, and found myself in a slump. I had several individual story ideas, but when I'd begin them they would stall on me a few chapters in. No matter what I did, nothing worked. So, for a good year I divulged in my favorite guilty pleasure - I wrote fanfiction for my favorite tv show at the time - Stargate SG:1

My critique partners - three women whom I owe a great deal to for getting me to where I am today - asked me why I didn't just take my love of science fiction and my love of romance and write a sci fi book. I fought it for a long time, thinking it was one thing to write in a universe created by someone else, and another thing entirely to write something on my own. But, eventually, I decided to give it a try.

I also took some of those story ideas I'd begun but couldn't finish and found that putting them in a futuristic - rather than contemporary - setting fixed a lot of my hang-ups. Two of the four character stories in the series actually came from other books I started and stopped.

But, I wanted to take a different approach to the books. Instead of each book in the series being about two people alone - I wrote the series so that everyone is involved in the story all the time. Every character plays a part and thus, every character gets a POV at some point. It's told as a 'cast of characters' rather than limiting the story view.

As a result, my readers have told me they really feel 'vested' with every character in the series.

#2 - Outcasts features "Victor." Tell me about his character - what do you find fascinating about him?

Victor is an Areth, the alien race that -- according to the backstory of the books -- came to Earth in the early years of the 21st Century. Right about now. The Areth claim that Humans are their descendants. Although on a biological and cellular level, Humans and Areth seem nearly identical - there are differences. The Areth do no procreate, rather choosing to clone themselves to continue their race. They do not have the desire or need for companionship - either with each other or with other races. And they live exceptionally longer lives than humans.

To understand Victor you must understand that he doesn't understand himself... I know, that seems confusing. Victor enjoys and even seeks out the friendship of humans - especially Michael Tanner - a man who has been a constant friend to Victor despite his captivity by Victor's people. And in the first book of the series, when given the chance to help Michael escape his prison, Victor turns his back on his brethren and his life to make sure Michael is free.

But something is wrong with Victor - something he doesn't understand. He is haunted by a malicious voice in his mind - that which he calls his Demon - and this entity threatens to not only drive him insane but to take his life. The only peace he can find - and the only time he seems to have any control over the Demon that can hijack his body and mind - is when he's in the presence of Beverly Surimoto. Beverly is one of the leaders of Phoenix, she is deaf and speaks through a neural voice link, and she's also a low-level empath. Something about her presence sooths his Demon - or drives it back - either way, Victor doesn't care.

Victor fascinates me because of the internal battle he fights not only in this book but through the remainder of the series. He is of two minds - but make no mistake in assuming he is schizophrenic or mentally unbalanced. The truth will be revealed in time, so I won't say much beyond that. He doesn't want to be who he was created to be - an Areth scientist in a cold world without contact - but he knows he can't be the kind of man a woman like Beverly deserves. He feels weak and beaten, but doesn't see his own immense internal strength. He's a man with a deep well of compassion, but he doesn't understand his own mind.

#3 - Cast the movie! Who is Victor? Beverly?

Oh, this is very difficult because I know of actors who have the range a capability to act the tormented part of Victor, but they do not fit the physical description of Victor. Someone like David Tennant could play the roll because his emotional range is powerful enough to play the roll convincingly. However, Victor would be considered - by description - to be Latino or Central American.

In the same way, Beverly is unique in that she is red-haired and green-eyed, but she has a touch of Asian ancestry. I know of no actress that meets that description. Unlike other characters, I didn't model these two after an existing actor... but I do have images I found to match them.

#4 - What is the basic plot of Outcasts?

In Outcasts, the Areth finally show their true intentions - although not their true face. When their plan to use humans as little more than cattle is revealed, they drop the fa├žade of co-existence and attack Earth. The true fight for the continuing existence of mankind begins.

Victor now lives among the men and women of Phoenix, but he is far from accepted. He is looked at with suspicion and scorn, especially when their base is attacked. He fights a constant battle for control - a battle which he sometimes loses - but his willingness to sacrifice for the people he has come to care so much for is evident when he once again betrays his brethren to save mankind.

#5 - What's the latest movie you saw?

You can tell it's been awhile, because I'm not sure... but I'm pretty sure it was New Moon.

#6 - What other genres do you like to write? Why?

My next favorite after science fiction romance is romantic suspense. But as of late, I've rekindled my love for contemporary romance with a dramatic flare.

#7 - Do write to music? Does music inspire your writing?

I do write to music, and it all depends on what I'm writing - right down to the scene I'm writing - as to what I listen to. For instance, while working on my last book I listened to a lot of Michael Buble because he strikes me as very romantic and the kind of dancing his music inspires is prone to the intimate. Since the book was very romantic - even for a romance LOL - it worked well.

#8 - Tell me a little bit about your muse.

My muse's name is Alabaster. Her name symbolizes either the pure white joy I feel when I write a wonderful scene - or the pure white of my open document when I can't find the words to write. She's a fickle creature - often flittering off to realms unknown on a whim - only to show up later with a new dress, a drink with one of those little paper umbrellas in it, and a great new storyline. She's an elegant creature with long red hair and ethereal features. She drives me crazy, and I'd go crazy without her.


  1. Gail,
    I love hearing about the Areth. I can tell you have a real passion not only for the characters, but for the story in its totality. I'm looking forward to reading the series.

    I love your Victor and the complexities of the character. I have a similiar Viktor in my "Moldavia" series, so I totally understand the push/pull the character feels.

    *waves* "HI" to Alabaster.


  2. My love for all the characters in this series is probably why I can't let them go... and I'm writing another series. :-)

    I have a connection to all the characters, but Victor was a challenge and a fascinating character to write. It's not often you can write a 'hero' with the complexities and problems that Victor has.

    He brings new meaning to the phrase 'Tortured hero'.

  3. Alabaster sounds like a wonderful and fun muse. :)

    Wow, Victor is complex and a fascinating character. You must have poured a lot of emotions into writing him. I'm looking forward to reading your Phoenix Rebellion series.