Monday, 6 December 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Q&A with Gail R. Delaney

STEPH: I don't know much about Precious Things. Can you tell me a little about it?

GAIL: Benjamin Prescott Roth has lived his entire life with the goal of escaping his father’s overbearing shadow, and forgetting the look of contempt in his father’s eyes. Born completely deaf, he has lived with the fact that he wasn’t good enough to be loved by his parents. He grew up in wealth, but without affection.

Jewell Kincaid is everything he ever needed, but didn’t know he wanted. She’s beautiful, feisty, intelligent… and she sees him for who he is past his barriers and barbed wire.

When the foundation of his life is ripped out from beneath him, Jewell is there for him in ways he never dared ask of her. She doesn’t frighten easily, and she loves him too much to make him go it alone.

STEPH: I understand this was released previously. How long did it take for you to revise?

GAIL: Oh, months! I’ve been working on it off and on for well over a year, but was in ‘crunch time’ for about two months. I was late passing it in to my editor. * blushes *

It was very difficult for many reasons. The first was that I initially wrote this story years ago, and I’m a different writer than I was then. I’ve learned a great deal (I think), about story arcs and how to add interest without high drama.

The second was deciding what parts of the story worked and needed to stay to keep the book true to its original theme, and what parts needed to go… and of course, what needed to be added.

I’m very happy with the final product, and I hope people won’t be able to tell where I cut and where I added.

STEPH: Where is the story set? How important is the setting to the story?

GAIL: The story is set in Boston, Massachusetts with trips to Manchester, New Hampshire and Hartford, Connecticut. I picked Boston for a couple reasons at the time… first, I lived in that area so I could write what I knew. Two, they work in the financial industry and next to New York City – Boston is a financial hub. Manchester and Hartford serve as contrasts to each other – her simple, quiet and peaceful upbringing in Manchester in comparison to his cold, wealthy and hard childhood in Hartford.

STEPH: What inspired you to write a deaf hero?

GAIL: To be honest, I don’t remember the exact moment when I ‘decided’ Benjamin was deaf. In truth, Benjamin told me he was deaf. A writer understands what I mean. ☺ But, I felt I could take on a deaf character because I’ve had people in my lives that gave me some insight into the aspects of living as a deaf person – though it’s changed in the years since I wrote the book. My mother began losing her hearing when she was in her 20s, and by the time I was old enough to remember, I knew I had to do things like be in front of her and speak ‘at’ her rather than from across the room. She could read lips and peace together words if we did that. Same with my best friend growing up. She lost a lot of her hearing to Reyes Syndrome (Like Jewell’s mom in the book).

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

GAIL: Yes, I do. I have the Nook and I absolutely love it.

STEPH: Do you have any holiday traditions you'd like to share?

GAIL: I like to begin Christmas as close to Thanksgiving as I can, before Thanksgiving if I can get it past my husband. LOL The kids and I usually put the Christmas tree up the day or weekend after Thanksgiving, and we play Christmas music nice and loud as we do it. ☺

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

GAIL: I am a pantser with mild plotter tendencies. I approach a book with an overall idea of what might happen, and a general timeline. But I do not outline, and I have very few notes I might put down somewhere.

STEPH: Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?

GAIL: No, and while it sounds like a challenge, I don’t think I’m inclined to do it. I’ve done it – meaning, I’ve written 50k words in a month (more actually) – just not within the confines of ‘NaNoWriMo’. I would like to go to some of the events around NaNo, just to make some connections with other writers, but I wouldn’t work for the word count.

STEPH: Who is your favorite? Monet, Renior, Picasso.

GAIL: Well, I can exclude Picasso outright… not much of an abstract art fan. Of the two remaining, I will go with Monet. His paintings are very soothing to me.


  1. Great interview!! I love the fact that Picasso doesn't "speak" to you either! LOL!

    My mother is also a lip reader- has been all her life. She hears only vowels- not consonents -she was only diagnosed with that in her 30s- hearing aids would't help. Once I told her (wasn't looking at her) that my son gave me a "cool shirt" for Christmas - she heard "poodle Skirt" - say the vowels out loud and you'll see why. We still tease her because the look she gave me was priceless!

    I want to read this one- if I ever get a chance to read again! Got some edits to get out! LOL! J.

  2. What a beautiful cover. The story sounds both wonderful and unique. I had to laugh at your plotting tendencies--that would make me a plotter with mild panster tendencies. A complete opposite! ;)

  3. What a challenge to write a story where the hero who is deaf! Did you have to study sign language and such? I know the deaf community is quite different than the hearing community.

  4. Great interview. My comfort zone is Contemporary, but every so often I enjoy mixing it up with a different genre. It keeps me fresh.
    Deborrah Girard