Welcome to Sunday Spotlight. Today our guest is Darcy Delany, here to talk about her latest novel, Guardian of the Grail.
When did you start writing and what was the catalyst?
I started writing while living in PNG. Life there was so extraordinary that I was inspired to put pen to paper, after years of knowing I would write ‘one day’ but never knowing when that would be, or what I could possibly write about! I remember listening to bird call one beautiful morning and I knew it was time. I started jotting down ideas and a few years later when I was back in Australia, I started learning the craft of writing and joined writers groups. I became hooked on writing and have been creating furiously ever since!
How many novels have you written and published?
I’ve written two Modern Day Fairy Tale novellas (I Don’t Date in December and The Go-Between), and two short story collections (Love Gone Wrong: Short Stories about Love and All its Debacles, and Sweet Revenge).
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Six weeks to draft the novel, after approximately two months of character development and planning the story. If I’m writing historical I spend a few months doing in depth research. Then I’ll leave the story for at least two months before starting the editing process.
How has being Australian AND a woman impacted on your writing and/or writing career?
I’m very lucky to be an Australian women, because I have freedom of speech, safety, security and stability. I am free to write whatever I choose and to have a career as an author. These benefits are not shared by women across the world, something I keep in mind every day. My good fortune encourages me to share my stories in the hope they will help or inspire others.
What authors and types of books do you love the most?
I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and at the moment I’m working my way through The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell. I like strong characters in my books, and Bernard Cornwell’s Uhtred of Bebbanburg is definitely that! He’s also a softie, despite being a fearless warrior- he falls in love often and easily, and he goes to a woman’s aid without a thought to his own safety.
What inspired your most recent book?
I’ve always loved the medieval period and after a visit to York, decided to set a novel there. I’m also fascinated by legends of the Holy Grail, so this book was my chance to work it into a story.
How much research do you do? As an author of Historical Fiction, how do you balance the demands of getting the facts right and telling a good story?
I spend months researching my book to get started, but in the case of my current novel, a World War Two historical, I’ve been researching on and off for over ten years!
Accuracy and authenticity is important to me, so I won’t start writing until I’m comfortable with the facts I have. My rule is- can I continue writing the story without knowing this information? If yes, I start writing and put in a note to research the issue later. I do the same when I come across small issues as I write, which always happens-otherwise I’ll disappear into a rabbit hole researching medieval women’s shoes or some such, rather than writing my book!
If I can’t verify the accuracy of a detail I’m writing about, then I consider how important it is to the story, and either remove it, or leave it in and add a disclaimer.
Do you read your book reviews? Do you appreciate reader feedback and take it on board, even if it is negative? How do you deal with negative feedback after spending so much time writing your book?
I do read my reviews, but I take a philosophical approach to them. If someone has negative feedback, I consider whether any part of it is accurate, and what might be subjective. Everyone has a perspective, but whether it’s truth is a different question entirely.
How much planning do you do? Do you plan / plot the entire story from beginning to end, or let it evolve naturally as the writing progresses? In terms of characters, are they already a firm picture in your mind before you start writing or do they develop a personality of their own as the story progresses?
I plan in detail- then when I start writing I’ll deviate! Planning is an important step in my creative process, as it allows me time to sift through various options. I find that once I start writing I’ve already written the story in my head a few times, and once I get typing I come up with an even better version! The characters definitely develop a personality as the story evolves-I get so engrossed in what I’m doing that the characters and story take on their own momentum!
Can you tell us something about yourself that not many people would know?
I’m a keen yoga practitioner- just don’t ask me to try eagle pose!
If you could go back in time for a year, which historical era would you choose to live in?
Medieval era. It’s always fascinated me- the knights, castles, tournaments.
If you could sit down for an afternoon with an iconic person from history, who would you choose to spend that time with?
I’d love to talk politics and international relations with Winston Churchill-what would he do about some of the problems we currently face?
About Guardian of the Grail:
Guardian of the Grail is a medieval romantic thriller about a girl called Christiana Bromley, whose family are part of a secret society that guards the Holy Grail. Christiana has inherited the responsibility of Guardian, at the cost of a future with the man she loves, Hugh Stewart. Forced to choose between the man she loves and doing her duty, Christiana faces the ultimate test of faith when evil forces seek to steal the Grail and threaten Hugh’s life. Will Christiana’s duty to the Grail triumph over her love for Hugh? Or will she doom humanity to evil and save Hugh instead?