Name: Emerald Delmara
Where are you from: Currently, I live in Heavener, Oklahoma, USA
A little about yourself (i.e. your education, family life, etc.):
Emerald: I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, but I grew up pretty equally between Texas and Arkansas during my formative years. I have an Associate of Arts with a concentration in Psychology with the University of Phoenix, and I am currently working on obtaining my Bachelor of Arts in English, with a focus in Psychology, at the same college. I am single with no children, but as an editor with Panoptic Book Services, on top of being a full-time student and a published author, I stay so busy there are times I feel like the Road Runner from Looney Tunes.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Emerald: Well, the team that I am honored to be a part of at Panoptic Book Services quite recently teamed up with Kace Tripp Publishing. A collaboration between the independent services we offer at Panoptic—such as editing, formatting, cover creation, and more—and a publishing company is quite an exciting venture. It’s a partnership that I’m rather proud to be included within. I work with people that I respect and admire, and it’s obvious to those who know me that I love my job. On top of that, I have a new short story, “Blood Moon,”which is coming out soon in the most recent PSG Publishing anthology, Chronicles of Crime, so I’m super excited about that, too. I was published in their two previous anthologies, with my story, “Eternal Dreams,”which was included in Library of Dreams, and my other story, “Scheherazade,” that was featured in Chamber of Music.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Emerald: Books were my first true love. I read most of anything I could get my hands on as a young child, a habit I’m happy to say I’ve never broken. Reading was my ultimate pleasure in life, but whenever I would be unsatisfied with the way a part of a story would go, I would mentally plot out the way I thought it should be. My little quirk quickly transformed itself into the need to put pen to paper, so I began writing those altered storylines down in journals and spare notebooks when I was around eight or nine years old. After about a year of that, I began jotting down my own short stories whenever I could, along with amateur attempts at poetry, though I tried to do it secretly. It was my favorite way to express my creativity, and I don’t think I can adequately describe how much joy it gave me back then, or how much it still does to this day.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Emerald: Funnily enough, not until I was around eighteen or so. A friend of mine and I were discussing my habit of always carrying a notebook around with me and how I was often scribbling in it. I told her that it was just a hobby, and she told me—rather firmly, actually—that the fact I had been writing stories and poems down for that many years meant that I was definitely awriter. I think I blinked at her a few times in shock as I’d always thought myself to be an amateur scribbler at best, but then it hit me that she might be onto something. Even so, to be perfectly frank, there are times that it still doesn’t feel quite real to me, even with two published short stories and one about to be released. It’s so surprising, in the best way, to see tangible proof that people like to read what I feel the need to write.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Emerald: I currently have two books in progress, both of which are posted on Wattpad. I’m a bit ashamed to say that life has a habit of preventing me from finishing them, but I do work on them in my spare time. The first novel that I began writing when I was eighteen or nineteen, MoonlitWishes, started because I was stargazing one night—another habit I thoroughly enjoy—on a swing in my Aunt’s backyard in Texas, and I saw a shooting star. As usual, the nursery rhyme, Star Light, Star Bright, rang out in my head. That led to a bit of fanciful daydreaming and, with the aid of an extremely intense desire for a relaxing glass of red wine, my main character, Siobhan (also known as Sio), and her story began to form in my mind. That was the moment Moonlit Wishes was born.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Emerald: I’m a very detail-oriented type of writer. I have this need to get the reader to see exactly what’s in my head, and I mainly do that by describing for them what my characters are experiencing with their five senses. Of course, I can get rather long-winded if I’m not on my guard, but it’s the way I feel that my best work comes out. I can always cut down the details later if necessary. I’ve also been told I’m a very “flowy” writer from a couple of close friends of mine, which I admit is a compliment that makes me feel ridiculously good.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Emerald: The title Moonlit Wishes came about because my main character, Sio, begins her story with a very significant wish on a star under a full moon. While she doesn’t realize how important that wish is, it’s where everything begins and what ultimately ties everything together in the tale.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Emerald: It’s a little hard to answer that with certainty as I didn’t have a particular message in mind as I began my novel. However, I can say that Sio is a character who, under her short-temper and guarded personality, is a victim of abuse. The trauma she went through colors her entire life, though she doesn’t always realize that. In telling her story, I wanted readers who have been through similar experiences, or any trauma really, to be able to relate to her and the mistakes she makes throughout her tale. So, perhaps the message that one could take from the book is that inner strength can always be regained, no matter what you’ve suffered. While it isn’t easy, you can take back your power and triumph over it all, regardless of what mistakes you make along the way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Emerald: Moonlit Wishes showcases a combination of Greek and Celtic mythologies, with an emphasis on Greek gods and goddesses, and the Fae. Considering that it’s heavy on the magical and mystical side of things, there are many parts of it that aren’t realistic. However, there are parts where my real-life experiences inevitably seeped through. For example, I have experienced abuse and trauma in my life. While I don’t talk about it often, it’s not a secret, and it’s something I know I’ll live with for the rest of my life. As such, writing about Sio’s journey has been quite therapeutic for me and helped me to grow in various ways as she matures throughout her story.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Emerald: To be frank, this question isn’t easy for me to answer. I feel that many books I have read, over various genres, all have had a hand in influencing my life in different ways. However, some that come to mind are many of Jane Austen’s works, Emily Brontë’sWuthering Heights, Charlotte Brontë’sJane Eyre, and anything of Edgar Allan Poe’s literary pieces—as you can tell, I’m a big fan of the classics. Some modern works I can think of include pretty much anything of Jeaniene Frost’s, Laurell K. Hamilton’s, Anne Rice’s, P.C. Cast’s, Ilona Andrew’s and Nora Robert’s works. I can’t get enough of those authors.
There are so many more that I could mention, but I’d be writing that list for days. My taste in books is rather eclectic and, like I said, I enjoy reading most anything I can get my hands on. As to a mentor, well, it feels that any book with a strong, badass female protagonist goes a long way toward making me feel like I can take on the world, and helps me see the good in myself at the same time. Although, I do admit that Nora Robert’s style of writing has had a definite impact on my own career as an author, so she could be considered a type of “mentor” in my eyes. Her gorgeous use of flowing detail and characterization is something that I aspire to in my own works, as it truly fascinates me as a reader. For years, I’ve been attempting to achieve a personal type of style where I can paint my worlds into being by using the creative brushstrokes of my written words.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Emerald: I love reading books from new authors, but I sadly haven’t had the time to read any as of late. I do my best to stay active and up-to-date in the writing community as much as I can, so I come across new material to read often. Unsurprisingly, my to-be-read pile has grown to monstrous proportions. Some of my new favorite authors that I have discovered over the past several years include: Kim Fry, Maya Starling, Alys Arden, Alex Rosa, Jaycee Ford, Len Webster, Wren Michaels, Melanie Macek, Anne Conley, K.S. Haigwood, Trewest (on Wattpad) and Caitlin Ann Patton (also on Wattpad) to name a few. Each author’s work is wonderful and captivating in various ways, and I love to pounce on anything from them I can get my hands upon.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Emerald: In truth, there are two people that immediately come to mind: Kim Fry and Maya Starling. Maya and I met back when I was a “silent reader” on Wattpad and when I found the courage to gush about my love of her work directly to her on the website, a friendship that I am constantly grateful for was formed. She was one of the driving factors that led to me posting my work on the same site for the world to read. I kept my work under lock and key before that. I would never have done it without her and another friend of mine from Wattpad, Caitlin. Maya’s been a major support for my writing ever since. I refer to her as my “authoritative writing mom” for a good reason, though she always lovingly pushes me in the best way possible, in both writing and life.
Kim Fry has been just as much support to me. She’s actually the very first person that told me how much she enjoyed my short story Eternal Dreams, back when we were just acquaintances being published in the same anthology.Her blunt, snarky honesty is a joy to me, and I treasure it. And when something isn’t working in my stories, she doesn’t hesitate to let me know. I can count on her for writing advice, emotional support, and to tell me things straight up with no chaser, especially when I’m being too “nice,” as she’s put it before.
Now that we are all working together at Panoptic Book Services, it’s like a dream come true. They are my family in every way but blood, and the best friends that anyone could ever desire. And as fellow authors, they understand me and my quirks better than I’d ever imagined friends could. They like my particular brand of crazy and, since theirs matches mine, they’re my safe-haven in the awesome whirlwind of insanity that is the writing community.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Emerald: Absolutely. Writing isn’t just something I do; it’s a large part of who I am. While I am also an editor, which is a job I adore, writing is in my soul. I will never stop pursuing my goal of having my books in bookstores one day. It might take me awhile to get to that point, but I’m in it for the long-haul.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Emerald: Of course. In fact, I’m planning on ripping Moonlit Wishes to shreds and creating a much better version of it by the time I’m ready to publish. You see, this book has grown with me, in both writing style and content. The beginning chapters, for instance, are in need of a massive overhaul, as I was just finding my footing in regards to personal writing style and other literary elements when I first started to post. I discovered that scribbling in notebooks over the years didn’t truly prepare me for learning my craft like I thought it would. As I have learned more and polished my skills over the years, the chapters of my book have benefitted from it. Even so, I know that making mistakes is a part of the process and, though I am an obsessive perfectionist, I’ve mostly made my peace with it. While undeniably flawed, my novel is filled with pieces of my soul, and that is something I’d never change.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Emerald: As I mentioned previously, my interest was created by books. Books were my escape and some of my truest friends. The leap I made from reading to writing seems inevitable to me now, though to be fair, that’s an observation which is based on hindsight.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Emerald: While the two novels I mentioned before are still works in progress, the piece I have most recently worked on is my short story, “Blood Moon.” It’s a tale about a snarky, badass witch and her familiar, who is a female ghost from the Victorian era that just so happens to be completely in love with Steampunk fashion, and what happens when they fight together on the night an unforeseen blood moon changes everything. Suffice it to say; I had an absolute blast writing that story!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Emerald: Time, time, time. Oh, and did I mention time? Life gets so busy that there are days or weeks where I can’t find the time to write a word, which is something I’m hoping to change soon. Kim Fry has told me repeatedly that I need to find a way to set aside some sacred writing time and stick to it, and she couldn’t be more right. “Adulting” takes up most of my life, so I feel my hardest challenge where writing is concerned is giving it the time it deserves.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Emerald: Not very much at this point. If I have places that I need to visualize that I can’t travel to, there have been instances where friends of mine who’ve been to those places have sent me photographs from their trips and shared with me details of their experiences. It’s been a lifesaver. Still, I love to travel, and I can’t wait to do it more—especially if it helps me with my writing! That just takes the concept of traveling from fun up to bliss.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Emerald: The covers for my novels Moonlit Wishes and Crescent Rose Moon were both created by Maya Starling. She also designed and created all three of the PSG Publishing anthology covers. She’s crazy talented and her work, in both writing and cover creation, is topnotch. Any future covers I need will also be done by her through Panoptic Book Services.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Emerald: Apart from finding the time, I’d say emotional writer’s block. I have to be in a certain frame of mind, for the most part, to get a good writing flow. While life has gotten in the way of completing my novels, part of what I mean by “life getting in the way” is having to deal with any form of the dreaded writer’s block. For example, when I unexpectedly lost my grandmother a few years ago, I couldn’t write a word for months. Each time I tried, it ended quite badly. The day that I was able to get my writing flow back was a huge relief.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Emerald: It taught me to have a thicker skin. Over the years, I’ve had to learn to be open to constructive criticism and to learn the difference between it and destructive criticism. Also, I’ve had to learn ways to help me not lose my unique “voice” as an author.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Emerald: I’m not really sure. For instance, when I created my protagonist, Sio, from Moonlit Wishes I had an image of her in my head and I’ve not yet come across anyone who has made me think, “Ooooh, that’s her! That’s mySio!” I’ve had the same problem with all my characters in my stories. However, I might try to cast my characters in the future, once my current works in progress are completed.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Emerald: If writing is what you love, never give up on it. That, and coffee (or tea) will be your best friend if it isn’t already.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Emerald: I love you all! Y’all have my heartfelt thanks for reading my stories, and I hope y’all continue to enjoy my work in the future. Also, reviews are always welcome. A review to an author is like being given water after walking all day through a hot, sunny desert: necessaryforsurvival.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Emerald: I’m reading both Jeaniene Frost’s Into the Fire and Maya Starling’s Dragon’s Treasure at the moment. Admittedly, I’m reading Dragon’s Treasure more religiously right now as the second one in the series, Dragon’s Prize, was launched yesterday! I just cannot wait to grab a copy and dive in!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Emerald: Unfortunately, no. However, some of the earliest books I do remember reading included a book on Egyptian mythology, a book on Greek mythology, and a book that dealt with astronomy. I used to carry those three with me everywhere. It’s a shame that I don’t remember what happened to them. They were my treasures during many of my younger formative years, and they inspired my intense, deeply abiding love for all three subjects.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Emerald: I love to laugh. Not only does it make me feel good, but it’s also a great stress reliever. Things that make me laugh include my goofy friends and family, witty dialog in books (and if it’s dry and snarky, so much the better), comedy movies, and the silly antics of my three dogs. There are about six people, other than Maya and Kim, who can get me to laugh at the drop of a hat. My cousins Staci, Shanna, and Jr, are all able to make me laugh until my stomach hurts from their ridiculous jokes and actions without fail.
My long-time friend, Penny, can just look at me in this certainway, a trick she’s been using on me since I was in fifth grade and she was in seventh, and it’s like a guaranteed recipe for insta-giggles. My little sister in all ways but blood, Ashley, is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Her facial expressions and the random things she spouts off make me laugh until I feel that I might pass out. Plus, my grandpa is a hoot. His methods of teasing are adorable and a surefire way to make me laugh instantaneously. So, it’s a given that I laugh quite a bit. I don’t much like to cry, but if it’s needed, it’ll happen. Emotional or sad endings in books or movies usually make me want to cry the most, though I do enjoy those.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Emerald: Actually, I have two: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I mention both of them because I’m in love with the music they created both separately and together. I’m a huge fan of old jazz, and if it’s on vinyl, that’s even better. I’d love to hear them sing together in person and ask them a ton of questions about music and their memories about their amazing careers.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Emerald: I’ve never really thought about that, but probably something that holds a special place in my heart. For instance, the first four lines of William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…”
Either that or a few lines from Max Ehrmann’s poem Desiderata. That’s another literary work that I find breathtakingly beautiful. Personally, I find great meaning in both pieces.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Emerald: Yes, I do. There are several but off the top of my head: reading, music, herbalism, crocheting, sketching and painting, video games, movies, puzzles, card games, frequenting bookstores and coffeehouses, going to plays and art galleries, going to Jazz clubs, attending the rodeo, etc. The list could continue. However, the only hobby I get to indulge in regularly is music. Not only do I listen to it constantly as I find it fulfilling and therapeutic, but I also grew up in a very musical family. About ninety percent of my immediate and extended family can sing and play various instruments, and I’m no exception to that.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Emerald: There are a ton I could name, but there are only a few TV shows I have the time to keep up with. Some of those consist of MacGyver, LethalWeapon, Supernatural, HawaiiFive-0, DoctorWho, Elementary, BlueExorcist and a few other animes, and TheOriginals. I tend to put on an episode of something to help me wind down before I fall asleep if my brain won’t shut off. Some movies I love include the Underworld series, the ResidentEvil series, the FastandFurious series, the X-Men series, anything from the Marvel Universe and most films from the DC Universe. Honestly, I love shows and movies from all different genres. If it’s good, and I have the time, I’ll watch it.
Fiona: Favorite foods/colors/music:
Emerald: My favorite foods would be various kinds of authentic world cuisine, Cajun food, or good ole homemade Southern cooking—I was born and raised in the Southern states of the USA, so that’s practically a requirement. Though, to be completely truthful, I should add coffee to that list. It may not be a food, but I’ve been known to say it’s “manna from the heavens!” Yeah, I can’t possibly tell you how much I love my coffee. I don’t have a favorite color, though I am not a big fan of white, dull gray, or most shades of pink. I can tell you that I tend to favor black quite a bit, as well as lush, vibrant jewel tones (can you tell yet that I was raised by an artist?). As to music, I am rather eclectic with my tastes. I’ll listen to most anything … unless it’s death metal. Nothing against it, it’s just not to my tastes. The beauty of music to me is how it makes me feel and the almost instantaneous changes it can have on my current mood. Some of my recent musical choices include TheStaves, Nightwish, BreakingBenjamin, Evanescence, songs from LouisArmstrong and EllaFitzgerald, TheBandPerry, TheWeeknd, and various hits from the 90’s and early 2000’s.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Emerald: A Librarian. Put me in a place where I can read and take care of books and, as long as I have my precious coffee (in a spill-proof mug, of course), I would be in utter nirvana. Truthfully, saying I’m a bookworm just doesn’t quite encompass my obsession.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Emerald: I have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EmeraldDelmara — but I don’t have a website, yet. That will come in the future. However, you can typically find me at the Panoptic Book Services website — www.panoptic-books.com — or at the Panoptic Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/panopticbooks . Also, my Twitter account can be found here — https://twitter.com/sirena91 — and my Wattpad account here— https://www.wattpad.com/user/GoddessSirena .
And if you’re interested in the anthologies, you can purchase them here