Welcome to Untamed Publishing's Author Interviews! As a company that caters to the self-published author, we want to highlight and support indie authors. There is a vast array of talent amongst us, and here's the opportunity to connect the readers to their next favorite author! This year we have an all new round of writers from all genres so let's saddle in and get ready for an Untamable 2018!
This interview features, Author Delia Pitts. Let's get lost and found in the mystery stories of Delia's words!
Hi Delia! Welcome to the UP HOT SEAT! Before we begin, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the mother of twin adult sons, happily married, and recently retired from a long career in university administration. Prior to working in universities, I served for eleven years as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service.
With such an esteemed career and now being retired, why did you make the decision to become a published author?
I have loved reading and writing stories for as long as I can remember. Five years ago, I became an active author of fan fiction, publishing over sixty stories to date. Through the supportive community of fandom and fan fiction writers, I renewed my interest in publishing my own original fiction. Retiring in mid-2017 gave me the time and the incentive to follow my dream to write and publish my first mystery novel.
And Congratulations on publishing your very first novel! Since you've mentioned it let's go ahead and get into your work. Tell us about your current book project.
I am writing the fifth installment of the murder mystery series featuring the detectives of the neighborhood agency introduced in my first novel, 'Lost and Found in Harlem'.
Let's talk about your upcoming writings that are in the works and when they will be released.
I plan to publish the second book in the murder mystery series in February 2018. This book will include two novellas which present a twisty and darker side to the detective SJ Rook who was introduced in the first volume, 'Lost and Found in Harlem'. I think readers will enjoy learning more about Rook and what drives him as they follow him through several tough and dangerous new cases.
Very interesting. I love books that follow characters that you can grow with. Now this series is mystery, is this the genre that you write or are there others?
Yes, I write mystery novels. I find the genre satisfying to several of my fondest interests: solving the puzzle of a specific crime while simultaneously unveiling the inner workings of dense and complicated characters who tumble into challenging situations. In some ways, all novels are mystery stories; I like to make mine honest, twisty, and satisfying adventures into the uncovered corners of the human psyche.
That is true there is an element of mystery in all novels, yet it takes a uniqueness to develop an entire mystery and suspense novel. What do you feel makes your writing stand apart from other authors?
My murder mysteries take a great deal from the cozy side of the mystery genre. But I inject a darker edge to the stories which brings them closer to the classic noir fiction. This combination gives my novels a twist that keeps me challenged by the balancing act and intrigued by how far I can push at both ends of the spectrum. My diverse cast of characters is almost entirely drawn from “minority” groups: African American, Asian American, African or Caribbean immigrant, Latinos. As a result, my novels don’t have the texture of most others in the mystery genre.
Fabulous! I love the diversity in your work. I know that you've just begun and you have a wonderful road ahead with Detective Rook, but do you have any other aspirations for your writing career?
I hope to start another detective series later in 2018, this one focused on cases based in my hometown, Chicago. I intend to develop a woman operative for this new series. Although even now, I hope never to set aside my first love, the detective Rook who is my focus right now. He keeps me intrigued and happy so I think I’ll be writing his adventures for some time to come.
Yes, incorporate those powerful feminine characters! We're going to switch gears for a moment and find out a little more about you as an author. If you were to write a book about yourself what would you name it? Why?
“The Curious Diplomat.” I’d focus on my intellectual drive, the strong foundation in love of books from both my librarian mother and my psychologist father, and my life-long interests in education, peace and social justice work.
Now when it comes to writing, are you a morning person or a night owl?
I usually awake early to spend the morning reading newspapers, answering emails, and making notes for my writing projects. I start writing at mid-afternoon and will spend two to five hours at the computer each day. Since I’ve retired, I find that I keep to this writing schedule even on weekends.
Although having and sticking to a writing schedule might be your unique skill set as an author lol, please tell us a unique writing habit that you have.
Often, I lie awake in the morning running through new sections of dialogue for the book I’m working on. I have developed entire scenes in my head this way, flat on my back under the covers. Then I have to rush downstairs, fix a pot of coffee, and jot down the pages of dialogue before I lose it in the fog of day.
I know that you're new to the publishing industry, however, would you like to collaborate with other authors on a book project?
I would love to work with other mystery writers in putting together an anthology of contemporary detective fiction with a twist.
Ok, so let's get to know Delia a bit more, aside from writing. Will you tell us your top 5 favorite indie authors. Why are they your faves?
My favorite indie authors include: Elizabeth White and Robert W. Fuller, who write brilliantly in non-fiction books that point to inequities in our current society and how to work to correct them; John Burgess and Robert Earle, who write delicately-crafted and searching fiction that rewards the reader willing to plunge into psychological and historical depths while travelling to distant lands; and Angeline Bishop Thomas, who puts new polish onto romance novels.
Aside from writing, what are your favorite past times?
I am active on the boards of several civic and cultural organizations that give back to the communities they serve. I enjoy theater, movies, reading, and watching TV.
Now you give us a little tea on Delia! Tell us one thing about you that is a little-known fact.
I am a practicing Quaker, having been a member of the Society of Friends for more than three decades. It’s not a coincidence that my detective, Rook, doesn’t carry a gun. As he puts it: carrying a gun is an invitation to violence and he refuses to join that party.
Although you're newer to the industry, we still would like to get your insight to help aspiring and other new authors who are beginning their journey. What is one myth about being a published author that you learned and would like to share?
It is a myth that being published by a major publishing houses guarantees high quality work. I’ve been impressed by the strong quality of the books produced by indie writers and publishers. The gatekeeper function is something that we – readers and writers -- all benefit from challenging.
Lastly, What is one lesson you’ve learned since becoming a published author?
Writing is hard work. You have to get up and do it every day, without fail, or you won’t get anything done. But the fun and satisfaction of seeing your work in the hands of excited readers is well worth the effort.
Delia, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thank you for allowing UP to be of service to you as a new author and we look forward to your future works! Please connect with the author and check out her book, "Lost and Found in Harlem".
Blurb and Website
When Shelba Rook’s home burns down, he realizes he has nothing left. What’s a jobless, homeless private detective to do? He’s feeling more than a little lost.
Shelba Rook’s “home” was in fact a room in a Harlem brothel. Not only does the catastrophic fire at Auberge Rouge take the few items he could call his earthly possessions; it ends up killing an innocent woman.
As Rook struggles to find a job, his thoughts keep returning to the woman at the Auberge Rouge. Who was she? Did someone set the fire intending to kill her? As Rook ponders these mysteries, he stumbles on one of Harlem’s best-kept secrets—the Ross Agency.
The detective agency, run by the magnanimous Norment Ross and his far more practical daughter, Sabrina, takes tiny neighborhood cases the police are too busy to solve. They’re looking for a new agent, and Rook knows a job is a job. Rook may look down on the types of cases Norment and Brina take, but the two will prove to be invaluable allies as he searches for an arsonist and a murderer. From tiny cases to huge investigations, the Ross Agency is ready for anything!