I’m pleased to welcome the fascinating Delora Dennis into the spotlight. She’s used her own personal experiences of living in a funeral home (among others) to her advantage. Find out how!
Believe it or not, Delora Dennis was born in a funeral home. She lived her own version of Six Feet Under, in Belen, New Mexico, growing up around embalming rooms, dead bodies, and caskets. But beyond this unusual fact, Delora has enjoyed a very normal life.
An inauspicious launch of her writing career took place at the tender age of nine, with the production of her play (with a long-since forgotten title) by her elementary school’s Home and School Association. Of course, the trajectory of said launch didn’t exactly follow a straight path.
Read on for more about Delora and her book!
Detours along the way included earning a degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico, getting married, having two beautiful daughters, getting divorced and returning to school to earn a masters degree in human resources development from Webster University.
After stints as a human resources manager, assistant funeral director, legislative analyst, speech writer, state fair exhibit manager, and independent video producer, Delora eventually returned to the path and continued to write in one form or another – video scripts, website content, how-to books, product reviews, informative articles, blog posts, press releases, etc.
Looking back now it’s clear all of this was preparation for the type of writing she knew she had to try, but resisted like crazy.
“I’ve discovered writing fiction is like playing with a new toy. Once you’ve mastered the basics, the real fun comes from finding new ways to play with it. I’m having a ball.”
Ever since her ex husband, Dave, abruptly left town with the woman who helped break up her marriage, Kay Manning, has worked hard to provide a sense of stability and “new normal” for her two girls. With the help of a challenging (and sometimes, wacky) job as an apprentice funeral director, Kay is proud she has survived and thrived.
Now, seven years later, Kay’s stable world is rocked again by Dave’s unexpected return and eager desire to resume his role as “Dad.” But instead of the smooth co-parenting relationship Dave promises, Kay finds herself having to navigate around all the trap doors created by the old, familiar gap between what Dave says and what he does.
Can Kay find a way to push past her disappointment and unresolved feelings for Dave and finally move on with her life?
Now let’s shine the spotlight on Delora!
Delora: I was just finishing a scene in a chapter that involved the main character and a friend discussing their long-time, weird, cosmic connection. Just as I finished the scene, I received a text from the person I had just written about. First of all, I hadn’t heard from this person in months. Second, we proceeded to have the same conversation that had just taken place in the scene. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was so crazy I wanted to go around showing people, but I didn’t think they’d believe I’d written the scene BEFORE I had the text conversation.
Maer: Now that is a great story! And I believe you. 🙂 Do you use beta readers and, if so, what qualities do you look for in a beta?
Delora: My only source of beta readers (so far) tend to be my mother and sister. I can count on them for their insight, attention to detail, brutal honesty and low fees (i.e., FREE).
Maer: What is a one line synopsis for your book?
Delora: Same Old Truths is an engaging, satisfying story for any betrayed wife who’s ever asked herself, “When is he finally going to get his?”
Maer: Is this a stand-alone or part of a series?
Delora: Same Old Truths is the second story in The Reluctant Avenger series. Code for Karma is the first and I’m currently working on the third.
Maer: Which character, other than Kay, is one of your favorites to write and why?
Delora: I really enjoy writing my antagonist, Dave Nolan. The more despicable I make him, the more ideas I’m able to come up for my main character, Kay Manning, to triumph over his dastardly deeds.
Maer: The bad ones are so much fun. If you had to pick a color to describe Kay what would that be and why?
Delora: I envision Kay Manning as a sunny yellow. Her dealings with her weaselly ex-husband make take her down for a while, but she always rises, bright and ready for another new day.
Maer: Who are your favorite authors to read?
Delora: Marian Keyes, Amy Tan, Susan Isaacs, Jen Lancaster. I love women authors who can make me laugh, cry, and keep me on the edge of my seat.
Maer: Can you share a bit about the project you’re working on now?
Delora: Currently, I’m writing the third story in The Reluctant Avenger series. I’ve written the series in reverse order and this last story takes place seven years prior to Same Old Truths. So far, it’s turning out to have a darker tone and I’m trying to decide if an injection of humor is in order.
A brief excerpt: “Dave is leaving. There’s no question about it. It’s just a matter of when – and how long Kay can delay the inevitable.”
Maer: So, what do you do when you’re not writing?
Delora: I’ve always been an avid reader, so when I’m not writing I’m usually rotating between three or four novels. Learning how to effectively promote my books also takes up a lot of my days. But I always make sure to make time for my grandsons, 3 and 7, who bring unspeakable joy into my life.
Maer: Wow, busy lady! What influenced you to write in your genre? Do you write in others?
Delora: The Reluctant Avenger series is pretty much the telling of my personal story. I know there are plenty of women, just like me, who have gone through similar experiences. When I’m finished with this series I plan to take a little breather from the Contemporary Women genre. I’ve completed an outline for a children’s book which I’m looking forward to writing. Ultimately, I hope to return to writing stories about strong, funny, triumphant women, just because there are so many of us out there.
Maer: That’s great. What music, if any, do you like to listen to while writing?
Delora: I’m embarrassed to admit I’m a “can’t-walk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time” kind of person. When I was little, I could never sing and play piano at the same time. It had to be one or the other. Writing and listening to music is the same. I need complete silence to think.
Maer: Delora, thanks again for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at what you do. Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Delora: I have to say being in the spotlight is fun. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my book, my series and a little about myself.
Maer: It was my pleasure.
You can buy Same Old Truths (Divorce) (The Reluctant Avenger) at Amazon.
You can follow Delora at these links: