Today in the Library we have Delphine Woods, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Delphine, please introduce yourself:
I’m a Shropshire based author of historical fiction. When I was a teenager, I had my heart set on becoming an actress, but after my first year at drama school, I decided the lifestyle wasn’t for me. I’m too much of a home bird! After wondering what to do for a while, I decided to join the Open University. I studied a variety of modules including creative writing, medicine through history, and children’s literature, and graduated in 2016.
Whilst studying and travelling Europe, I began writing novels. My first novel was a contemporary romance, and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the process (and knowing I could actually write a full novel), the genre didn’t ignite my passion. History is what I love – Victorian history in particular. After a couple of years writing and learning as much as I could about self-publishing, the first novel in my Convenient Women Collection went live in August 2019. There are now five books in the Collection, and I will be publishing the first book in a new, time-slip series soon.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
I find it a little hard to define my genre. My books are gothic historical mystery-thrillers, with a dash of romance (although very few romantically happy endings occur). I love gothic texts, with wild landscapes and unstable minds, and these themes are prominent in many of my stories. Undoubtedly, there is a feminist slant to my work, and often I depict the horrific ways women have been treated in the past. I like to make my women fight back, in whatever way they can.
Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
Who doesn’t love a good book? Some books just grab you from the start and won’t let go. I am quite a slow reader, I can’t read a book in a day, but I know one has truly given me the bug when I can’t stop thinking about it.
I tend to stick to my favourite genres. Those are, of course, gothic and/or historical fiction, but it is nice to escape into some light-hearted romance once in a while. I’m not all doom and gloom! I also enjoy psychological thrillers and I am fascinated with the human mind and what makes people tick.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
My routine varies with each book and my state of mind. I used to like writing first thing in the morning, but that was before I had to keep up with emails. I tend to reply to emails and write newsletters when I first arrive at my work space. Late morning and early afternoon I write my novels, at the moment, anyway. I most definitely cannot write at night. I clock off no later than 6pm and cherish my peaceful evenings with my husband. The same goes for the weekend, although as any writer knows, the mind never really stops plotting and planning.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
I have always thought I would like to be a psychologist. However, in reality, I’m not sure how good I would be. Working in a living museum has appealed to me too, as has becoming a dog trainer!
If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?
I actually had an actor in mind as I wrote The Promise Keeper. The main male character is called Tom Oliver, and I would want the beautiful Douglas Booth to play him. Tom has Douglas’ full lips, his dark hair, his chiselled jawline, and his brooding sense of danger. I didn’t have a specific actress in mind when I wrote Liz, the female lead, but I think Holliday Grainger would be a good fit because of her beauty and poise – I loved her as Lucrezia in The Borgias.
You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?
Firstly, there is no way on earth you would get me into that spaceship! I hate flying at the best of times, but, my five books would be … Gosh, this is hard! First up, it has to be Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, my all-time favourite novel which inspired me to write Victorian gothic novels. Second, I would chose Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase because even now, two years after reading it, I can still step into the larder or onto the cliff edge. Philippa Gregory’s The Queen’s Fool would be third. It has been years since I read this book, but the opening scene hooked me straight away, and I still think about bats flying amidst the orange trees at the Alhambra Palace. Fourth, Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White because Sugar is my favourite ever literary character, and Ramola Garai played her so well in the TV mini-series. Finally, I’m going to throw something lighter into the mix because Mars would be pretty hard work. I Love Capri by Belinda Jones is a summer rom-com which has been on my mother’s bookshelf for over a decade and has been flicked through too many times! We all need a bit of love and sunshine!
Please tell us about your latest published work.
The last book in my Convenient Women Collection is The Little Wife. Set in 1875 in an isolated Scottish castle, this book has murder, intrigue, sexual tension, and a fight for survival.
When Beatrice Brown’s husband is duty-bound to return to the ominous Dhuloch Castle, she has no choice but to leave her home and go with him. The journey to the Scottish Highlands is nerve-shattering for Beatrice, and life in such a desolate place is no better. All she wants is to go back to England, back to her old, boring life.
As she struggles to cope with the isolation and her husband’s cruel nature, Beatrice finds comfort in the only friendly face, the castle’s mistress, Clementine Montgomery. Soon, the two embark on a passionate affair. With Beatrice’s desires and vibrancy reawakened, she begins to wonder what her husband is hiding. Why did he flee the castle all those years ago?
Something evil lurks inside Dhuloch’s walls. It will not rest until it has blood.
Will Beatrice have the strength to uncover the truth before the castle claims its next victim?
Every book in this collection is a standalone and can be read in any order. If you want a taste of my work for free, join my newsletter and you will receive the Convenient Women Collection novella, The Butcher’s Wife, to whet your appetite.
If you would like to know more about Delphine and her work, please check out her links below:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about being a writer Delphine. As a new writer myself, I felt myself resonating with a lot of your thoughts, such as being pleasantly surprised at being able to actually write and publish a novel, to nodding at your statement that a writer’s mind “never really stops plotting and planning”. It is wonderful to discover writing as a medium to share our passions and thoughts. Overall, well-said!