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Meet Delilah Marvelle – The New "Mistress of Pleasure"

So this week brings the arrival of a debut author, Delilah Marvelle and her wonderful new book, Mistress of Pleasure. I asked Delilah to drop by and meet all of you, so without any further ado:

1) Delilah, how exciting to see your first book Mistress of Pleasure coming out! Congratulations! What was the spark that ignited this story? In other words what came to you first?

Thank you so much for the congrats, Elizabeth, and for having me on your blog! I’m definately thrilled to see my first book in print.

Ah, yes. The spark that ignited this story. I have to say my sparks come to me the way all of my stories always come to me. By my relentless lust for reading out of print history books. I happened to come across the fascinating biography of Ninon de L’Enclos, a 17th century French courtesan. Her approach to men and to life was unlike any I’ve seen. She had a philosphy that was almost too modern for her time period. What was more, she kept her bedroom door open to many aristocratic men for more reasons than sex. She actually held meetings and formal classes and discussions all evolving around the topic of sex, love and philosophy. And it really got me to thinking. Why not turn the idea of her “meetings” into an actual school. For men. Which of course made me only laugh at the absurdity. What sort of men would actually attend something like that? The idea wouldn’t leave me alone. Especially because there hadn’t been anything like it written.

At the same time when this was all bubbling in my head, my grandmother re-appeared in my life after 2o years of absence. That is a whole other story altogether. Nonetheless, she became the perfect inspiration for the grandmother and creator of the school, Madame de Maitenon. My grandmother, you see, is a retired, eccentric opera singer who speaks with a heavy accent and always refers to sex matter of factly. She amused me so much so that I fused her characteristics with the idea of a retired French courtesan and a school that educates men in the art of love and seduction.

2) Since we’ve known each other for years, I know that you wrote for a long time before you were published and even gave up for a time, what kept you coming back to the computer and kept you writing during that time?

This industry is truly a tough one and can literally make or break you. It’s just a matter of how tough your skin is and how much you believe in your creativity and your writing. I gave up on my writing, not because I was altogether fed up with the industry, but because of a heartbreaking incident involving my husband. It’s a sad and long story (a whole seperate blog’s worth…) but my husband was almost murdered in front of me and my two children. My mind and creativity was blocked completely. The last thing I wanted to do was write. Reality settled in on me and I realized being a stay at home mother and a writer wasn’t going to support me or my kids financially should anything ever happen to my husband. So I went back to pursue a different dream. One that I knew I could make happen. To become a chef.

A month after entering culinary school, I found out that I finaled in the Golden Heart and I was thrown back into the writing world I loved and desperately missed so much. At Nationals in Dallas, a wonderful friend and fellow Golden Heart finalist from 2005, who had not only won the Golden Heart but sold, Victoria Dahl, demanded to know why I hadn’t sold considering I was going on my second Golden Heart final. She then asked me what I was working on. Before the incident with my husband, I had finished Mistress of Pleasure, which is all I felt I really had to offer. Victoria loved the concept, and bless her heart, pitched it to her editor. A little over a week after her pitch and my sending off the complete, I received “the call” that I had sold. So I would have to say, the Golden Heart is was what drew me back. Without a doubt.

3) If you were going to do a Hollywood style pitch for Mistress of Pleasure, what would it be? And who would star in the movie?

I’m so horrible at pitches. I swear to you, I could write a 400 page book, no problem whatsoever, but something that is less than a page frightens me… Regardless, I’ll do my best. Granddaughter of a renowned courtesan, Maybelle de Maitenon has absolutely no interest in her grandmother’s school where gentlemen receive instruction – in the art of seduction. But when her grandmother falls ill, leaving her to run the school, and see to the education of five men, including the one man who taught her a thing or two about sex, Maybelle discovers that her life, and her heart, will never be the same. So it’s interesting you ask me who would star in the movie. Because I always like to use stars to describe my characters to the art department. Then everyone knows what you really want, as opposed to tall, dark and handsome. Because everyone’s idea of tall, dark and handsome varies. Greatly. So the heroine, Maybelle de Maitenon would be played by Jessica Biel. Edmund Worthington, the duke of Rutherford, would be played by Hugh Jackman (oh be still my beating heart!).

4) Okay, just for fun–your book features the School of Gallantry, what lessons in love do you think most modern men could stand to learn? And remember, this is a PG-13 blog. Most days.

LOL. What can’t men stand to learn? I truly believe that a good man in his heart of hearts wants to please his woman. To ensure not only her happiness, but all of her bedroom desires. The trouble men run into is that pride steps in from time to time and they never really get around to “asking” how to go about doing that. And therein is the problem. For as Madame de Maitenon would say, “Even the King of England requires help from his subjects in order to retain his throne…”

Questions for Delilah? Ask away! Then make sure you go out and get a copy of Mistress of Pleasure–I loved it and I know you will too.

23 comments to “Meet Delilah Marvelle – The New "Mistress of Pleasure"”

  1. Christina Arbini
    September 4th, 2008 at 8:09 am · Link

    Great interview Elizabeth and Delilah! I have my copy of D’s book waiting for me to pick up at Barnes & Noble tonight. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to reading it! I love how you related the character to your own grandmother, too. My question is, as a historical writer, especially on a topic that isn’t so widely known as Ninon de L’Enclo, how much time did you have to spend researching everything before you even started the book?

  2. Eliza B.
    September 4th, 2008 at 9:01 am · Link

    Dear Delilah:

    I love the idea of this story and can’t wait to read it. You said the inspiration for this story came from reading out of print history books. Where do you find such things? My local branch library doesn’t even carry Romance, let alone old history titles.

  3. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 9:04 am · Link

    Hello beautiful Christina!!!
    Thank you SO much for your support πŸ˜€ Great question, BTW!! When it comes to historicals, I like to call it the neverending research project. I am FOREVER researching my era (which is London 1830). Reading, buying books, googling, compiling words, comparing notes and so on. Because of the amount of research and time I’ve spent in this particular era, I vowed to myself on sticking with my time period for a bit of time. To really get to know it. Aside from the fact that I truly love the era, because it’s not quite Regency but not quite Victorian, either, it also makes it more fun to write following books without having to pick up a research book every 2 seconds. So in answer to your question, how much time did I actually spend researching this book? I’d say it took me a good two months before I really started writing, then in between, I would leave X’s in the places I had doubts or questions and went back and further researched all those X’s. Research can slow down writing quite a bit, so I usually try to do it first and then only resort to more if I truly need it.

  4. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 9:13 am · Link

    My Dearest Eliza,
    I actually buy all of my research books. So I go to used bookstores like Powell’s, when I went to London, I went CRAZY there hunting through used bookstores, and I frequent garage sales, as well. Especially estate sales when they’re getting rid of books. I have found amazing treasures for very little money. There is also half.com and Abebooks.com and of course, ebay. Now mind you, I am fortunate to where my husband supports my research book fetish. Many writers simply cannot afford to spend money on research books. To those writers, I say use google books and online newspaper sources that are free. The Times, for instance, offers an introductory free access to all their archives. Take advantage of these promos by setting aside research time to delve into their archives for the amount of time you have for free. And of course, you could always e-mail me if you’re looking for something in particular πŸ˜€ My collection is endless and I would be more than willing to direct you toward a particular book. Hope this helps!

  5. Michele Ann Young
    September 4th, 2008 at 9:44 am · Link

    Fascinating, and you almost became a chef. I am so happy you didn’t. I can’t wait to read your story and I love the way the idea developed over time. You are right it is certainly innovative. Congratulations.

    What is coming next? Or is it too soon to ask?

  6. Renee Knowles
    September 4th, 2008 at 9:52 am · Link

    Delilah and Elizabeth,

    This is a great interview. Love to hear how the story unfolded. I bought my copy and it’s at the top of my TBR pile!



  7. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 10:01 am · Link

    Lovely Michele,
    I still became a chef (graduated with honors from culinary school) but I only cook for the family now. Which they don’t mind, LOL. And thank you for the congrats! So what is coming next? No, it isn’t too soon to ask! Don’t think I mentioned it in my interview, but Mistress of Pleasure is actually part of a 5 book series. A series in which all 5 books take place at the same exact time. There are scenes that take place in each book but from flipped point of views. And all the characters are seen, if even in glimpses, in each and every book. The beauty of these books is that they don’t have to be read in any particular order because they all more or less end in the same place. And though it’s challenging to write it’s OH so fun! So Lord of Pleasure, book 2 in the series, is already done and slotted for August 4th, 2009. I just started book 3, Moment of Pleasure, and have book 4 and 5 more or less plotted out and ready to write.

  8. Jessa Slade
    September 4th, 2008 at 10:05 am · Link

    Delilah, who would play Grandmother?

  9. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 10:06 am · Link

    Thank you Renee for buying my book!
    And if you haven’t already, do go out and buy Elizabeth’s book! (Sorry, Elizabeth, that I’m plugging you on your own blog, LOL). Seriously. The story is so fresh and unexpected. I’m already halfway through the book and let me say, paranormal historical romance officially belongs to Elizabeth Boyle. I won’t say too much more because I don’t want to give anything away, but believe me, you’ll love it.

  10. Renee Lynn Scott
    September 4th, 2008 at 10:09 am · Link

    I too get most of my ideas from history books.

    I think your book sounds fantabulously wonderful. I will definitely be looking for it on the shelves.

    Congratulations on your release.


  11. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 10:10 am · Link

    Hello my darling Jessa,
    I do believe the role of grandmother would have to go to my own grandmother. It’s only fitting, LOL. And hollywood needs new talent, anyway.

  12. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 10:17 am · Link

    To the fabulous Renee Lynn Scott (as there was another Renee earlier and I don’t want there to be confusion, LOL),
    It really is curious how when I was younger history books were a nuisance. Was that the case for you, too? I am so happy I outgrew THAT! And I thank you for the fantabulous congrats!

  13. AndreaW
    September 4th, 2008 at 1:34 pm · Link

    Awesome interview! Congrats on your debut, Delilah! I’ve had this one on my TBB list for over a month and picked it up at B&N today. Can’t wait to read it!

  14. Maya Rodale
    September 4th, 2008 at 1:54 pm · Link

    Delilah, Mistress Of Pleasure sounds great! I love the title, too! I’m off to amazon now…

  15. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 2:13 pm · Link

    Hello Andrea! Thank you for the wonderful congrats and thank you so much for the support and picking up the book!
    Hello Maya! My editor, John Scognamiglio, came up with the title πŸ˜€ He is the king of titles, from what I hear from other authors. Thank you for posting and for checking out my book! All this cyber love is gonna burst my little heart, LOL.

  16. Christine Trent
    September 4th, 2008 at 4:16 pm · Link

    Delilah, did you by any chance name Madame de Maitenon after Louis XIV’s final mistress (whom I believe he married eventually)?

    Amazon sent me a notice today that your book is on its way to my mailbox. Yay! A thousand congrats on your publication.


  17. Lynn Jordan--Authors Tools
    September 4th, 2008 at 4:50 pm · Link

    Delilah, I’m so glad you came back to writing. You are such an inspiration to us all.

    There are those of us who are meant to write. No matter what else happens in our life, we always come back to putting our words on paper.

  18. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 8:38 pm · Link

    My oh-so brilliant Christine,
    How you have unearthed my secrets, I know not! LOL Ah, yes. I did use the name, although I dropped the N so I wasn’t altogether stealing her name. Although I don’t think dead people can sue you, can they? I bloody hope not…
    Dearest Lynn,
    I thank you for your words. They truly mean a lot to me. What I have come to realize is that most writers begin writing for a reason. Be it something that changed their lives or something that sparked an emotion that needed to be released. I find the more hardship one experiences in life, the more one has to share and the more one SHOULD share. Thank you so much for posting.

  19. Maggie Jaimeson
    September 4th, 2008 at 9:52 pm · Link

    I am so excited for you, Delilah and can’t wait to read all five of the books. Just the concept is intriguing. As for Elizabeth Boyle, she’s the best. I already have her latest and most others of hers. The pair of you together are quite the treat. Huge Congratulations on your successful debut.

  20. Delilah Marvelle
    September 4th, 2008 at 9:57 pm · Link

    Maggie, thank you. You’re such an angel. And I couldn’t agree with you more about Elizabeth. She’s amazing. As are her books!!! Her latest? OMG! Too much fun.

  21. Karen H in NC
    September 5th, 2008 at 6:22 am · Link

    Hi ladies,

    Great interview, Delilah. Love the premise of this book and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I keep trying for a freebie…maybe I’ll get lucky here today. If not, I have a BN GC burning a hole in my pocket!

    Happy Friday everyone. Hope you all have plans for a great weekend.

  22. Delilah Marvelle
    September 5th, 2008 at 8:53 am · Link

    Hello my dearest Karen!
    Thank you so much for posting and for liking the premise enough to want a copy of my book! Given your wonderful enthusiasm, I’d give you a freebie here and now (for I love a gal who asks for what she wants! LOL) but sadly, all 50 of my author copies from my publisher have already been spoken for. πŸ™ My husband is still recovering from the costs of sending those suckers out . I promise that I’ll have more to hand out when the second book in this series, Lord of Pleasure, is out!!

  23. Shannon McKelden
    September 7th, 2008 at 7:58 pm · Link

    I’m so excited about this book, Delilah! The more I read about it the more intrigued I am. As soon as my September book-buying ban is over, I’ll be picking it up. At Emerald City! That would be great!


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