Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed author Amelia Estelle Dellos about her writing and her recently released, Delilah Recovered, a carefully plotted, engrossing urban fantasy with plenty of twists and turns. (Read the review here.) A writer and filmmaker, she is an MFA candidate and professor at Columbia College Chicago.
Amelia Estelle Dellos is a writer and filmmaker. She is an MFA candidate and professor at Columbia College Chicago. Her novel, Delilah Recovered, won 2017 Watty on the international platform Wattpad and has found a home at Atmosphere Press. The novel will be published in Fall 2022.
Her short story “Psychopomp” was published in Writing in Place: Stories from the Pandemic, and she will have another short story, “It’s About Time” published in Grand Dame Literary Journal. Writing in Place debuted on Amazon at number four in Essays and number nineteen in Short Stories. As a screenwriter and director, Amelia’s films have appeared on PBS and Amazon Prime. Her films received the following accolades: Sundance International Writer’s Lab finalist, Chicago International Film Festival Pitch Winner, and the Women’s International Film Festival finalist.
She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, teenage daughter, and two feisty little dogs who video bomb her Zoom meetings. For more info, follow her on Instagram at @aedellos or visit her website ameliatellsstories.com.
Delilah Recovered is the story of Dee, a powerful witch, and descendant of Joan of Arc. What kind of research did you do to prepare for this story, and how long did you spend researching?
Like many writers, I love to do research, and I spent a good part of the last ten or so years reading everything I could get my hands on about witches, the history of witches, Joan of Arc, Versailles during the Sun King’s reign (1600-1700s), King Solomon, the Bible, and witchcraft. I have shelves in my office filled with fiction and non-fiction books.
What inspired the premise of Delilah Recovered? Did you start with the historical figures and events, or did that factor in later?
Honestly, the character Delilah came to me, and I had to write her story. I wanted to write about the hero’s journey from a distinct female POV. I was really interested in exploring what would happen to a heroine – if her reward wasn’t romantic love but something else. The historical figures and events came in later.
Delilah Recovered is your debut novel. What was your journey to publishing, and what advice would you give to other novelists looking to get their work into the market?
I have had a long and winding road in publishing. I entered contests, and I won 2017 Watty on Wattpad. I have pitched Delilah to agents. I have done the cold call queries. My advice is to keep writing and know that there are many roads that can lead to publishing – especially your first novel. My advice is to keep an open mind. It is also important to have a community of writers and creative people to share your work with and process your highs and lows of being a writer. I have been very lucky to have such supportive family and friends.
Which scene or chapter in the book is your favorite? Why?
My favorite chapter is the Halloween party with all the supernatural characters – witches, witch hunters, Grigori, fairies, and Romani. I had so much fun writing a supernatural Halloween party. It was just a fun chapter to write and imagine how magical people would celebrate Halloween.
In addition to writing this novel and publishing short stories, you have written and directed films. What is the most valuable thing you have learned from screenwriting that you have carried into your prose writing?
The most important thing I learned from screenwriting is that something HAS TO HAPPEN in every scene to move the story forward, and it’s even better if the scene or chapter starts on a positive note and ends on a negative or vice versa.
Why did you choose to write Delilah Recovered as a novel rather than a screenplay? Could you see it being adapted to film?
I actually wrote a TV treatment first, before I began writing the novel, but the story I had in my head was too big to fit into a 90-page screenplay! I had to write it as a novel. I could most definitely see this story as a film or a TV series.
Who and what ultimately inspired you to become a writer?
I am not sure I can answer this in a few sentences. My parents, Mary and George, were both voracious readers. They were ALWAYS reading. I grew up loving to read. So, I would say that they both inspired me to love stories.
What’s next for you?
I am an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. I am working on my thesis, which is auto-fiction about my mother dying. It is a sharp turn from speculative paranormal fiction! I am challenging myself to look at structure and narrative in a new way. Yes, there will be mystical realism elements because I am always drawn to the magical and the mystical.
Facebook: amelia dellos
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