did you see what I did there?
Debut author Jan Delima’s first novel, Celtic Moon, will be available later this month from Ace (Amazon link), so she’ll be winning pretty soon. Jan is a writer, a librarian, a painter, a historian, and she tells a great story, so I am absolutely thrilled to have her with us today!
Q. Your debut novel, Celtic Moon, will be available at the end of September, congratulations! Can you tell us a little about the book?
A. Thank you so much! First, I must tell you that I loved your questions and that they felt very personal. I think I shared more than I probably would have otherwise. So, again, thank you!
Celtic Moon is a shape-shifter urban fantasy novel with strong romantic elements. It is basically a story of redemption. The fantasy world is built around Celtic mythology. Sophie, my lead female character, escaped a clan of shifters under some brutal circumstances. For the sake of her unborn child she leaves Dylan, her son’s father, who has sworn to protect the very people who threatened her.
Laughter whispered through the trees.
“Run, human. Run far away and never return… because if you do, I’ll kill you and that bastard child you carry in your womb.”
The novel begins fifteen years later—when Sophie’s son begins to show signs of becoming a shifter. She turns to his father for help. However, she is no longer the gentle scientist that Dylan once knew, but a woman who has learned how to protect herself and those she loves most.
Dylan also has secrets to reveal. He is an ancient Celtic warrior. His race of shape-shifting wolves has lived among humans for over two-thousand years—but they are losing their ability to shift with each new generation, which creates some interesting dynamics amongst his kind. The Guardians, vicious warriors who want to restore their race back to the powerful creatures of Celtic lore, are hunting all weaker members for extermination. Dylan is the leader and protector of those weaker members, in a territory tucked away in a wilderness region of modern Maine.
“There are five hundred and twelve people living in Rhuddin Village under my protection. I refuse to have their welfare compromised. Their lives are no less valuable than ours.”
When Sophie returns, older and wiser, she begins to understand Dylan’s protective (and alpha) behavior, while he discovers his wife was brutally attacked and threatened by the very same people he’s sworn to protect. And that’s where the real fun begins.
Q. Have you always been a fan of urban fantasy? Why did you choose to write in that genre?
A. Urban fantasy and romance are my two favorite genres to read and Celtic Moon is a mixture of both. I think I have landed in a growing cross-over genre of “urban fantasy romance” and would not be surprised if we see that term used more frequently in the future as the lines between the two genres become less defined. I have also heard the term “romantic urban fantasy” thrown about as well. Your question has inspired me to write a blog post about this topic, because I was very surprised when my novel was pulled from paranormal romance and published as urban fantasy. It’s written in third person, each installment of the series follows a love story between two new protagonists, but the fantasy element is continual—and graphic.
Quite a bit of research went into building this fantasy world, which may be another reason I landed on the urban fantasy side things rather than romance. Plus there are some very dark moments that may have been too strong for romance; my characters are at war and fighting for innocents against real evil.
There is also a historical foundation within my world building. It is based on actual human history and their legends. I drew inspiration for my story from the Mabinogion, a collection of Celtic folklore. Some of the terms I use, like Bleidd/Wolf, Gwarchodwyr/ Guardian, and Drwgddyddwg/Evil Bringer—are the actual ancient terms with their English translations from medieval Welsh manuscripts. As a note of reference, some of the first mentions of the King Arthur tales are in the Mabinogion, although I did not go down that route because it has been done many, many times. I focused more on the tales of Taliesin, a legendary bard, who is an actual character in Celtic Moon.
Q. So many of us want to be an author “some day”. Can you tell us a little about your journey from “I have an idea” to “I have a book coming out”?
A. I have always been a prolific reader. I was fortunate to work in a beautiful library for almost two decades. I love the literary world, reading stories and talking about them with other readers. It was a natural progression for me to become a writer. However, the journey to publication was not easy. It took me six novels and ten years before I sold, and a lot of early mornings with a pot of coffee to stay awake for my day job. A good portion of Celtic Moon was written before work, from 4-7 AM, and I am NOT a morning person, but it was the only time of day that I managed to be productive. Writing after work wasn’t an option. Once I got home, made dinner for the kids and switched a load of laundry…Well, we’ve all been there so I will not go on—let’s just say there wasn’t a single creative thought coming from my brain afterward. It was all worth it though!
I learned that I had been offered a three book contract while I was in the middle of teaching a Photoshop class to teens in the library’s computer lab. That’s a fun story I will have to share someday!
Q. In Celtic Moon, Dylan lives in a small town in Maine. You also live in Maine! Are any of the places in Celtic Moon based on towns or buildings that really exist?
A. The environment is very real but I made up my own fictitious town of Rhuddin Village. “Rhuddin” means “heart of timber” in ancient Welsh. I picture it located somewhere in the imaginary neverland between Kokadjo and Millinocket, where all the mountains of Maine connect within a northern forest region.
This area is also a snowmobiling hub in winter, because the forests and trails connect to Canada. My husband and I took a trip up to Kokadjo via car this year (we usually snowmobile) and the satellite GPS system didn’t even recognize it as a valid location, so there are still places in Maine that are very much isolated.
Also, when creating the world for my story I placed different Celtic wolf clans in territories conducive to the habitat of wolves. I have scattered them across the globe. Although we don’t “officially” have wolves in Maine, we do have the perfect environment. Maine is just the first stop in this series. New Hampshire is next. Idaho and Canada are potential future locations.
Q. Beyond being a writer, you are also an accomplished painter! What similarities have you found (if any) between writing and painting?
A. Thank you! I love this question, by the way. I think a good painting tells a story. They are both forms of storytelling using different mediums. Often times my characters come to me in vivid images and I think that extends from my painter’s brain. It helps me picture them as real people and then recreate them as three-dimensional characters in print.
Q. My favorite interview not-question is a fill in the blanks: if you like ______, _______ and ______, you’ll love Celtic Moon!
A. Oh, this is such an intimidating question to answer! I am going to list three of my favorite genres, and then three of my favorite authors from those genres. I am beyond humbled that Celtic Moon is published by ACE/Penguin, the same company as two of these series that I adore as a reader!
My favorite genres: Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, epic fantasy.
Just a few of my favorite authors in these genres: J.R. Ward, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris
Q. On the books page of your website, I noticed that each book in your series specifies two different people. For example, Celtic Moon is Dylan and Sophie, and the second book in the series is Luc and Rosa, and that has piqued my interest! Does the series follow a family, or jump through time, or something completely different?
A. Celtic Moon is the first book of the Celtic Wolves series, set in current day but as if these wolves of Celtic lore have lived among us in secret for over two thousand years. There is a meld of medieval and modern elements. Book two begins three days after Celtic Moon ends. Each installment follows the love story of a new set of characters, much like a paranormal romance series will do, but the fantasy story is continual like an urban fantasy. The fantasy elements have an epic feel to them, based on actual history and folklore that expand with each book. Each book has one protagonist from the Black family: Dylan Black is the main male protagonist in Celtic Moon; Luc Black is his brother and the main male protagonist in the second book; Elen, their sister, is the heroine in the third installment.
If you would like a peek at these characters, you can visit Koko’s page on my website. It’s a fun little thing I’ve done in the form of journal pages. The pages touch upon a few of the characters from this series from the viewpoint of Luc’s deceased wife, a woman he’s vowed to honor as his mate. In book two, Rosa provides Luc with a good amount of temptation, and I promise you—he will fall!
Thanks so much Jan!