Monday Meet-an-Author: DelSheree Gladden

You know her books. You’ve read her bio. Today, get to know a little better the USA Today bestselling author DelSheree Gladden: how she started writing and publishing, and how she has grown as an author.

First, tell us about your books, in chronological order: title, genre, a couple of words for each.

Currently, I have a little more than 30 published novels spread over a variety of genres. I started out in young adult paranormal and branched off into contemporary romance, cozy mystery, new adult and a few other random projects. Obviously, I’m really bad at following traditional publishing advice like finding your lane and staying in it. I write whatever piques my interest.

At what stage in your life did you first publish a book?

I published my first book in 2010 when I still had little kids at home. It was a creative break from everyday life and was a good way for me to destress and take some time for myself. I’ve always loved books and I wanted to write, but I hadn’t made a serious effort at it until after I was married and had kids. Life was still super busy then, but I really needed an outlet and writing became a way for me to not only be creative but to work through the thoughts and emotions bouncing around in my head all day.

At first, I tried the publishing by the agent/publisher route, but publishing was going through a major shift around that time and I had zero credentials to catch anyone’s attention. I got a lot of form letter and polite rejections. Self-publishing was really just getting started around that time, and I figured why not give it a try.

I’ve been with several publishers over the years, but I now prefer the freedom and control I have with publishing on my own.

How do you think your writing and your books have changed since then?

My focus has shifted away from the Young Adult genre, mainly because my reading interests changed over the years. I still love YA and romance but, as my life changed, I needed different types of escape. I love mysteries, and as I was struggling with anxiety and depression, I needed humor as well. I fell in love with cozy mysteries like Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune Series and cute, quicky books like anything from Gina LaManna.

As far as my writing goes, it’s become less descriptive and emotional. I still put a lot of emotion into my books, but I think I’m a little more focused and concise now.

Tell us about your work in progress.

I’m finishing up editing on Memory’s Edge: Part 2, which has been in the works for close to 7 years, or something ridiculous like that. It’s a pretty emotional book, which has been hard for me to work on at times because of things going on in my personal life. As things calmed down for me, I started making better progress on it and it feels really good to finally have it done. I’m not sure what I’ll start working on next. I have several other half-finished projects and too many ideas floating around my thoughts.

What impacts, if any, has the pandemic had on your writing?

It was at least partly responsible for my writing slowly way down over the last two years. It was harder to focus and get my head in the right space to write. It compounded some other things I was struggling with and I really just had to step away from writing for a while. I started sewing again, because I still needed a creative outlet, but I’m finally starting to feel the need to write and build new characters and worlds again on a regular basis.

Is there anything about your first book that you wish you had written, or done differently?

Well, I completely rewrote my first book three times before publishing it, so I already tackled that one! I do look back at my early work and occasionally think I should do this or that, but they are what they are at this point and I have too many other projects I want to work on.

What are some things about others’ books that you love?

I love books that can make me laugh and pull me out of my own world. I already mentioned DeLeon and LeManna as favorites, but Jim Butcher is another favorite of mine because he manages to be funny and dark and serious and sexy all at the same time.

When I’m in a more serious mood, I really enjoy the depth of Erin Morgenstern and Glendy Vanderah. They have amazingly complex characters and worlds that really suck me in. I enjoy trying out new authors, as well as reading classic literature.

Even though I don’t love every classic I read, there’s always something interesting I can learn about the craft of writing from them.

What are some things about others’ books that you detest?

I won’t name specific books or authors, but I’ve become less patient with books as my reading time has shrunk. Things that will put me off a book really fast are whiney or self-indulgent characters, overused tropes that follow a formula so well I can guess the full storyline within a few pages, and overly simplistic plots and characters that have no real conflict.

What advice do you have for new or aspiring authors today?

Read critically. Reading for fun is great, but if you really want to learn the craft of writing, pick up a favorite book and read it critically. Ask why you like it, what makes the characters interesting, why is the conflict so compelling, and what would you have done differently?

Asking yourself these questions will teach you so much! Also, pay attention to the form, punctuation, and style. It always surprises me how many readers who want to write have no idea how to punctuate dialogue or organize a scene. You have a lot of great teachers available right on your Kindle or bookshelf.

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her family spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family. When not writing novels, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and working with other authors.

DelSheree has several bestselling young adult series and has hit the USA Today Bestseller list twice as part of box sets. DelSheree also has contemporary romance, cozy mystery, and paranormal new adult series. Her writing is as varied as her reading interests.

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