I’d like to welcome Dellani Oakes, author of Indian Summer.
Dellani Oakes has lived in Florida since 1989. During her first visit to St. Augustine, Florida, she fell in love with the city. Her admiration for the early Spanish settlers turned into inspiration for her novel, “Indian Summer”, available from Second Wind Publishing
Although she rejected most of the original draft, certain aspects of the tale remained. For instance, it is told in first person by the youngest daughter of the Spanish Governor, Gabriella Deza. Years of research went into the background of the story, as well as several trips to St. Augustine to immerse herself in the history and feel of the ancient city.
“Indian Summer” is as much an adventure as it is a romance. Replete with spies, intrigue, mystery, enigmatic Indians and just a little bit of lust, it is a tale with something for everyone. 
“Indian Summer” is Dellani’s first published novel. Her second novel, “The Lone Wolf” is a science fiction adventure set in the distant future. “The Lone Wolf” is due for release in 2009. Dellani is currently working on a sequel to “Indian Summer” called “Savage Heart”. Be looking for it soon from Second Wind Publishing.
Dellani is a former A.P. English teacher, editor and newspaper columnist. She is now a substitute teacher, author and Mary Kay lady. Which means she can instruct a classroom full students, correct your grammar and give you makeup and skin care advice, all without breaking a sweat.
Indian Summer
In the spring of 1739, Gabriella Deza stands poised on the verge of womanhood. A product of her guarded upbringing, she is naive in the ways of love until dashing Manuel Enriques declares his love for her. Quite by accident, Gabriella uncovers a plot hatched by British spy whose job is to capture the town and fort, Castillo de San Marcos. Armed with her information, Manuel embarks on a dangerous mission to entrap the spy and save the town from being overthrown by the British. Unfortunately, Gabriella herself is caught in the trap and kidnapped. Can Manuel find and save her before it is too late?
Dellani tells us about her journey and what inspired her to write. 
All writers have experienced the sudden inspiration to write something. It usually hits me when I’m driving and I have to struggle at a stop light to find a pen and scrap of paper to write it down. I try not to rely on my memory as it’s let me down before – many times.
I think we all remember best the first big inspiration, the one that tells us we must write that novel we’ve had inside us, struggling to get out. For me, the moment was two fold. First, I felt the awe inspiring history when I first visited St. Augustine, Florida in the spring of 1990. My mother and I took my two eldest children to the country’s oldest city just before Easter that year. As she was more interested in visiting buildings of the Flagler era (late 1880’s), we didn’t see much of the Spanish Quarter.
Though the Flagler buildings are magnificent, they pale in comparison with the old, hulking fortress, Castillo de San Marcos. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I went to St. Augustine as a chaperone for my son’s field trip, that I realized quite how amazing the Old City was.
Walking into the fort for the first time, one is overwhelmed by the age and stability of the place. Built of coquina, (koh-kee-nuh), a soft, whitish rock made up of fragments of shells and rock sediment, the fort dominates the heart of the city. Admittedly, I wasn’t thinking about how perfect a setting it was for a novel while shepherding a group of fourth graders, but it took root in my mind.
The second phase of inspiration came when I went to visit the Sugar Mill Ruins in New Smyrna Beach, Florida (1825-1849). Destroyed during the Seminole Wars, it was burned to the ground and everyone was killed or fled. It was then that I thought, “I would love to write a book about this!”
I went home and started to write. Of course, I had no real information, nothing but a wild imagination and a pen and paper. (I was pretty low tech in those days.) Frustrated by my lack of knowledge of the period, the book faltered and fell by the way. I put the pages in a drawer and left them. One day, years later, as I dug around cleaning the drawer, I found the pages in the notebook. I picked them up and started reading.
“This is crap,” I told myself. “Why did I write such garbage?”
I went through what I had written, tossing the pages, only to dig them out of the trash immediately. I knew I could do more with it. This was a good idea, it just needed work. I kept less than seven handwritten pages, filing the rest to remind myself what not to do, and “Indian Summer” was born.
It’s been through dozens of re-writes, face lifts and reconfigurations, but finally, after years of research, editing and hard work, “Indian Summer” was published by Second Wind Publishing in August of 2008!
I’ve moved on to writing contemporary romance, as well as a science fiction series, but I will never forget the ‘birth’ of my first novel.
Thank you, Dellani, for sharing your story with us.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in Dellani Oakes, Indian Summer, Seminole Wars, Spanish QuarterFlorida, St. Augustine, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to

  1. Velda, thank you so much for having me here today. The site is great and I plan to return often. Dellani

  2. Norm Brown says:

    I have read Indian Summer. It does have a little something for everyone. The story takes place in an interesting time in early America.

  3. ~Sia McKye~ says:

    Dellani, what a good story on the birth of a mad author, lol!Research is a pain but boy you need it. I’ve walked into places like you describe and you can literally feel the history. You know me, I love history to begin with. There have been a few places, I swear you almost catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye of a figure or a scene…I’m glad you fished those 7 pages out and finished it. 🙂

  4. Indian Summer sounds fascinating. It’s definitely on my To Be Read list. Thanks for sharing how it was conceived. Sherrie HansenNight and Day

  5. Indian Summer sounds fascinating. It’s definitely on my To Be Read list. Thanks for sharing how it was conceived. Sherrie HansenNight and Day

  6. Margay says:

    Hey, Dellani, I think we all have those “this is crap” moments, but the key is to then think, “But I know I can do better” – and then do it. I’m also glad you fished those pages out and continued to write; otherwise, I never would’ve met you and that would’ve been awful.Margay

  7. Dellani, You are a wonderful author and truly capture the era in your book, Indian Summer. I can’t wait to finish it. Great interview, both of you!

  8. Sia, I love history too. St. Augustine is so rich with it, it screams “write about me!” I can use the research as an excuse to visit – often!Sherrie, thank you. I hope you enjoy Indian Summer. I had a lot of fun writing it.Margay, I’m very glad we met too. Without Mike, none of this would have been possible.Christine, thank you! I hope you like the ending. I’m currently working on the sequel. I need some St. Augustine time! (Now trying to convince my hubby to take a day trip)

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