Five Authors and the Five Books that Inspire Them –
Five by Five, May 7th – 11th:
Jenn Bennett is the Atlanta-based author of the wonderful Arcadia Bell series. She is also a visual artist, a Tiki bar expert, and a dark fairytale enthusiast. Now, this totally explains the inspiration for Cady Bell and her world. If you have not read this series, please do. Jenn has a knack for creating characters you really care about, living in a world you want to explore.
Here are five things I love about the Arcadia Bell series:
1. Diversity? Why, yes.
A forty-something, divorced love interest with a biracial teenage son, who has a married same-sex couple as caretakers when dad isn’t around? This is fantastic. This is real. This is my world. These are people I know. Drop some magic into this, some fantastic paranormal elements, and you have an urban fantasy I can relate to. I’ve been known to go off on a rant about the lack of diversity in the genre as a whole, but Jenn Bennett rectifies this by embracing diversity in her world and I can’t tell you how much I love it.
He’s so damn cute. What a cool kid. Jenn channeled her inner teenage boy and created an endearing character that you want to spend more time with. A movie buff myself, I want to hangout with this kid, give him a camera, and help him produce a remake of some horror classic.
3. Lon and Cady Sitting in a Tree
Arcadia is just…cool. Smart and funny; clever with her magic, independent, tough, and loyal. Lon is just…cool. Sexy, older, pirate mustache and all, strong, silent type. These two together is just right. They have a chemistry that jumps off the page. I count them as one of my favorite UF couples. Please, Jenn, don’t break them up! Ever. That is not meant to sound threatening. Nope. Not at all.
4. What a Wonderful World
Arcadia lives in a world of magic and demons. Demons that look like you and me, called Earthbounds, and those living in the Aethyric plane. Earthbound demons have special abilities like reading minds, sensing or manipulating emotion. Arcadia is a magician with strong powers and the ability to call and banish demons back to the Aethyric plane. She also has come into new powers which she is just starting to understand. This is a wholly unique world and an totally original magic system.
5. She Makes Me Laugh
There is great, clever writing in the Arcadia Bell series. And a lot of the humor is spot on. From the back and forth between Lon and Jupe, Jupe and Cady, to worrying about losing a vintage Zippo lighter when investigating a booby-trapped grave site, Jenn has a knack for finding the funny in tough situations while also creating humorous dialogue that feels authentic and unforced.
(I’m reading book two now so stay tuned for a review of Summoning the Night!)
So, without further ado…Jenn Bennett!
Five Books I Love Oh-so-dearly
I write urban fantasy slash paranormal romance. Horror-tinged, demonic, sexy, funny, weird occult stuff. You might imagine that a list of my five most influential books would be dark and dangerous. Well, some of it is. Kind of. Because if you’ve read my books, you also know that my work is very character-driven. Less about action and the apocalypse and more about the experience of getting to know the people who inhabit my worlds through an unravelling mystery. Maybe knowing more about where I come from as a reader will help you to understand the strange—but charming, yes?—world of Arcadia Bell.
5. Henry and June by Anaïs Nin
For those of you who don’t know, Anaïs was a French-Cuban writer who is famous for her affair with Henry Miller. She’s been accused of being egotistical and a whore. She published erotica in a time when it wasn’t hitting the bestseller lists. She lived her life as she wanted, independently, boldly, and without shame. This book is taken from her unexpurgated diaries (the sex isn’t censored). It made me want to have a torrid affair with a literary giant and then out-write him.
Five Authors and the Five Books that Inspire Them – Five by Five, May 7th – 11th:
Delilah S. Dawson’s debut novel, Wicked As They Come, was published in March 2012 and it quickly became one of my favorite reads this year. A Georgia native, Dawson has been a Disney princess, a reptile vendor, a muralist, an art teacher, and a horseback riding instructor. And if you’ve read her book, you know that somehow her eclectic background makes sense. Because only someone who has been both a Disney princess AND a reptile vendor could have imagined the world of romance and adventure that is Sang.
Now, let me tell you five reasons why I love Delilah S. Dawson and
Wicked As They Come:
1. Pure originality
The world she creates in Sang is highly original. Blood is currency, vampires, or Blud men, are politically and socially oppressed, there are mechanical animals, spelled lockets, and rabbits that want to suck your blood. But I can go on and on. Instead, read my review.
2. Wonderful characters
Criminiy Stain and Tish Everett are the two main characters of the story. Criminy is the owner of a traveling sideshow and Tish is an in-home care nurse, rebuilding herself after ending an abusive relationship. Criminy is caring and dashing, Tish is smart and strong. She is relatable and he is swoon worthy. Enough said.
3. Sweet romance
PNRs usually focus on relationships that are intense and sexual. Wicked As They Come has those elements, too. But what I loved was how utterly sweet the romance was in the novel. It put the romance back in PNR.
There is a lot of wit and humor, both in the characters and in Dawson’s voice. There were lines that made me laugh out loud and I appreciate a good laugh in a UF/PNR story. It doesn’t all have to be violence, gloom, and doom.
Scents play a big role in Wicked As They Come, particularly Criminy’s scent. And it was a brilliant idea to create a line of custom perfumes based on the world of Sang. I have a bottle of Criminy. And it’s yummy.
Without further ado…here is Delilah’s top five list of most influential reads:
1. Watership Down by Richard Adams
When I was in 2nd grade, I saw a video called Watership Down at the video store– remember those? It had cartoon bunnies on the front, and I wanted to rent it, and my dad said no because it was based on a book that was too violent. So I asked the school librarian, and she said it was on the 5th grade shelf and, you guessed it, too violent for a 2nd grader. So I borrowed it. Just stuffed it in my bag and walked out when no one was looking. It was my first rebellion against authority, and when I read it, it blew my mind. It’s been one of my favorites ever since. It’s an amazing story in a rich, unique world with characters so real that I still cry every time I read the last page. I took it back, of course, and put it right where it belonged on the shelf. Naturally, rabbits play an important part in my book.
2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I can’t remember a time I haven’t loved Alice. From the Disney movie to the book, it’s always captured my imagination. It’s silly and fantastical but also clever, satirical, and erudite. I have two tattoos from Alice and will probably have more one day. I love books infused with magic, and Alice has glitter on every page. When I was little, I would press against every mirror I found to see if I could squeeze through. I still try, sometimes.
3. IT by Stephen King
I wasn’t supposed to read this one, either. My mom was obsessed, and I remember her reading the battered paperback while slathered in baby oil and suntanning. But she wouldn’t let me read it when I was twelve and even went so far as to hide it from me. I found it. I read it in secret. And it scared the everloving bejesus out of me. I had nightmares. I slept with the lights on, with the closet door open, after checking under my bed twice. I think that was the first time I truly understood the power of imagination, how far into your heart and soul a book could reach and how hard it could squeeze.
4. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
Someone lent me this one in college, and it was like water reaching a seed that was just waiting to burst open and flower. I had never seen language used so playfully, never seen such light-hearted and philosophical rebellion. I seriously dog-eared nearly every page in that book, and it fundamentally changed how I look at the world. One of my favorite quotes: “Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.” That’s… pretty much me in a nutshell.
5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I grew up thinking romance books were laughable fluff, but Outlander changed my mind forever. I had never read a book that sucked me in so quickly and held me so close. Outlander taught me a romance book could be intelligent, twisty, heart-pounding, well-researched, historically enlightening, and altogether brilliant. It was pretty much my gateway to romance and to finally, one day, realizing I could write a romance story myself.
And of course we need to know the favorite books of our beloved characters from Dawson’s Wicked As They Come:
Criminy’s favorite book: Sagacity & Susceptibility by Austin Jane
Tish’s favorite book: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
That’s one reason they get along so well– they’re both romantics. Of course, as we learn in a later story, Mr. Willowbee in Sagacity & Susceptibility is a much different creature than Mr. Willoughby in our world.
What does Delilah have coming up next?
The e-novella, The Mysterious Madame Morpho, will be out in October and it is already available for pre-order on Amazon. The next installment in the Blud Novels, Wicked As She Wants, will be published next Spring with the third book expected in Spring 2014.
And, of course, if you have not read Wicked As They Come, you can remedy that here.
Stop by and visit Delilah at her favorite spots:
Now, enter to win a signed copy of Wicked As They Come AND one book of your choice from
Delilah’s Top Five List: