Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Alternate realities with Delsheree Gladden!

Today, 'she said, he said....' extends a huge welcome to a new friend-author DelSheree Gladden-from New Mexico.

DelSheree has recently had her YA novel- INQUEST- published by Briona Glen Publishing. She discusses some interesting questions about alternate realities...

Thank you, Nancy, for inviting me on your blog today. As I considered what to write about today, a question my six-year-old daughter asked me kept popping back into my mind. Lately my daughter, Abigail, has been very curious about where her food comes from. We discussed that beef comes from cows and chicken comes from actual chickens. Her next question made me laugh. Abigail asked, “Mom, what kind of animal do you have to kill to get a potato?”
Now this question may seem completely irrelevant to writing, but I’ll explain. Kids are so naturally curious. They are always trying to figure out this complicated world and piece together what makes sense and what doesn’t. Sometimes it takes a little creativity to get the pieces to work together.
Writers face this same problem every time they start a new book. Even when alternate realities aren’t involved like they are in my newest book, characters have to fit together, motives have to makes sense, and events need to follow a logical path. “Where do potatoes come from?” may not be on every writer’s mind, but how does the story go from point A to point B and actually make sense certainly is.

My newest novel, INQUEST, was just published by Briona Glen Publishing, and I went through these same questions while writing Libby Sparks’ story. When I first started out, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted the people of this alternate reality to be physically marked. I wanted those marks to determine their future roles. The other major point was that the main character would be dealt a fate she wanted nothing to do with – a destiny to destroy the world.
Then the real questions started. How did I write a character with all the power she could ever need to destroy an entire civilization, a girl hated and mistreated by everyone, and not make her out to get revenge from day one? (No promises on her desire for revenge by the end!)
The answer? Give her a good friend that tempered the bad. Give her the memory of a father who wanted to protect her, and wanted her to protect others. Give her hope that her life was meant for more than destruction.
Some of my next questions were: what do the markings look like, and what do I call them? Tattoos had already been used and disfigurement was a little too grotesque. I wanted something permanent and natural, but marks that would stand out. I remembered watching a documentary about keloid scarring and the idea of scar tissue that was perfectly shaped, impenetrable, and unchangeable began to form.
Now the marks needed a name. The name had to represent what these marks meant, so I went on a random word search that led me to a word I had never heard before: diktats. Diktat literally means, “a harsh, punitive settlement or decree imposed unilaterally on a defeated nation.” It was exactly what I was looking for!
One of the biggest questions I had while writing INQUEST was what kind of character was Libby going to be at the end of this trilogy. I had several options. She could become what she was meant to be and truly destroy everything, and enjoy doing so. The pressures she faces aren’t small, after all. Or, she could turn away from everything – her power, her destiny, her life – and refuse to fulfill her birthright. Another option? She could join those she was meant to fight against and lead rather than destroy. Now of course, I’m not going to give you the answer to this one – you’ll have to read the books to find out – but figuring the answer out took a lot of writing, rewriting, creative thinking, and listening to other writers’ advice.
So, what do potatoes and writing have to do with each other? When you don’t know where your book is going, what a character should do, or how the story should end, start with what seems most logical. If hamburgers and chicken nuggets come from animals, maybe potatoes do too. And when you realize they don’t, get creative and go on a hunt for a different answer. You may end up somewhere you never expected, but exactly where you needed to be. When you start asking questions, you start finding answers. For my daughter, she learned that potatoes grow under the ground and come from plants, not animals. For myself, I learned what one teenage girl with unlimited power can do when she makes a decision that will change the world. 

The 'pantser' in me likes your advice about starting with the logical. I really like the sound of INQUEST, and your Libby Sparks.
A bit more about DelSheeree
DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually teaching yoga, coaching gymnastics, reading, painting, sewing, or studying about teeth as a Dental Hygiene student. Her works include Escaping Fate and the Twin Souls Saga. DelSheree's newest novel, Inquest, recently published by Briona Glen Publishing, is the first book in The Destroyer Trilogy. Inquest follows sixteen-year-old Libby Sparks as she tries to escape her destiny to destroy the world. But Libby soon realizes dodging fate might not be worth the price.
Author contact Details:

Here's a little bit about INQUEST before you read the the extract below. 

What would you do if your destiny was to bring chaos, and the end of the world? For Libby Sparks, turning sixteen means only one thing…death. Guardian rule demands she attend the ritualistic Inquest that will unveil her talents and secure her place in society. But that isn’t all that will be revealed in Libby’s case. The more talents you have the better, at least to some degree. Four or five talents will guarantee you a life of luxury, but seven…that is the mark of the Destroyer. Libby knows her Inquest will reveal her to be the Guardians’ greatest enemy. Their law requires her death before her eighteenth birthday. If she lives, prophecy foretells that the world will fall into chaos and destruction. Once her destiny is revealed, Libby is abandoned when her mother throws her out, her boyfriend tries to kill her, and her best friend shuts her out. Only Milo, a slightly grungy outcast, seems willing to be her friend—but Libby soon realizes he has secrets of his own. His secrets may very well have everything to do with her own destiny. In order to make it to her eighteenth birthday, Libby must bury her talents and convince the world she is harmless. Her plan only lasts until Milo is put in danger and Libby is forced to choose. Abandon her friend to save her own life, or embrace her destiny and truly become the Destroyer.

Excerpt from Chapter 3
Walking over to my desk at a slow, thoughtful pace, Mr. Walters surprises me by touching his index finger to the spot of dried blood on my neck. “If you don’t want your gifts then why didn’t you let Lance or the Guardian kill you last night? Why don’t you kill yourself right now?”
He pushes back his blazer sleeve and snatches the Guardian blade out of its sheath so quickly I barely see more than a flash of light on steel before it is pressing against my throat. A Guardian. My heart is pounding against my chest, my mind screaming at me to run. I am alone in a room with a Guardian who is apparently obsessed with the Destroyer. With me. And he has a knife balanced exactly against my carotid artery.
Black spots fleck my vision and I realize I’m hyperventilating. It requires all my quickly vanishing willpower to tap my Naturalism and slow my breathing enough to see clearly again. “If you ask me to kill you, I will do that for you, Libby, though I would not take any pleasure in it,” Mr. Walters says. “Or if you prefer to end your life by your own hand, I will not stop you. Either way, if death is what you truly want, I will allow you to have it. Right here. Right now. This is the only time I will make this offer, Libby. It is your choice.”
The pressure of the blade on my skin increases slightly, and I cry out. “No! No don’t!”
Instantly the knife is withdrawn, back in its sheath like it never left. “Why?” he asks.
“Because I don’t want to die,” I say. Tears bleed down my cheeks and I wipe them away furiously, angrily.
“You will die eventually. There is no doubting that.”
“But I don’t want to die yet, not today. Not for as long as I can manage it.” Maybe it’s wrong to want to live. With everything I’ve done, and am, I probably deserve to die. But I don’t want to. Not yet.
Placing his hands on my desk, Mr. Walters leans forward. His wizened features grow eerily strong and firm as he peers down at me. “If you don’t want to die, then you have to embrace who and what you are, Libby. Becoming the Destroyer is the only thing that is going to keep you alive.”

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Thank you for sharing such an interesting blog post with us, today, DelSheree. I wish you the very best success with INQUEST.   


  1. I love reading delsheree's books they always grab your attention right away and draw you into the story

  2. I enjoyed the interview, thank you, Nancy.

    I'm a pantser, too, so it's been interesting to read how you approach your work, DelSheree! I love the freedom that creating alternative worlds offers me; but it can be a challenge to ensure all the bases are covered!

    I've downloaded a sample of Inquest. :-)

    1. Thanks for giving Inquest a try, Joanna! I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to hear what you think.

  3. I like the tie-in with the potato. Interesting way of looking at things!

    1. My kids always come up with the best ideas! I have a list of funny things they've said that I want to use. The potato comment really had me chuckling! Thanks for reading.

  4. Hello to Kassondra, Joanna and Mommys Juice. Thank you for popping in today. I'm mostly a pantser, too,and the potato analogy is a good one!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, John. John also has a wonderful book out now on Amazon called "Walk to Paradise Garden."

  6. Love this book seems like a good read! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Pamela. You can download a sample of Inquest from if you'd like to give it a try. I'd love to hear what you think.

  7. Loved it! I had always meant to ask where you got “diktat” but I never did. And it’s good you didn’t tell anyone where potatoes really come from; its best people figure that out for themselves.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. It looks really good.

  9. My thanks to DelSheree for popping in to see me, and I also thank all our visitors for their lovely comments. :-)


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