Alison DeLuca in the HOT SEAT

Tension hangs in the air. If you listen closely, you can hear it – a soft, but haunting violin tune. As Alison DeLuca steps forward, the volume increases until it’s almost deafening…

Welcome to the HOT SEAT, Alison!  

Alison joins us from Jackson, New Jersey, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Alison DeLuca

Gday, Alison!

Let’s get started, Alison. What genre(s) do you write?

I write YA steampunk, a genre that combines fantasy with outmoded technology. My books are set in the Edwardian era in an alternative version of England. I deliberately keep my books G-rated and filled with lots of adventure, some magic, and a little bit of romance.

Tell us about your current WiP, The Lamplighter’s Special… in a limerick!

The Lamplighter’s Special’s a boat;
Four children seek an antidote.
Their trip to far isles
Won’t take a long while,
Since steam quantum magic’s afloat.

[CJ: Ooh, sounds mysterious!]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

I am lucky enough to also be an editor. I get to read YA and fantasy manuscripts for FIBP, an emerging publisher / writer’s collective. I adore my job.

[CJ: I’m so jealous! :)]

Tell us a little about your writing process.

I used to use really detailed, involved outlines, but my planning became a lot looser after finishing The Night Watchman Express trilogy. I do my research first. For example, I’m now scrabbling for anything I can find on bathyspheres.

Then I come up with a list of images and words that inspire a story. For The Lamplighter’s Special, some of the images were: a boy in an attic, a girl with golden spectacles, a broken typewriter, an inaccessible ship’s cabin…

[CJ: I’ve got to ask – what on earth is a bathysphere?!]

Bathyspheres are thick globes made of lead and glass that were the first undersea vehicles. They were extremely dangerous to use – you had to be really curious and very brave to be lowered under water in one of those thangs. The first underwater explorers knew, for example, that if there was a breach in the wall, the water coming into the sphere would have the force of a pistol shot. Can you imagine?!

[CJ: Craziness!]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

In moments when I lose all self-control, I imagine Miyazaki making a film based on one of my books. Should that ever happen, though, I would probably implode from excitement.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

When I first started writing, I was teaching full time in a school that was an hour away. I would get home from work, plop dinner in the oven, get my grading done, and then write like mad until I keeled over from exhaustion.   

[CJ: Sounds tough. Bet you’re glad you’re not doing that any more!]

And now for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

What are your secret fears as a writer? How do you stop them from taking over?

I am afraid that sometimes I allow writing to take over my life. I don’t want to ignore my daughter and miss her childhood
because I love being at the computer. When I feel that way, I make certain I go and play “Puppy” or “Kitty” with her – her two favorite games.

If you could no longer write, would you channel your creativity into a different artform? If so, what?

Hmmmm – this is a tough one – [CJ: :-D] I really can’t imagine not writing! But I suppose I would read a great deal more than I do now. I’d certainly have more time for it. Is there such a thing as “artistic” reading? If not, I’d invent it!

[CJ: If you invent artistic reading, please teach me!]

What are your secret fears as a writer? How do you stop them from taking over?

I’d love to say Liz Salander, but she’s far too cool for me. Ditto Jane Eyre – old Jane was very cool, you know. No, I think I’m more like that middle Bennet girl, the one who loved the sound of her own voice and was a bit of a bore. I’m dreadfully afraid that might be me.

[CJ: Don’t worry, you’re far more interesting than that! You certainly have been in this interview! ;)]


If you’d like to hear more from Alison, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter. You can also buy her book, The Nightwatchman Express, on Kindle.

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀



Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing

16 responses to “Alison DeLuca in the HOT SEAT

  1. You have my dream job, Ms. Alison! Your writing process sounds interesting, and I think I’ll try it for my next book (it’s a fantasy, a genre which I’ve only dabbled in, which is why I’m very nervous to start!).

    If you discover the secret to artistic reading, you must share! 🙂

  2. Great interview and great book!!

  3. Defitely NOT a bore! Love discovering about Ms. Deluca!

  4. great interview… and I can’t believe I’m asking this… but how does one sit upon the “hot seat”? 🙂

  5. Lisa Wharton

    I love this interview. I know you and your books so much better now. I love the undersea vehicle called Bathysphere. Keep writing great books.

  6. I love the idea that the ultimate writing dream is to have Miyazaki make a film adaptation. It’s definitely a lofty goal, but it’s also totally understandable and specific.

    • I haven’t seen much of Miyazaki’s work, but from what I have seen, it’s amazing. Anyone would be honoured to have him adapt their writing. Thanks for dropping by, Sophia. 🙂

  7. Joining with Cally to give my very hearty thanks to everyone for dropping by and leaving a comment. And I also highly recommend sitting in the Hot Seat – it was a LOT of fun!

  8. jennymilch

    A bathysphere is my definition of claustrophobia–makes me itch just to read your description! What a great combo you have, Alison, and I know how beautifully you pull it off. My kids love playing Puppy and Kitten, too–I know what a balance it can be!

  9. Steampunk is one of my favorite genres! I could definitely see Miyazaki making a movie out of a steampunk novel; Howl’s Moving Castle had elements of it, as did Kiki’s Delivery Service (although the setting was modern). And Spirited Away is one of my favorite movies. 🙂 Okay, enough about Miyazaki.

    Great interview!

  10. I have not read any streampunk, this sounds very interesting. Thanks for having Alison on your blog. I learned a lot.

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