Joining me today in The Loft is fellow eXtasy author D. S. Dehel. A retired teacher, Dawn writes erotic romance and adores literary allusions, writing sex scenes, and British men. Recently, Dawn and I appeared together on a podcast about writing sexy stories (link below) and there, I learned she uses the initials D.S. because her son informed her that "Dawn Dehel" was a stripper name! Dawn lives in Delaware with two of her four children and her husband, as well as a coddled feline, Mr. Darcy, and an equally pampered puppy, Jameson.
S: Good morning, Dawn. Thanks for joining me today!
Do you write full or part-time? Do you have another job/other responsibilities?
D: I like to think of myself as a full-time writer because I'm retired, but I also mentor new teachers and am a long-term substitute for a little bit longer. I guess I should say I'm retired.
S: Did you have a mentor when you became a writer?
D: No, not an official mentor. I did have a teacher in college who saw potential in my work. That stuck with me and helped me move forward.
S: Complete this sentence: "When I started writing books, I wish I had known..."
D: I wish I had known how much work goes on after a book is written, because I would have been more prepared for the odyssey to publication. But maybe it's better not to know. I might not have had the wherewithal to pursue publication had I known.
S: (Nodded.) I think many of us were unaware of all the behind-the-scenes activities. Sometimes, it is overwhelming.
Is there anything that you wish you had done differently when you began writing books?
D: I only wish I had started sooner, or more accurately, kept at it seriously. I let life get in the way.
S: What is your writing process?
D: It usually starts with an image or an idea, a kind of tingle in my mind. I let that stew for a bit, do some research, create Pinterest inspiration boars and Spotify playlists, sometimes a general outline and copious notes on my idea (that are inchoate at best.) Then I sit down and write. I must admit that I am one of those who have to go back and fix errors before I can move on to the next bit. That internal proofreader just won't be quiet.
S: (Smiles.) You are much more organized than I am. As a journalist, I never had much prep time. Pre-planning was not an option. You just collected the facts and sat down to write almost immediately. I haven't been able to break away from that.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Has it ever happened to you?
D: Alas, I don't believe in first sight, but I do think there can be a deep attraction that goes beyond lust. Maybe I've just read "Romeo and Juliet" too many times. The play is actually a condemnation of the concept of love at first sight. Think about it. The ones who claim to be in love are only on stage together alive three times. Their folly leads to six deaths. People just forget that. And, obviously, it's never happened to me.
S: What attracted you to your current partner?
D: Aside from being devastatingly handsome, he's completely genuine. He is who he is. I just happen to love geeky guys in general and him in particular. He also puts up with all of my nonsense, which helps, too.
S: What would you like people to know about you?
D: I've been told that I come across as super confident, and in some situations, I guess I am. But really, I'm a ball of anxiety and self-doubt.
S: Why did you write "Moonlight and Magnolia?" What was your inspiration?
D: For "Moonlight and Magnolia," I visited the house that is the basis for the one in the story. Everything about Belle Grove said, "Write about me." I just didn't know exactly what that story would be. During lockdown, I had the urge to create a character like Caro. It's hard to say more without spoilers. I began writing, and I was fortunate enough to attend a ghost lock-in there once restrictions were loosened, which helped add to the vibe of the story.
S: So you got to visit the "scene of the crime," so to speak. I imagine that really helped to drive the tale.
Is there anything about this book that makes it special to you? To readers?
D: I'm really, really pleased with how Caro came out as a main character. She was hard to write, but she was fun also. The fact that my Mom and I went to Belle Grove together adds to how special the story is. The actual house is located near a church we'd driven past hundreds of times on our way to Richmond (VA) to see my grandmother. I would just glimpse a house sitting at the end of a tree-lined drive. As a child, I never thought I'd get to visit, let alone write about it.
"Moonlight and Magnolia" will be released October 30 by eXtasy Books. Here's the blurb--
Secrets hide in the magnolia moonlight.
Caro Talbot loves Belle Grove, but not the people caring for it, and things get worse when they invite Desmond Mason to research the house's history. Yet Dez is different from what she expects, and she becomes determined to help hhim solve the puzzle of the woman in the painting that's hung in the house for years.
As Halloween approaches, Dez pries into secrets she'd rather keep, raising the ghost of her past. Caro has to decide whether to trust a man she hardly knows or run the risk of being eternally lonely.
S: Sounds like a great tale for Halloween! Where can readers buy your book?
D: It was released today, October 30, and is now available at https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-3087-0-magnolia-and-moonlight/. It will also be available from other major booksellers soon.
S: Dawn, thanks so much for joining me today and good luck with your latest book! If you would like to learn more about D. S. Dehel and her books, please visit--
Twitter: @ddehel https://twitter.com/ddehel
Editor's Note: Learn more about D. S. Dehel and me, and writing sexy stories, by listening to our recent podcast at--