MC D’Alton interview with Darcy Delany
Darcy Delany writes adult fiction and children’s stories; most of which involve sassy, quirky or cheeky main characters.
Darcy is based in Canberra, Australia, a haven for writers, with winter temperatures that encourage hibernation with a good book or manuscript.
When not writing, Darcy loves to study history, and indulge in fabulous food and old movies!
The Charm Offensive
Nick Hammond is a politician on the verge of being dumped by his party. Despite his integrity and being part of the Hammond family political dynasty, the public prefers his slick political rival, Christian Lyons. To save his career, Nick devises a secret plan called The Charm Offensive. He plans to channel the old-world charm of Clark Gable to win the voters back – and, he hopes, attract the attention of Caroline Brent. Caroline is the beautiful political journalist dating Christian Lyons. When she discovers a secret about Christian, she’s torn between doing the right thing and saving herself and the man she loves. She needs help, and despite the risk, she feels she can trust Nick Hammond. But is Nick the man she believes him to be? Or is he just putting on a good political show? The Charm Offensive is a sparkling story about the rewards that come from taking risks and being our true selves.
Q. Tell us about your Book?
The Charm Offensive is the third book in my contemporary Modern-Day Fairy Tale Series. It is set in the Australian Parliament and combines two of my interests- politics and classic movies.
One of my favourite movies is Gone with the Wind, in part because of Clark Gable’s portrayal of Rhett Butler. Clark Gable effused suave confidence, which is something my hero, Nick Hammond, lacks. He struggles to show the voters what he can offer them, or to approach the woman of his dreams, Caroline Brent. That changes when he channels the Clark Gable – the more he acts like Clark Gable did as Rhett Butler, the more self-confidence he becomes.
Caroline is the savvy political journalist dating Nick’s political rival. She discovers a secret that threatens her partner’s career and her own, and she agonises over what to do. Despite all she stands to lose, she decides to take action, even though Nick is the only man who can help her. She knows Nick has integrity, but she soon discovers there is far more to Nick Hammond than she first realised!
Q. Where did the idea for your book come from?
I am a huge fan of Clark Gable’s portrayal of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and could envisage him being a successful politician in any era. We see so much negativity in public life today that I wanted to explore whether one could be a successful politician by keeping it classy!
Q. Why do you write romance?
I write romance because I want people to see that they are worthy of love, just as they are.
Q. What sets The Charm Offensive apart from any other book in the genre?
This is my second Modern Day Fairy Tale set in Canberra—the Australian capital and my home. Canberra is known as the bush capital, and you can go from Parliament House to watching kangaroos in a bush setting within ten minutes, which I think is rather unique for a national capital!
Q. What, if any, were the challenges you faced writing your book?
I hesitated to write this story because I doubted whether readers would find it interesting. I canvassed a range of people about the concept and when they told me they would read the story, I started writing. When I gave the manuscript to beta readers, including non-romance readers, they were delighted with the story. It was so rewarding to receive that response after taking a leap of faith!
Q. Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?
I found that having a regular writing time each day helped my me develop a writing muscle memory. At first it would take some time for me to start writing but after a week, I would get straight into writing as soon as I sat at the desk. When I wasn’t writing I was percolating story ideas and jotting them down, so I could get straight into writing once at my desk. On the occasions I struggle I go and do something else- I usually get a flood of ideas while vacuuming or cooking!
Q. What is the underlying theme of your book, if any?
That you don’t need to be callous or cutthroat to be successful in life.
Q. Would you call your hero and heroine a typical romance hero and heroine? Why not? What sets them apart from the men and women we usually encounter in romances?
At first glance Nick seems like your typical Beta hero, but he is a blend of two hero archetypes. He is a Chief hero since he was born into a political family, but he’s also a Lost Soul hero because he is unsuccessful in his career and unlucky in love. He wonders if he will ever find a woman with the strength of Gone with the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara and the integrity of Melanie Hamilton. Unfortunately, the only woman who embodies those qualities, Caroline Brent, is dating his Alpha male political rival, Christian Lyons.
Caroline is the Damsel in Distress who is looking to marry, but unsure of her romantic partner. Christian’s Alpha male confidence makes her feel secure, but she is also drawn to Nick’s quiet integrity. She’s a little different from your typical heroine because she has a strong magnetism akin to the femme fatale archetype, which is enhanced by her delicate appearance.
Nick and Caroline recognise a kindred spirit in one another and rescue each other from compromising their values. I’ve come across this element of heroes and heroines rescuing each other in other romances, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy romance so
much. I love stories which show men’s and women’s unique differences combining in a union that helps them be their best selves. I delve into the mindset of my characters a little more than some other romance novels, however, given my coaching background. By showing the inner struggles of my characters, I hope that anyone experiencing a similar challenge can find hope and comfort.
Q. What was your inspiration for your Main Characters?
The principled men of classic movies inspired Nick Hammond. He is a melange of characters such as the many taciturn but principled western movie characters John Wayne played, Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird and Monsignor O’Flaherty in The Scarlet and the Black, and Christopher Plummer’s portrayal of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
Q. What kind of research did you undertake when writing?
I spoke with people who work in Parliament House to confirm some aspects of parliamentary procedure but otherwise I relied on first-hand experience living in Canberra for details regarding location and setting. And of course, I watched Gone with the Wind a few times for good measure.
Q. What was your favourite part in writing this book?
Developing the romance between the characters. They are both beautiful souls covered by shells to survive the modern world, and I loved weaving a way for them to drop their masks and find an emotional home with one another.
Q. Besides the gorgeous cover, what about this story will draw your reader into your world?
The characters. Both are delightful people who care deeply about others but can’t find someone who values that aspect of them.
Q. Where to buy your book?
You can buy The Charm-Offensive on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo and Smashwords via https://storieswithsass.com/the-charm-offensive/
Thank You to Darcy Delany for taking the time to chat to us about her writing and her book The Charm Offensive!
You can connect with Darcy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads and via her website https://www.storieswithsass.com!