Friday, January 20, 2012

Hello, I'm Gail R. Delaney and I'm a Sci Fi Geek

I have always been a fan of science fiction. I was only six when Star Wars: A New Hope was released, but I can remember watching it at school when I was in fourth grade on the last day of school, and I was completely hooked. Star Trek: TOS was in syndication when I was in elementary school, and I looked forward to four o'clock every day to watch. I discovered Doctor Who on PBS when I was in junior high, and Star Trek: TNG premiered around then, too. The seeds of sci fi were planted young.

I was also a writer from a young age. I wrote my first short story when I was in fourth grade. My best friend and I didn't get together to play, we got together to write. I wrote a novel (still buried deep under my bed) when I was fifteen (speculative Christian fiction before there was such a genre), and decided around twenty I wanted to write novels. But my interest then went toward contemporary romance. I never imagined myself as a sci fi author because twenty years ago sci fi was just sci fi, no romance involved, and I loved romance.

Thankfully, genres have expanded in the last few years. Nonetheless, I was actually a reluctant sci fi writer. I was urged (read that as urged with a virtual cattle prod) to try my hand at sci fi. A few years ago I was in a slump. I had just finished writing my first romantic suspense novel, having always written contemporary romance prior to that, and just couldn't find that next great storyline to sink my literary teeth into. I tried several ideas, got about three chapters in, and hit a brick wall. So, I'd try something else.

When nothing original would feed my muse's need to create, I turned to writing fanfiction. For those who don't know what fanfiction is, this is a genre of writing in which a writer will enhance, expand upon, or create new storylines based on established characters usually from television or movies. I had written fanfiction in the past for an 80's television show I loved as a kid, but this time around I delved into the fanfic world of Stargate SG-1, my favorite sci fi show at the time( Partially because of Richard Dean Anderson, and partially because I loved the forbidden romance sub-story). In a year's time, when I couldn't find anything else to hold my attention, I probably wrote the equivalent of 250k words in Stargate fanfiction.

A good friend of mine, also a writer, kept asking me "Why don't you write sci fi?" I thought she was nuts. I couldn't just create this stuff! But, she kept asking and asking and poking and encouraging, until finally an idea began to form. The great thing was I saw how I could take some of the ideas I'd already tried in a contemporary setting and make them work in a futuristic setting. Characters began to form and plots began to unfold.

But, I didn't see these books as being a typical 'romance' outline where boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, gets her back and they live happily ever after in the course of 100k words or less. I saw a whole cast of people whose lives intertwined and fed into each other. I decided this was a whole new thing for me, so why not do it in a whole new way?

At the time, I was new published with an established ebook publisher, and was surprised when I was approached by the editor of another house. She told me she had seen my posts and was impressed with my online personality, my activeness, and most importantly my writing. She asked if I had any books in the works I might be interested in placing with her house. I told her about The Phoenix Rebellion, or at least, the ideas I had because I was only a few chapters into the first book. I also told her it wasn't a typically told romance.

She listened and she loved it. And she said to feel free and go with my 'cast of characters' concept. I wrote the entire four book series in about nine months, and then waited to see if people loved or hated my approach. I've never had anyone tell me they don't like the way I tell the stories. In fact, I've been told frequently they feel like they're reading a television show or movie.

And along the way, I discovered I really love writing futuristic romance, and I really like "living" in the world I've created. Which is one of the things I like about writing series. I don't have to leave anyone behind as quickly as with single titles. I'm currently working on a new series, Phoenix Rising, which is a sequel to The Phoenix Rebellion, with many of the main characters from Rebellion returning in a secondary status. I'm working out in my head details for another series, Children of Phoenix, which would take place twenty to thirty years after both The Phoenix Rebellion and Phoenix Rising. And I would like to write a prequel single novel titled Birth of Phoenix that tells the story of how Phoenix came to be.

I've dabbled in other story ideas by doing a short story in the Borealis series titled Forgive Us Our Debts, and I have a couple non-Phoenix related ideas I might work with down the road -- one a 'near-future' suspense and another far future/off world concept. I enjoy the freedom of living in a world not strictly defined by the present, and creating storylines and possibilities we have yet to see. I've always enjoyed playing "What if…" with my critique partners, and the answer to the "What if…" question is so much more interesting when it's asked with sci fi in mind.

Prior to writing sci fi, I never used 'models' for my characters. I just wrote from the nothing in which my characters were born. But, when I began Phoenix, I realized my main character Nick Tanner paralleled the character of Jack O'Neill on Stargate (played by Richard Dean Anderson). And as I move on through writing, I find I like keeping an actor in mind when writing. It helps me visualize expressions, motions, reactions with better detail. And my heroes are almost always actors from sci fi somewhere. Take my new series, Phoenix Rising, for example. My heroes are inspired by Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), Ben Browder (Farscape and Stargate SG-1), Jonathan Lapaglia (Seven Days) and Christopher Pine (Star Trek: Reboot).

I've fully given into my geekdom now. I love it, I embrace it, and I share it. I hope you enjoy it.

You can see more about The Phoenix Rebellion and my other works at my website:

Gail Delaney Dot Com :-)

I'm most active at my Facebook page.

Or you can email me at


  1. I love this interesting look into how you started with the sci fi romance genre. Very cool. AND your model men are super as well. I like all those guys. It's awesome that you explored new territory - in more ways than one!

  2. Thanks, Jillian. I've gotten more and more comfortable with stepping into the unknown in the last few years. I've decided if you don't make a goal -- if you don't take a step -- you'll never 'get' anywhere.

    I still have a few sci fi heroes I would love to tap into, but haven't found the right character and setting yet. Seth Gabel of Fringe comes to mind (already used Joshua Jackson, just not in a sci fi), and while he's a tough fit for the usual 'hero' type, David Tennant is amazing.

    Sometimes I wish for a bit of Sci Fi tech... something I could just plug into my head and 'download' all the story ideas. Even if all I ever did was write full time, it'd take me at least a couple of years to get them all out. :-)

  3. Science fiction is one of my loves too, it makes my imagination take flight...
    I'm not at all surprised you started young...inspiration comes when it wants,
    and you captured it. I especially enjoy your heroes!

  4. Thank you, Delores. I think what appeals to me is the inherent cockiness of a sci fi hero. Not necessarily arrogance, though there is often some of that, but a swagger you only see in sci fi and westerns. :-)

  5. Enjoyed the bio. Nice insight into the origin of a sci fy author.

  6. Thanks, Petie. I was a reluctant one, that's for sure. But once I started, I doubt I'll ever stop. Too many possibilities and stories to tell.

  7. Gail, I love your Phoenix series and I'm looking forward to the next. What I love about sci-fi is that it allows the creativity to flow and it's only hampered by your imagination. Just from reading your stories, I know you've tapped into that.


  8. Thank you, Steph. I'm very excited about the next Phoenix book. It fought me for a long time, I couldn't find the right rhythm (or as I often said while writing "How can I write the rest of this if I can't get them out of Alexandria?!?!"). But, once I did it came easy and the two main leads have a chemistry different than anyone else I've done.

    Granted... I wouldn't want them to be like anyone else. That's boring. But John and Jenifer spark and clash and are drawn to each other because they are more alike than different.

    And I love thinking "Wouldn't it be cool if..." and with Sci Fi, you can answer the question with "Yes... and here's how".

  9. I am a huge fan of this series. I can honestly say I was hooked years ago and am so glad that you can continue it. Only one thing wrong with the series. The wait between books. Other than that, amazing! 'wink'.

  10. Gail, your Phoenix series taught me to like SciFi. Until then, I'd been forced, kicking and screaming, to judge SciFi, published and unpublished, when no one else could be found to do the job. Now I love discovering how other authors create new worlds and picturing those worlds in my head.

    Toni Noel

  11. JMo... thank you. I know, I know... I'm sorry about the lapse. But I'm trying for two of the four new series books in 2012.

  12. There are so many different variations of sci fi, Toni... just like the variations of romance. The trick is finding what resonates with you. I like writing Phoenix because while it's Sci Fi, it's still our world. It's familiar, but intriguing.

  13. Hey Gail! Thanks for sharing :) I really enjoyed Phoenix, too! You know I'm a fan of all things scifi/fantasy... I write in that world myeslf.

  14. Okay, I'm convinced. I need to read your first Sci Fi book. I've always steered away from fantasy, but you have me intrigued. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  15. And THAT'S what friends are for! Thank goodness for your 'encouraging' friend, Gail. I have read your books, and adored them. And yes, when I am reading your si fi, it feels more like watching a movie!!!! All that's missing is the popcorn. I can't wait for your next series.

  16. I received my edits back from my editor this weekend for the first book in the next series. I think she was ready to come hunt me down. (I love a good cliffhanger...)

    And June, Sci Fi and Fantasy are two different thinks. It irks me when bookstores and book sites lump them together. One has pulse weapons and space ships, the other has swords and dragons. :-) No swords and dragons in my books... yet. :-) But, I try to write more 'futuristic' than hi sci fi. So, while there are alien and high tech elements, it still feels familiar.

    Tami... I can't wait to see what you think. :-) My editor is the ONLY person other than me who has read the book beginning to end. I shared snippets, but no one read the whole thing. She said it works, so here's hoping everyone else likes it.