Tell us a bit about yourself. Include a couple of facts that not a lot of people know about you.
I’m an East Texas native. In fact, I’ve lived in the same county for forty years! I live in the country with my three fun teenage/young adult children. I’m a business coach and trainer by day, a writer by night, and a hobby photographer whenever I get the chance. My favorite genre of books is, of course, romance (faith-based, military, contemporary and historical), but my music playlist is oddly eclectic (at least, according to my children). I love to go fishing at the lake and I can’t get enough of watching my children excel in their own varied talents and ambitions. I also enjoy being an aunt and I love time spent with my tight-knit family, who serve up all the creative inspiration I could ever need. In the words of my daughter, I “fangirl” over JF and Jackie Kennedy and Elvis Presley stories and memorabilia. I’m exceedingly proud of the military heritage in my family. And I love puns – the cornier the better. Bring all the puns to me.
Tell us a bit about the book that will be published by Anaiah Press.
Cassie McWilliams is completely committed to her work as a professional sports photographer, president of The Santa House Women’s Charity, and helping her family in their hometown near Austin, TX. So, when she meets Officer Talent Marshall, a new recruit trying to start over away from the shadows of his past, she’s not interested in trying to squeeze dating into her busy schedule. Now that The Santa House is entering the most important six weeks of the year – the holiday experience for a group of women and children trying to get back on their feet – romance is indeed the furthest thing from Cassie’s mind. But because Talent is involved in the security detail for The Santa House and is also a new archery coach where Cassie’s niece is a member, he is now part of her daily to-do whether she likes it or not.
Having only ever been open to dating someone who is more like her late father – a fixer, an imaginative storyteller, and a dedicated family man – Cassie begins to see those qualities in Talent as they spend more time together. As Christmas approaches, their attraction grows, but when Talent is called to help find a missing child, their growing relationship is threatened by raging waters. At the end of the day, Cassie doesn’t want one more Santa – a precious gift her late father gave her mother every year before he passed, but she definitely wants more chance with Talent…
How it came about? I wanted to write a Christmas romance so I drew on experience. I actually have the very Santa Clause collection that is described in this story. I’ve only purchased one or two of the 100+ Santas I break out of storage every year for their Christmas debut. The rest have been gifts from family and friends – mostly my mother and grandmother. I wanted to incorporate my grandmother’s name and those of her sisters into a book, which is where Rosemary, Betty, Cassie, and Brenda came from – although their personalities in the book are very different from their namesakes. And then my son, Bo Pipes, is an avid archery competitor so I was excited to include his passion in my story. He’s very excited that “the archery book” will be the first one traditionally published.
When and why did you start writing?
I’ve loved creative writing for as long as I can remember. My father was gifted at poetry and prose and I enjoyed following in his footsteps. However, it became a passion in junior high when my English teacher uncovered my talent and, although life kept me from focusing on it solely for the longest; it has been my passion since. Now that my kids are older and self-sufficient, I have more time to devote to it so I’m excited about that.
Is this your first book? How many have you written? How many have you published?
This is not my first book. I’ve written eight full manuscripts. Four of my books are self-published on Amazon – Red Means Home, The Un-Patriot, Branded, and Best Prayed Plans. Three of my manuscripts are awaiting copyright so I can pursue publishing them. And, of course, One More Santa, is being published by Anaiah Press and I couldn’t be happier about that!
Tell us a bit about your journey to publication.
When I completed my first book, The Un-Patriot, I was seeking traditional publication and wouldn’t let any of my friends or extended family read it. But I had a friend who told me I shouldn’t wait to share my gift with the people I love. She ended up passing away and I was devastated. So, while I pursued publication, I took her advice and I created a social media private group of trusted friends called “First Draft Fan Club” and, after copyright, I shared my stories with them. Their interest, involvement, and support ignited my desire to publish even more. After their encouragement and approval of “One More Santa”, I sent out queries, but it was Twitter (of all things!) that got the book noticed! I entered it in #faithpitch and Candee Fick liked it and sent it to Kara Leigh Miller and here we are!
What are some of your favorite books / authors?
For fiction, I enjoy Janette Oke – both her Loves Comes Softly series and her Canadian West series. As a child (and even now sometimes) I admired Beverly Cleary and all of her books. Otherwise, and I probably shouldn’t say it, but I’m pretty eclectic in my romance choices and bad about choosing a book by its cover.
For motivation, I turn to Rachel Hollis with her “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing” books. I’ve recently also enjoyed books by Mel Robbins on Audible because I like her voice and message.
What are some of your favorite movies / TV shows?
Where the Heart Is (Movie), While You Were Sleeping (Movie), You’ve Got Mail (Movie), Love Comes Softly (Made-for-TV Movie Series), When Calls the Heart (television series), The Good Witch (television series), Live PD (television), Swamp People (television), All Christmas romance movies (to the frustration of my family)
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
I people watch. That sounds so creepy, but it’s true. I listen and observe and create what I think their life must be like in my head. It may be FAR from their reality, but my imagination is limitless.
Describe your perfect day of relaxation.
Balcony over a beach. Laptop ready. Happy family around me. Dr. Pepper
in hand. Breeze blowing across the balcony.
Where can readers learn more about you?
Facebook: Delaina Netherland Smiley – Writer (@dnetherlandsmiley)
Instagram: Delaina Netherland Smiley (@dnetherlandsmiley)
Twitter: Delaina Netherland Smiley (@DelainaSmiley)