Angels Of The Fallen, The Watchers

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published By Dana Delamar

  A Funny Thing Happened 
on the Way to Getting Published

      Why Choosing Your Setting Is Important
My current series, Blood and Honor, is set in Italy among the Calabrian Mafia. Why did I choose that setting, and that Mafia group? It wasn’t a mere whim; the country and the group were both deliberate choices.
First off, I chose Italy because it’s one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve been there twice, and I can’t wait to go again. I love the culture, the people, the food, the language. I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient Romans and the Italian artists and thinkers of the Renaissance. These are the people who literally changed the world and forged so much of what it is today. And talk about one of the most beautiful places on earth! Where better to set a romance than in a place that practically screams it?
Most importantly, Italy is a place that speaks to me, that fires off dreams in me, yearnings, emotions. It’s a place that sparks my imagination. You could say it’s my favorite playground.
My choice of the Calabrian Mafia (the ’Ndrangheta) was likewise deliberate. Everyone has heard of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia. With the release of the book and film, “Gomorrah,” many have heard of the Camorra, the Neopolitan Mafia. But few have heard of the ’Ndrangheta, despite their being the most powerful and widespread Mafia syndicate in the world today. They operate quite differently than the other Mafias, and they’ve been enormously successful while maintaining a very low profile. Even in Italy, not everyone is as aware of them as they should be. They’ve infiltrated every level of Italian society, and they’re making inroads throughout Europe, Canada, Australia, South America, and even parts of the United States. The economic instability of the last few years has only broadened their reach. You can see this too, in Mexico and South America, where drug cartels have taken over huge swaths of territory. We are rapidly entering a world where criminal syndicates are running the show… and where traditional governments are struggling to assert and maintain control.
When I started researching the ’Ndrangheta, I was fascinated by how they operated and how successful and adaptable they’ve been. Choosing a Mafia group that wasn’t well-known and didn’t work exactly like Cosa Nostra or other better-known groups gave me plenty of fertile ground to develop plots and characters. It also gave me a new world to introduce to my readers. 
At one point, when I was pitching this series to agents and editors, an editor from a Big 6 publisher was interested, but she asked if I could switch the setting and story to focus on the Chicago Mob. I had to decline. Changing the setting, in terms of country and syndicate, would dramatically and radically change the story. Italians, and members of the ’Ndrangheta, don’t think the same way American-born members of the Chicago Mob do. Another factor was that Kate, the American heroine of my first book, REVENGE, is isolated in Italy. Her family is thousands of miles away, and she soon realizes that the husband who swept her off her feet isn’t who she thought he was. She has no one she can trust, nowhere to turn. If she’d been in the United States, the hurdles she would have faced would have been much smaller, and she would have been far less likely to entrust her fate to the man she ends up choosing in REVENGE--a rival Mafia don.
Setting and story go hand in hand. One influences the other. The setting is the cauldron in which a story brews… and it’s integral to the magic that brings the story to life in readers’ minds.

Dana Delamar is the author of the "Blood and Honor" romantic suspense series, which is set in Italy among the Calabrian Mafia. An avid traveler who loves to learn about different peoples and cultures, Dana often sets her books in exotic locales. She grew up in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, and today makes Seattle her home. She's an omnivorous reader with overflowing bookshelves and a passionate love of "Supernatural," "Firefly," "True Blood," "Mad Men," and a zillion other TV shows. Where she finds the time to sleep is a mystery.

When she's not writing, Dana is zipping off to visit new locales, dreaming about her next trip to Italy, or narrowly avoiding car accidents while she conjures up exploits for her characters. You can visit her at
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