Posted by: Author | May 29, 2012

Guest Extraordinaire! Gail Delaney

JILLIAN: Today I have a wonderful guest, Gail Delaney. She’s the editor in chief at Desert Breeze Publishing and not only is she an awesome person (who I adore) and editor, she’s a pretty spectacular writer. I hope you enjoy this little interview with her and learning a bit about her story, Janus. First, I’m going to post the blurb so that some of the questions I’m asking Gail make more sense. The excerpt is at the end of the interview.

It’s been a year since Humanity rose up against their alien oppressors and took back Earth from the Sorracchi. The war left Earth devastated, crippled, but not beaten. Under the leadership of President Nick Tanner and in collaboration with their new Areth and Umani allies, the Earth seeks stable ground again.

John Smith of the Areth was a soldier before his queen asked him to serve as ambassador to Earth, and he is out of his element. Restricted in his position from carrying a weapon, he has no way of defensing himself or his adopted son when the Xenos — a group of Humans wishing to purge the Earth of all alien influence — decide they want him dead.

Jenifer is a soldier for hire, and answers to no one but her own common sense. She first refused the “job” of serving as John’s bodyguard, but a glimpse at the heart of the man convinces her to accept the responsibility.

John has two faces: a soldier and an ambassador of peace. Jenifer has two faces: the steel-skinned warrior and the forgotten person she once was. Too many people hide behind masks, and it’s those hiding who want John dead.


JILLIAN: When did you first become a fan of science fiction? Can you remember the first book you read in the genre? First movie or television show?

GAIL: I enjoyed science fiction back as far as I can remember. Star Wars came out when I was in elementary school, and I first watched it because I had a crush on a boy named Peter who was into it, so I watched it. And I watched the rest because I wanted to. 🙂

Star Trek: TOS went into syndication when I was in elementary school, too. I remember watching it every afternoon and writing notes in a little notebook with stardates and mission logs. I just grew from there. Star Wars, Star Trek, The Last Starfighter, Enemy Mine, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers… I loved them all. Doctor Who was a big one for me in junior high and high school as PBS syndicated the British episodes about two years behind.

As an adult, I am still drawn to science fiction. Stargate SG-1 and Farscape are big ones for me, but I also like the contemporary science fiction shows like X-Files and Fringe.

JILLIAN: Where did you get the inspiration for the names of the Sorracchi, Areth and Umani? Do they have special meanings or did you just like the sound of them?

GAIL: Both Areth and Umani are plays on Earth and Human, which play well into some of the mythos of the series. Sorracchi just sounded mean and bad… those hard consonants, I guess. I don’t recall really thinking about Sorracchi… it just fell off my fingertips, so to speak.

JILLIAN: I love that about the names. So clever that you used Earth and Human. Explain to us the new world order. There is a president of the world in your story. How do the individual countries that existed in our day come to merge into a one world government?

GAIL: In the history prior to the Phoenix series, our world made first contact with aliens in the early part of the 21st century (technically about three years ago. LOL). It took nearly two decades before the political structure of the world changes to a single, unified government under one person… a president. As far as representation of the countries, thing of our own government structure, but instead on a state by state level, continent by continent and country by country. Before the war that nearly destroyed the planet, the Sorracchi had begun to infiltrate many levels of government, both covertly and openly.

When the world fell apart, and all the prior chain of command was gone, decisions had to be made fast to give the world a leader. We returned to the single World President structure, but with slight variations on terms and procedures, and with the idea things would change as required. It’s in a state of flux in Phoenix Rising, under the command of one man. Nik Tanner.

JILLIAN: What are the weapons commonly used in the world you created in this story?

GAIL: Most often, they use a pulse weapon — rifle, pistol, etc. Projectile weaponry is nearly non-existent. There are other power or energy based weapons that are evolved from our weapons of today. You might carry a Glock, but it’s not the Glock you’d have today. The assault on the body is less messy, but just as deadly.

JILLIAN: Tell us about Silas and his mother. What happened to her and how did Ambassador John Smith come to adopt him?

GAIL: Silas’ mother Chloe was no more than a passing acquaintance to John Smith. At the time, he was working in a medical facility gathering information to bring back to his queen. No one had any idea an alien lived and worked among them. Chloe was one of his many peers, a woman he felt free to speak with but not much more. it was fate that brought Silas to John’s care.

On the day the Sorracchi showed their true faces and launched a global attack on Earth and its inhabitants, John was in a park in Chicago and happened to run into Chloe and her son — barely five years old at the time — and stopped to talk. Then the Death Bringers filled the sky, and they ran for their lives. Chloe died that day, and John took the boy under his care. It wasn’t long before John loved the boy as his own, and couldn’t imagine giving him to another to care for. There was no formal adoption in a world torn apart, but no one questioned him taking the boy.

JILLIAN: You had an earlier series with the name Phoenix Rebellion. Is this series a continuation of that series or of the world you created in that series? It seems so since we have Phoenix in the title. I love the name of the new series, Phoenix Rising. Of course we all know the Phoenix in mythology rises from the ashes. Was this your inspiration for the series title? Can you tell us about that?

GAIL: Phoenix Rising picks up about a year after the end of The Phoenix Rebellion, and it is very much about the world pulling itself from the ashes after the war with the Sorracchi. It’s in The Phoenix Rebellion you learn who the Areth are, who the Umani are, who the Sorracchi are, and the treachery of our enemy. Phoenix Rising is very much about us rising up to become something new.

The tagline for the first series is “Out of ashes, humanity will rise again” and Phoenix Rising is the truth of that statement.

JILLIAN: Tell us something the average person doesn’t know about you.

GAIL: Oh, goodness. I’m a fairly open book. And I love telling stories about myself and my family, my family history… so it’s hard to know what someone wouldn’t know.

But, I guess since it’s a story people find cool when I tell it, most wouldn’t know I’m the child of a multi-generational marriage. My mom was a cougar before it was cool to be a cougar. She was 39 years old when she met my dad… right after he turned 21. He was my half-brother’s (who was 19 at the time) best friend. Mom was a widow, and never imagined when she said her son’s friend could come by to celebrate his birthday she’d be marrying him 19 days later (yes, 19 days) have her last baby (me) at 42 years old. They were married for nearly 25 years when she passed away. And people wonder why I love a good romance. 🙂

JILLIAN: That is an awesome story. I know how much your parents meant to you and that they loved/lived together in a happy marriage after a nineteen day courtship is so special. And not to change the subject, but What do you do for fun?

Gail: Disneyland. 🙂 When we lived on the East Coast, we traveled to DisneyWorld at least once a year, and loved it. Now, living near Los Angeles, we can skip to Disney every few weeks. I love spending time with my family, my husband and kids are great.

If traveling isn’t involved, quite often my kids will congregate in my bedroom and we’ll do a sic fi marathon. Most recently we watched Farscape all the way through, and I think we’re going to do X-Files or Doctor Who next.

JILLIAN: You’re very busy with your career. How much time would you say you spend in pursuing your own writing as opposed to looking at other writers’ work?

GAIL: These days, I’d say it’s about 90%/10% in favor of other writers’ work. But, I knew going into this endeavor the publishing house would come first. I find my time when my muse speaks loudest and most productively.

JILLIAN: You have a couple of characters I’m very interested in- tell us two things about Connor Montgomery that we won’t find in the novel and two things about Mel Briggs that we won’t find there either. Give us some insight into their back story.

GAIL: Connor Montgomery is the brother of First Lady Caitlin Montgomery (whom the readers get to know well in the first series). She thought he was dead for much of the book, and doesn’t find out he’s alive until the very end.

What you don’t know is Connor was raised in France with his parents, which is why every once in awhile he slips into French — especially when he’s swearing. But, the heartbreak is that he was talking with his mother from two hundred miles away from Paris when the Sorracchi bombed it, and he heard his mother die.

Mel was ‘designed’. The Sorracchi, before they were known by their real name, presented humanity with the chance to better ourselves through genetic manipulation, gene cleansing, and selective parenting. Mel’s mother was a scientist, her father a powerful military leader. They barely knew each other before Mel was artificially conceived in a lab. She was raised by her mother, with only the knowledge of who her father — or paternal contributor — was, but she has worked her entire military career to make him proud. That’s kind of a lot of things. 🙂

JILLIAN: Masks seem to be a theme in this book. Can you give us any insight into that?

GAIL: Janus was a god of two faces, and this is a common thread throughout the book and going forward into the series, because no storyline really begins and ends with each book. They are definitely and intrinsically linked. Going back to the first series, the Sorracchi wore two faces — the wolf and the sheep. John Smith wears two faces, the ambassador and the soldier. Jenifer is a powerful woman, but she hides a secret. And there are people who wear two faces you won’t know about — not in this book, at least. 🙂

The president patted Smith’s shoulder as the boarding ramp disappeared into the ship and the docking clamps released. Over their head, the roof peeled back to allow the ship to rise straight up. President Tanner left the ambassador alone in the center of the bay, meeting up with his security staff at the door. One went with the president, the other remaining behind to wait for the ambassador.
Smith moved back from the center of the bay, moving clear of the low-energy propulsion waves. His head tipped back as he watched the ship leave, his shoulders dropping. With a subtle ripple through the air as the engines engaged, the Constellation rose into the atmosphere and disappeared from sight.
The roof folded back in to block out the sun. As soon as the roof closed, and the hydraulics hissed back into place, the ambassador’s head tipped forward and he crumpled — no other word came to mind for what she saw. He folded in on himself, his head held in his hands, and his arms on his bent knees as his shoulders shook.
She was supposed to meet up with the president again, but seeing the ambassador’s silent grief stopped her. People gave more away when they thought no one was watching, especially in their grief.
Jenifer took a step forward, stopping at the edge of the shadow so she was still hidden, and watched. Of course, he knew he wasn’t alone. The security guard was at the door, but even the guard had turned away to allow him a few minutes. She wondered if what she saw was the true measure of the man, or whether like most politicians, every action — every glance — every word — was a performance for any eyes that might see.
She didn’t believe altruistic people really existed. Everyone had an agenda. Everyone wanted what they could get out of whatever they did. No one did anything just to be kind, just to help, just because it was right.
John Smith had a long way to go before he convinced her otherwise.
He stayed in position for several minutes, only the occasional muffled sound of his weeping reaching her in her dark corner. Finally his shoulders relaxed and he raised his head. The echo of his heavy sigh whispered through the empty bay and he rose, scrubbing his palms over his face. One quick rake of his fingers through his hair, and he walked to the exit door.


Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing ‘for publication’ since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.

Gail has had several novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.

Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in — without risking a sun burn.


  1. Fascinating, Gail! I love the “masks” theme idea. You rock!

    • Thank you, Melanie. It’s definitely an ongoing theme through the whole series. Who you are versus who everyone sees.

      • Very intriguing indeed! I love this idea!

    • Thanks for popping in, Melanie. This book sounds great, doesn’t it? I’m planning to dive in when I get a chance

  2. Thanks for coming by today, Gail. So glad to have you here.

  3. Gail you had me at Enemy Mine what a great movie and truly a love story in every sense of the word. Great interview thanks for sharing

    • My spouse loves that movie, too, Darlene.

      • Bet he didn’t get the love story though LOL.

      • Probably not. Hehe

  4. Wow. That cover is amazing. And the world you talk about sounds very thoroughly planned. Being a Sci-Fi nut (who’s despondent as there isn’t any good first-run Sci-Fi on tv anymore), this story is very intriguing. It’s nice to meet you, Gail Delaney!
    And a quick hi to you, Jillian!

    • Hi Laurie! Thanks for coming by and visiting Gail.

  5. Loved the interview. I’m a huge Disney fan so can relate.

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