Tuesdays with Jena: Meet Delara!

Guys! We made it through another murderous Monday! Get a massive cup of coffee and let’s all congratulate ourselves on being masters of our Universe while we settle in for another Tuesday’s With Jena!

The account I’m bringing you today is going to feel like a bit of an extension of stabby Monday, really. Her feed is dark, dangerous, just a little violent, and all the way gorgeous. You know her account by her alias, @bookwnoname. But, here, off the ‘Gram, I present to you the mysterious, the enigmatic, the Queen of dark herself, Delara!

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She’s so bloody mysterious, this is as close as we get to seeing her. Although, and don’t tell anyone, I’ve actually met her in person. So, I can assure you, she has a lovely face that isn’t a book. But, I can neither confirm nor deny if she is, in fact, an undercover ninja assassin. Some things are best left unknown.

Delara and I share many things. A profound, deep, obsessive love of dark fantasy and violent sci-fi. We love all things sharp, witty, tragic, and of course, stabby. Trissina (@trissinalovesbooks) actually introduced us at Howlerfest in January. Since then, we’ve chatted for hours about our favorite reads, lamented about our writing journey, and fangirled over our mutual unpopular opinions. Her feed gives me all the delicious dark chills and makes my black heart so happy every single day!

If you love participating in photo challenges, you’ll be delighted to know, that Delara hosts a challenge every month! Here’s a sneak peak for August:

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Does that look fun, or what?!

So, close your curtains and grab your favorite sharp object. Because, it’s time to get chatting!

When did you start your Bookstagram account?

I started my account a couple weeks before Christmas 2017. Well, that’s when I started my poetry account—I had this grand plan to alternate between posting a book and a poem. It wasn’t too long before I realized it was better to separate them—so I split them up and began posting specifically for #bookstagram on Dec 30th. Fun fact: the first two photos I posted were Three Dark Crowns and The Essex Serpent. I have yet to read either of them. 

Why do you bookstagram?

It feeds my creativity. Bookstagram combines three things I love: books, photography, and writing. There is something very Zen about the daily routine of taking photographs and coming up with captions. I do much better on the fly than I do when I stock up on photos. It’s like my creative cup of coffee, waking up that part of my brain before I sit down to write or go into work. But the most honest answer is I freaking love words and books and nerding out about them with other people. My account will always remain positive, and I’ll only share books I fully endorse.

Favorite bookstagram account?

Oh, this is tough. Okay. Maybe not. I adore @kenyan_library – especially when he features his cat. He has a gorgeous aesthetic and artistic eye. And he’s so positive, even when he doesn’t like book he gives fair reviews. I admire that.

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Favorite non bookstagram account?

Secret (that’s about to be not-so-secret): I don’t really follow any non-bookstagram accounts anymore. My favorite non bookish accounts are published authors, especially ones that share writerly tidbits and interact with their readers.

Yes! Those are my favorites too! Any you fancy in particular?

Let’s go with @veschwab and @misterkristoff. Did you even have to ask?!

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Theme or no theme?

Theme for me, please. For my own photos I love having a cohesive thread, but I don’t want all my photos to look the same—recognizable, but not too matchy. When you look at my feed you can guess my aesthetic straight away: dark, broody, shadows, blades, and my leather notebook. Sometimes Mr Piney the pinecone. He says “hi.”

But I have a soft spot for posts that look like someone’s just so excited about a book they don’t care about set up or lighting—it’s just about the book. I follow loads of accounts who aren’t concerned about theme.

Do you have any favorite photos? Tell me why you love them!

A recent photo I am super proud of is the To Kill A Kingdom post. It really features the book so well and the colors and composition just works.

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Also, there’s a post from last year that I threw together in a matter of seconds of The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. I think it might have been the first time I used my leather bound notebook and it became an instant favorite. I’ve been using the notebook ever since.

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I also really love this #bookcollage @mother.horror tagged me and a few other fantasy readers to do. Really, anything with swords on it makes me swoon. 

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What do you do when you’re not on the Internet? 

Outside of paid work, I’m either writing, editing, or in some stage thereof on one of my manuscripts. I’m currently on my 2nd draft of a YA science fiction and in the query trenches with an adult sci-fi. Oh, and the shiny new idea machine is churning out ideas. Camp NaNoWriMo is barely over and I’m ready for NaNo in November!

Do you have a favorite place to read?

I’m a bed reader. Give me all the relaxation, please.

I can probably guess, but…. what’s your favorite genre?

Science Fiction. I love Fantasy too, but there’s something about sci-fi that gets my blood pumping. Space is so fucking dangerous and there are endless possibilities for the future of humanity and discovery and… I could go on and on. It’s also what I mainly write, both in the adult and young adult age categories.

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Top five books right now!

I’m going to do top five I’ve read this year so far… and by that I mean SIX

Iron Gold – Pierce Brown

Endsinger – Jay Kristoff

To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo

The Poppy War – RF Kuang

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe – Alex White

Ebooks, audiobooks, paperback or hardcover? Rank them for me.

1 Paperback… easy to carry around and hold. The floppier the better.

2 Hardcover… pretty to look at and photograph so well.

3 Ebooks… great for night reading (so I’m almost always reading 2 books at once these days.)

4 Audiobooks… I can only do audio books for books I’ve already read. My brain needs to see words.

Talk to me about book boyfriends? For or against?

I think it’s great when readers find a character, boy, girl, droid, cat, whatever, that they can connect to. For #bookreadhappyhour, the challenge I host with @readerinthefog and @bookish_bluebird, we often do prompts that focus on characters we’re crushing on. Sure, I can come up with a book girlfriend or boyfriend pretty much on command, but I’m married so that would be weird. But if suddenly Mia Corvere or Kaz Brekker or Jorg Ancrath were to come to life and be age appropriate, well…wait, what was the question?

What book represents your life?

Nevernight, and not because I’m a 16yo assassin dead set on revenge against powerful men who destroyed my family, but because… Oh, wait, yep. That’s totally me! Kidding aside, this book took my tiny writer mind and smashed it open, guts everywhere. I have it (and by proxy Jay Kristoff) to thank for my love of figurative language and characterization.

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I know you do a monthly photo challenge. Tell me more!

Yes! I host a monthly book photo challenge called #bookreadhappyhour with my bookish besties @readerinthefog and @bookish_bluebird. It spawned from a group chat we were all in back when the algorithm first reared its ugly head. I really, really, really wanted to do movie quotes as prompts, and people seem to like the idea so we keep doing it! We’ve been going for over a year now, and I enjoy the challenge of creating a challenge, finding new ways to subvert old prompts.

Ugh. The evil algorithm. I love that your account is all about the book love! How else do you create such positive engagement?

I’m a big fan of making up fun, sharable hashtags that others are invited to join in on to share the love of books! One of those is #JulyofSciFi, which is almost coming to an end (to roll over into the #summerofSciFi coined by @xcrini) to show off my current science fiction reads. The other is my cruel co-opting of #stabbymonday which you started. I’ll be posting fantasy, dark books, really anything murdery, and only books I love and recommend. This autumn, September and October, I plan to do a #darkautumnreads starting with a readalong of Vicious in anticipation of VE Schwab’s release of Vengeful. After that, I’ll be focusing on dark everything: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, thrillers: if it’s dark, I’m reading it!

That sounds A-MAH-ZING!!! Before you go, what’s your favorite reading snack?

Latte – I don’t eat when I read because I don’t want to get the books dirty! 

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I mean, are you swooning or what??!!?!?! If you are, be sure to head over to her account @bookwnoname to give her a follow and lots of hearts. Even if they aren’t black, they’ll make her happy.

That’s it! I hope you loved meeting Delara as much as I adore her! She’s the bees knees! I’ll be back next week with another awesome account!

Want to be featured? Follow me on Instagram @jenabrownwrites and send me a DM!

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