M. Dalto - Adventurous Romantic Fantasy

M. Dalto - Adventurous Romantic Fantasy
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M. Dalto is a Young Adult and New Adult author of adventurous romantic fantasy stories. Her bestselling debut novel, Two Thousand Years, was a 2016 Watty Award winner (Wattpad.com). She has since released two companion novellas, and its sequel, MARK OF THE EMPRESS, is due to release in Fall, 2019. As our Author of the Day, she tells us more about, Two Thousand Years.

Please give us a short introduction to what Two Thousand Years is about.

Two Thousand Years is about a Alex, twenty-something year old woman from Boston who finds herself being swept into a Prophecy from another realm known as the Empire, whose destiny was predetermined centuries before her time. There she meets Treyan, the Empire's Crown Prince and her betrothed, and together they must protect their kingdom against Reylor, Treyan's twin brother, who was banished from the Empire for contradicting its Prophecy. Time is against them, however, for Reylor has already set in motion a plan to destroy the Prophecy once and for all, and ruin their world in the process.

What inspired you to write about an Empire in conflict due to the Queen Empress' actions?

The inspiration for Two Thousand Years actually came to me in 1993 when Billy Joel released his album ‘River of Dreams’. On it was a song called 'Two Thousand Years'. My best friend and I had very active imaginations and we often wrote our own stories, roleplayed, and the like -- there was something about 'Two Thousand Years' that called to me, telling me there was a story there and it needed to be written. The melody was moving and the lyrics were inspiring- battles to be won and love that spanned centuries – it begged for a story to be told. But it wasn’t until years later, during NaNoWriMo in 2014 that I had the thought in my head to actually write a story inspired by that song I had heard so long ago. So I sat down, and 30 days later, I had the first draft of Two Thousand Years written in its entirety.

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Tell us more about Alex. What makes her so special?

I think what makes Alex special is that she's not special, and I say that in the kindest way possible. She's twenty-two, living on her own, working as a Starbucks barista in downtown Boston. She's struggling to make by while avoiding her parents' judgment for her lack of life decisions. And this is all before she discovers she's a predestined Empress in a faraway realm. She's headstrong, independent, and somewhat cynical- she needs facts and proof before she'll allow herself to believe anything, which is part of why her acclimation to the Empire takes her longer than hoped.

What makes Treyan such a great match for Alex?

Treyan, unlike Alex, lives his life as though everything happens for a reason, and believe Fate drives that force forward. He's not naive by any means, but rather allows his heart to guide his actions, almost to a fault. In that, he and Alex compliment each other and balance out the others idiosyncrasies while remaining a united front, especially where protecting the Empire is concerned.

Are any of the characters in the book based on real people?

Oh no, I don't base my characters off anyone I know in real life, mainly because I don't want my friends and family reading between the lines, so to speak, to see if there's anyone that resembles them.

Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?

Reylor, for many reasons. He makes some rather questionable decisions throughout Two Thousand Years, which really pushes my personal boundaries, especially as a writer.

This was your debut work. What has the journey been like for you?

It's been quite the journey. I confess I had no interest in publishing when I started writing Two Thousand Years. I merely wanted to write a story, and I did. It almost didn't get anywhere either. I finally decided to share my first chapter on one of the NaNoWriMo forums. And the person who read it, a total stranger, messaged me and told me that it may have been one of the worst pieces of writing he ever read. I was devastated. So much so that I was ready to just stop- no more writing, throw the story away, that was it. Until a friend of mine mentioned Wattpad. I never knew it existed until she told what it was, where I could upload as much or as little onto it as I wanted, where the feedback I could get there would be far more diverse than one unknown person’s opinion. So I finally joined in February 2016. But once I posted it to Wattpad, it started doing really well and it won a Watty in 2016. Only after that did I started to consider that maybe there was something more I could do with it. So I started querying it to agents. A lot. And it was rejected. A lot. I tried on SwoonReads and it ebbed and flowed in its popularity, but nothing came of it. It got some interest a Pitmad or two from indie publishers, but at the time I was focused on traditional publishing. I even tried throwing it into 2017’s PitchWars but it got me nowhere. I soon lost count of the rejections, but for this one I was okay because it, and the rest of its series, was still extremely popular on Wattpad. But eventually the frustration got to me and I was seriously considering myself as a writer (don’t we all?) until a friend of mine whom I met through a Facebook group started posting about her new book coming out with a Parliament House Press. After talking to her about it and her experiences, I began to realize that TWO THOUSAND YEARS as a story I wasn’t going to compromise to sell, so maybe an independent small press was something to consider. So I queried them and they enjoyed what they read enough to request my full manuscript a month later, and a week after that I was sent the contract!

You work full-time as a real estate paralegal. How do you make time to write?

The best way to make time is to make the time. Working Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, definitely takes up most of my days. When I get home, my time is then dedicated to family time with my husband and daughter, and only once my daughter goes to bed do I begin to wind down from the day and begin to focus on my writing.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I've played clarinet since 4th grade, and can cross-stitch like it's no one's business!

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Just to keep writing, and moving forward with each new project. To date, I've signed multiple projects with various small presses. I'd still love to find an agent who believes in my work as much as I do, and dream of the day I can walk into my local Barnes & Noble and see my books on their shelves.

What are you working on right now?

I just finished the content edits on the sequel to Two Thousand Years titled MARK OF THE EMPRESS, which releases November 12, 2019. I'm also updating my Paid Story on Wattpad titled THE HEIR AND THE GENERAL, and there are a few anthologies I'll be contributing to in the future.

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Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

A lot of my drafts and works can still be found on Wattpad:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/druidrose

I can also be found on all the usual social media outlets:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MDalto421

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MDalto

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author.mdalto

I also have a website and blog: https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/

M. Dalto is a Young Adult and New Adult author of adventurous romantic fantasy stories. Her bestselling debut novel, Two Thousand Years, was a 2016 Watty Award winner (Wattpad.com). She has since released two companion novellas, and its sequel, MARK OF THE EMPRESS, is due to release in Fall, 2019. As our Author of the Day, she tells us more about, Two Thousand Years.

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