Delilah S. Dawson is joining us today to talk about her novel, Bloom Here’s the publisher’s description:
Rosemary meets Ash at the farmers’ market. Ash—precise, polished, and practically perfect—sells bars of soap in delicate pastel colors, sprinkle-spackled cupcakes stacked on scalloped stands, beeswax candles, and glossy green plants. Ro wants to be her and have her in equal measure. But as her obsession with Ash consumes her, she may find she’s not the one doing the devouring…
What’s Delilah’s favorite bit?
Delilah S. Dawson
I have always been obsessed with the concept of the Goblin Market. From Labyrinth to Stardust to season 4 of What We Do in the Shadows, I dream of a magical, glittering place where the view around each new corner is more promising than the last, a realm of hidden alleys and dusty tents where bewitched goods and carnivorous plants squat amongst pastel tea cakes and old bird cages filled with butterflies. I am drawn to farmers markets and antique shops and festivals where I can wander on my own, free to follow where serendipity leads, looking for treasure in every old, rattling drawer.
And yet… well, the Goblin Market features goblins, doesn’t it? It’s right there in the name. These places are not wholly safe. Where there is magic, there is danger. There is always a price to be paid, and anything offered freely should be immediately suspect. The labyrinthine, strangely lit Goblin Market is the perfect hunting ground.
When we think of predators, we think of action words: pounce, sprint, chase, dive. But many predators prefer to quietly, cunningly lay traps and wait for their ideal prey to wander by. That’s why I love this bit from the beginning of BLOOM.
On the table before her are bars of soap in delicate pastel colors, sprinkle-spackled cupcakes stacked on scalloped stands, butter-gold beeswax candles, jelly jars of honey with thick blocks of comb and gingham tops tied with ribbons. The sides of her stand feature wooden shelves crowded with glossy green plants in grower pots—plants with round leaves like lily pads and pointy leaves like puppet tongues and wide, veiny leaves like elephant ears.
Because this is the scene that lures in my main character, Ro, and it’s exactly the kind of trap that would cause me to stop and ignore my animal instincts. It’s a trap I laid for myself. Writing this book allowed me to imagine every way in which I might personally fall for a predator’s ruse while never suspecting a thing. Like Ro, I would’ve gone back for another taste of those cupcakes again and again, never questioning what made them taste so very uniquely unctuous.
And to be clear, I would’ve handed Baby Toby over to Jareth the Goblin King for a chance to spend my days in a ballgown, surrounded by a bunch of Muppets. I’ve never been good at turning down the promise of magic.
BLOOM was inspired by my daughter, who watched Hannibal and asked me why all the hot serial killers were dudes.
There’s the reasonable answer: Because most actual serial killers are male.
And there’s the scary answer: Because the women don’t get caught.
And then there’s the fun answer: They don’t have to be, and next year, I’ll hand you a book.
Bloom is a doomed sapphic romance, a female twist on Hannibal, and an amuse bouche of cottagecore horror… but it’s also a firm reminder of the need for consent in new relationships and an object lesson in how infatuation can cause even the most erudite among us to see all the red flags as pretty pink ribbons. I would’ve fallen for it, I’m telling my child and the world, so don’t you fall for it.
There’s something deliciously dark about creating a character very much like yourself, with all your insecurities and trauma, and tempting them to follow the gumdrop trail that will lead to their inevitable capture. Each time Ro thinks, “This can’t be right,” something pulls her back into the cotton candy fog of deception—including the gift of an antique typewriter, which would make me forgive most transgressions. Evil does not always arrive covered in slime and boils; sometimes it wears linen dresses and ruffled aprons and holds out a perfect cupcake, offering you a taste if only you’ll lean forward, so trusting, mouth open, and take it.
Delilah S. Dawson is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: PHASMA, plus over twenty other novels for kids, teens, and adults that mostly lean into Horror, or at least monsters, human and otherwise. As Lila Bowen, she writes Wake of Vultures and the Shadow series. She’s written in the worlds of The X-Files, Firefly, Labyrinth, Adventure Time, Marvel Action Spider-Man, Hellboy, Minecraft, Stranger Things, and Disney Mirrorverse. She once worked in a haunted house, where she excelled as both a cannibal and a dead body. Delilah lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at delilahsdawson.com and on Twitter and Instagram as @DelilahSDawson.