American Horror Story: Delicate - Author Previews Book That Inspired New Season

American Horror Story Season 12 will be titled American Horror Story: Delicate, and it will be a uniquely special event for Ryan Murphy's long-running horror/drama anthology series. American Horror Story: Delicate is the first season of the show to be based on another fictional work: the new novel Delicate Condition by Danielle Valentine. 

Now that the first promos for American Horror Story: Delicate have revealed just how freaky Kim Kardashian, Emma Roberts and Cara Delevingne all look in the show, fans are naturally looking into what Delicate Condition is all about. Now EW has a profile of Danielle Valentine to share, where the author details more about what her new book is really all about. 

The first thing to learn is that Emma Roberts will be playing "Anna," the protagonist of Delicate Condition's story. Not only is Roberts playing a character from the book, but Valentine also reveals the actress was the inspiration for the book character she's now playing: "This is manifestation if I ever heard it," Valentine said. "It has been purely thrilling to watch it happen." 

What Is Delicate Condition About? 


Delicate Condition by Danielle Valentine

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From EW's more lengthy synopsis of the novel: 

The Anna of Delicate Condition has come to suspect that someone is trying to stop her from getting pregnant. Could it be the anonymous online Tumblr user @Number1Fan, who's been dragging her on the internet? Could it be the strange lady that snuck a photo of her as she entered her doctor's office? Could it be the stranger who broke into her house one night and crept into her bed while she was sleeping? She can't be certain of anything these days. Anna finds support in her close friend Siobhan, another actress who's much more well known than she is, but her own husband doesn't even believe her half the time. Then Anna's worst fear becomes a reality: her doctor informs her that she has miscarried... except she can still feel the baby inside her. She can still see the physical effects it's having on her body. The pregnancy symptoms only grow more severe and horrifying when someone begins stalking her through the Hamptons, and no one seems to take her seriously when she insists that something is wrong.

It's obvious to see why that story premise drew Valentine to Emma Roberts: Roberts had a public pregnancy during the 2020 pandemic giving birth to a son with actor Garrett Hedlund at the end of the year. The couple would split up a little over a year later, leaving Roberts in a rocky place of co-parenting. Those are deep life experiences that Danielle Valentine says she definitely explored in Delicate Condition

"It is essentially a horror novel about pregnancy," Valentine says. "It's a novel exploring not just the actual physical gruesomeness of what pregnancy is, but also the medical gaslighting that even modern, very privileged women experience as they're going through their pregnancies and the symptoms that I feel we as a culture still don't talk about for strange reasons." 

However, American Horror Story wasn't Valentine's horror genre inspiration for the book – Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver provided that: "I was really much more inspired by Alien, which I think will also give readers an idea of where I'm taking this... When I first saw it when I was a kid, it didn't occur to me that that's basically what pregnancy is, but at six months pregnant, I'm like, 'Oh, wow! That's just a pregnancy story without the pregnancy.' That was the seed right there."

She also had her own personal connections to the story: namely miscarrying one of her own pregnancies, as well as living to see laws surrounding female reproductive rights in America change so drastically: 

"About a year before I came up with the idea for this book, I miscarried," Valentine revealed. "That experience was very surreal and horrible and I think made me a little bit more aware as a woman of what it means to carry a child, how huge it is that we're asking women to do that. We're not being honest with them about the side effects and how it's going to feel and how it's going to change their bodies and their minds... I have anxiety that I didn't have before. I feel like a different person, physically and mentally, just from having gone through this experience. It really bothers me when I hear particularly male lawmakers and male politicians talking about how women can go through pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption or what have you, and really not giving enough weight to what it is to experience pregnancy and how life-altering that experience is."

How Closely Will AHS Season 12 Follow Delicate Condition? 

(Photo: FX Networks)

While "Anna" will be a direct adaptation, it's made clear that American Horror Story: Delicate will be its own thing – and even Danielle Valentine is said to be waiting to see how that adaptation takes shape. In her own words, the author is confident in the team handling her material: 

"I am such a fan of Ryan Murphy and that whole team that I just have utter faith that it's going to be glorious," Valentine said. "So it's been really easy for me to feel entirely excited for that."

American Horror Story: Delicate doesn't have an official premiere date but is expected sometime in 2023.