Thursday, January 28, 2010

Welcome to Zetta Brown's guest blog!

Welcome Ms. Brown to Love Romances and More, thank you for joining us.

Thanks for having me. And call me “Zetta.” LOL

Did you always want to become a writer?

Yes, ever since I was ten-years-old when a friend and I decided to make up our own stories to read. We were bored. That summer I wrote my first novel of what was to be a trilogy. It’s long gone now!

What is the most, and the least, interesting fact about writing?

The most fascinating thing about writing is discovering what you mind will come up with as far as a story—if you give it a chance. I’ve had a storyline bugging me for weeks that I never would have thought of because it’s in a different genre from what I write.

It’s hard to pick the “least interesting” aspect of publishing because there are so many parts to it. But if I had to pick, I’d say it would be is keeping track of all sales outlets and trying to stay on top of all the changes in technology. I’m not a gadget person. I like to keep things simple, but it’s important if you want to reach as many people as possible. Lucky for me, my husband is a techno-geek.

How did you celebrate your first release? What was it like to see your book in a bookstore? Do you have a special ritual for celebrating a book release?

I celebrated my first release the same way I celebrated my first royalty check—I took the husband out to dinner.

I haven’t seen my book in bookstores—yet. We’re a small press, but our books are listed in Ingram’s catalogue, a major book distributor that supplies the major bookstores like Barnes & Noble, you just have to ask for them. But you can find all our titles on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, OmniLit, and our websites—to name a few!

How did your family react to fact that you write romance novels? Have your family read your book?

They know I write...they just don’t know what I write. To be honest, my family doesn’t read my work, and that’s fine with me.

Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites? Have any influenced your writing?

I have a long list of books I want to read on top of the books I need to read. Being a writer has given me the opportunity to come to know many new and established authors. Some of my favorite authors are in a group of which I am a part. The Bad Azz Authors is a group of interracial/multicultural erotic romance authors who have teamed up to collaborate and support each other’s work.

Do you feel each of your characters live with you as you write? Do their lives sometimes take over a part of your life? Can you name an example? Do you have living role models for your characters?

My characters most definitely do live with me as I write their stories. It can be very annoying because some of them are very pushy and won’t leave me alone until I write something down. I use living people as inspiration for my characters to an extent. Not to create a straight comparison, mind you, but to draw on to create a composite.

But one example of a character that I’ve drawn direct from real life is that of Miss Sunny Vincent in my short story, “Devil Don’t Want Her.” I modelled her after my late great-grandmother, and let’s just say she wasn’t the nicest person to have walked the earth.

Where do you get the inspirations for your books?

I get inspired by personal experiences, people watching, travel—dreams—anything really.

Do you find it difficult at times to write love scenes?

Heck no! More often than not that’s where I start! If readers think that reading romances is a great means of escape, think about it from the author’s point of view. We get to think of those means of escape again, and again...and—you get the picture. But like with anything else, you need to be in the mood. If I’m having a bad day, I may not be in the mood to write anything steamy so I may write a scene where there’s conflict. Then again, having a bad day may prompt me to write a love scene because my characters will come to my pity party. They love me even when no one else does!

Do you have a problem with deadlines and have you ever suffered a writers block?

I don’t have a problem with deadlines. Some authors say there’s no such thing as “writer’s block” and that it’s just laziness. This may be true. I’m not disciplined enough to sit down and write X-amount of words a day. I can’t force myself to work on one of my stories if I have nothing to say. To do so would be a waste of time because what I’ve written is of no use. But this doesn’t stop me from writing snippets of conversations or scenes that I don’t necessarily have a story for. I keep them and hope to use them later. This usually is enough to get me back on track to what I was working on originally.

Do you prefer stand-alone books or series (As a reader or a writer)?

As a reader and a writer, I prefer stand-alone books. I don’t mind series as long as they don’t go on and on and on. Just like on TV, some series need to die gracefully before the audience demands to kill it or they dwindle from lack of interest. Always leave ’em wanting more.

I used to read a very popular mystery series until I got totally sick of the main character who never seemed to learn from her mistakes. I believe if you’re going to write a series, your characters should develop, if not mature, through the course of the series. Some may say that this goes against the point of having a series, because in a series, having some kind of predictability is necessary. But if a series goes on for so long that the primary characters are now stale and boring and only the villain and/or victim is different, it’s time to stop.

I have had people request that I write another story involving the character Casey from my short story, “Cherries Jubilee” which is a prequel to Messalina – Devourer of Men. I’ve made some notes. We’ll see. If I can develop a story I like, I’ll do it, but you can’t force it if nothing’s there.

However, I do two different storylines in mind that should make a trilogy each.

If you could change places with one character from your book, who would it be and why?

I’d probably change places with young Eva in “Cherries Jubilee.” She’s eighteen-years-old and on the verge of taking on the world.

What is your favorite book from the books that you have written so far? Who are your favorite hero and heroine, and why?

Hmm. That’s like asking a mother which child they love best. While the mother may have a personal favourite, it’s not in the child’s best interest to ever find out.

Would you like to give another genre a try?

Yes, and I have. One bad thing about writing is that authors are expected to pidgeonhole themselves by writing in one category. Authors typically read more than one genre so it’s only natural that an author may get an idea and want to try it.

I’ve written literary fiction and I have ideas for paranormal and mystery.

Which book was the hardest to write and which the easiest?

The hardest one to write is the current one and the easiest is the one that’s finished. But seriously, MESSALINA – DEVOURER OF MEN was hardest. It took over ten years to write because I wrote it in fits and starts as I worked and went to university.

If you could choose one of your books for a movie, which one would it be and who would you have as the cast?

Very good question. I’d have to think about that. But I’m open to suggestions from people who’ve read my stories. As far as the male lead is concerned, I usually like those actors that people may not know or recognize.

If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?

At the moment, I’d love to visit Dido Elizabeth Belle. She was the daughter of a slave woman and a nobleman who lived in Scotland in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century. I need to talk to her as a part of my research for a future novel I have in mind.

Do you listen to music while you are writing and if so what music is it?

Yes! I love music. In fact, on the last pages of MESSALINA – DEVOURER OF MEN, I have a “soundtrack” of tunes that inspired me as I wrote the book. Every chapter has a song to correspond with it, and I threw in a few extras too.

When I’m working I like to listen to ska or R&B. I like 80s “new wave” artists, and I love classic Motown and 50s and 60s rock/pop. As far as more modern artists, I like Duffy and Amy Winehouse…because they sound so retro.

Big congrats to your latest release, can you please tell us something about the book?

MESSALINA – DEVOURER OF MEN came out in June 2008 and my next novel MALICE is due out later this year. However, I do have a short story, “Hung,” that is to be released in March 2010 as a part of the anthology MAKING THE HOOKUP published by Cleis Press.

Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a teaser about these projects?

My next novel is an erotic mystery/suspense called MALICE. It takes place in Colorado and draws on the theme that you can’t pick your relatives, similar to that in “Devil Don’t Want Her,” but much darker. You can read a sample MALICE and my other work off my website here:

I also have a few projects on the go with the Bad Azz Authors. One is a story as part of an anthology, and another is the novella OFF THE CHAIN.

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