Today we welcome fellow Whiskey Creek Press Torrid author Lux Zakari to our pages for a guest interview. New to Whiskey Creek, she is not new at all to writing, and we’re thrilled to have her join us!
A.K. Why don’t you start by telling us about yourself?
L.Z. I’m Lux Zakari, a heartbreaker/dream maker/love taker in the United States. Currently, I write mainly erotica, and my first novel, Coercion, was released August 2010. My second – Finale – came out just this month. I’m also an editor by day and have just finished getting my master’s in library science, and my interests include hula hooping, traveling, making stuff (all kinds of it!) and indulging in the compulsive cycle of reading my horoscope, convincing myself it’s a crock and that no one can ever know what will happen, then reading it again the next day.
A.K. Tell us one thing about yourself people would be surprised to learn.
L.Z. Prior to 2004, I used to never be able to finish anything, story-wise. With the exception of one (horribly boring and plotless) novel, I had half-started stories everywhere, and while writing was always something I did, I don’t think I ever thought, “Hey, I want to be an author for real real.” But along came NaNoWriMo, which forced me to finish writing a book in thirty days, and even though the premise to the story was bizarre and beyond over-the top (i.e., historical figures all attending the same high school – JFK was the class prez and the Marquis de Sade was a freaky little perv who deflowered Joan of Arc), the whole experience showed me that I could really do this. Since then, there’s never been a question of whether I’ll get something done or not, and I look back at how I was in 2004 and I can’t believe that was ever me.
A.K. Sounds like you really turned an important corner in 2004! Tell us about your writing: How long have you been writing? What genre(s) do you write in? What have you written (short stories, novels, etc.)? What works are currently for sale? Where?
L.Z. I’ve been writing stories – although most of them will always be unfinished – since before I could comprehend that that was what I was doing. As a kid, I would color in notebooks and talk to myself, describing the plot I was drawing, and if I look back through those notebooks now, I can still identify the narrative, even though there was nothing written. I dabbled in writing throughout my whole life, but in high school my attention turned to art so words fell by the wayside. Eventually though, when I hit college and switched majors from graphic design to literature, I got back into it, and now I = out of control.
But I didn’t start writing erotica until 2007 at the urging of a friend, and since then I’ve never looked back. As previously mentioned, I had my first book, Coercion, published last year, and it can be purchased at Lyrical Press. My second novel, Finale, was just released and is available at Whiskey Creek Torrid. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for the future as well.
A.K. What made you decide to write?
It’s so hard not to write, so it’s hardly a decision at all. I’m surrounded by so many interesting ideas and they’re all so difficult to ignore. It’s a fun sort of agony – living in a state of constant inspiration!
A.K. What made you chose to write erotic literature in particular? Is there any other genre you’d like to write? And if so, why?
L.Z. I used to be shy about writing erotica! Now I can’t stop with the sexy. I’ve always gravitated to writing and reading stories about relationships; I like identifying with whatever complex emotional situation the characters are going through and deriving hope and insight from it. And for the most part, a story about a relationship is going to involve sex to some degree. I prefer to get graphic about it in my own work, since I try to describe every other nuance about what’s happening between the characters, so it doesn’t make sense to gloss over all the doin’ it or drop a censorial “Later…” on top of it.
I may want to dabble in another genre one day, which is why I’d eventually like to be known as not necessarily an erotica writer but an author who writes about relationships, for better and for worse, in very explicit detail. I hope someday to make that description more succinct and poetic. And I also hope someone gleans a bit of from whatever I’ve written, like I have with similar stories.
A.K. I love that relationships are your focus, and I think you’re right, that’ll give you a lot of options in the future. What do you like most about writing? Least?
L.Z. Like a nerd, I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of writing, where I’ll realize how to make some element work within the story. That’s sort of exciting, and it makes me feel like a genius! What I like least is being so new to a story that I don’t yet feel attached and so all the characters suck and it feels like I’ll never know and like any of them. But usually, when I push my way through, that feeling ebbs.
A.K. Not nerdy at all – sounds like a good combination of research and writing. Any advice for those who want to write?
L.Z. I was recently talking with author Lucy Morgan, and in that conversation, I realized that my advice is to always write the story you want, the way you want to tell it. Listen to suggestions, yes, regarding plausibility, continuity, grammar, style, plot, etc., but ultimately make sure that you love and respect what you’ve done.
A.K. Excellent advice – others aren’t likely to love your story if you don’t! Is there a way for fans and others to contact you? (email, social networking links, etc.)
A.K. Tell us about your latest release – we’d love an excerpt, too!
When music legend Jonathan Levant dies in a motorcycle accident, no one is more stunned than his former lover Olivia Gray, a hedonistic ex-celebrity who learns she’s been inexplicably named the guardian of his children. Olivia’s reluctant acceptance of the new parental role obliterates her hope of resurrecting her songwriting career as she faces sarcastic teenagers, suicide attempts and séances. The upset to her self-indulgent life forces Olivia to finally face the truth about the cruel decisions of her wild past, her now uncertain future and her secret, turbulent relationship with a man who, even in death, continues to upend her world.
And the excerpt:
I glanced up and down the length of the hotel hallway. Several doors down, I found what—or, more correctly, who—I was looking for, walking with his back toward me.
I wordlessly followed him, my heart again pounding from the thrill of the game. I trailed him down a back stairwell and out to the pool, lit only by a few torches and looking like a lagoon at this time of night. Rocks and palm trees surrounded the mouth of the pool and the black water seemed to stretch on for miles, its subtle waves shimmering in the city lights, and ended at a row of illuminated skyscrapers in the distance.
Jonathan stopped, as if entranced by the scenery. I paused in the doorway, listening to the soft Santa Ana winds staving off the smog, the muffled merrymaking of a nearby party and the sounds of traffic, which seemed so far off, it was like I imagined them.
The relative silence ended. “Are you going to tell me why you’re following me or do I have to guess?”
I had to smile at his voice—irritated, impatient. He turned his head, watching me from the corner of his eye. His profile, rosy in the light of the torches, was suspicious, attractive. His blond, perfectly coiffed Ken-doll hair was growing out, and his lips—far poutier than his brother’s—pursed as he awaited my answer.
“Following you? I don’t think so.” I stepped next to him and kicked off my shoes. “It appears someone let his fame go to his head. I just wanted to get a breath of fresh air, take a swim. Is that acceptable?”
His eyes, black in the night’s darkness, conveyed nothing as he studied my face like he looked for lies. “A swim?”
Was that a note of interest I heard? “Of course. Isn’t that why you’re here too?”
“I’m here because my brother kicked me out,” he said, burying his hands in his pants pockets and arching an eyebrow at me, “since he was in there with you.”
Boys weren’t allowed be both good-looking and so snide. “And now I’m out here with you. Kindly explain your point.”
Jonathan watched me for a moment then finally broke into a smile so wide, so genuine it took me by surprise. “I guess don’t have one.”
“It would seem so.” I looked at the horizon at the black jagged outlines of the buildings, mulling over whether it’d be smart to up the stakes in this game with this boy. He was too young, too angelic.
Still, being smart was so terribly uninteresting.
My decision made, I grabbed my hem and pulled upward, now completely nude except for the Harry Winston diamonds at my throat, wrist and ears. I handed him my dress and took a few strides toward the pool, the damp rock steps beneath my feet leading me into the water. “Well,” I called over my shoulder, “let’s swim then.”
Thank you for having me! J