With the film adaptation of her novel Addicted now in theaters, TheReadingRoom sat down with bestselling author Zane, to discuss the key ingredient to writing her addictive erotic fiction.
Where did your love of storytelling come from?
My childhood sparked my imagination and the need to spin tales of varying degrees. As a child, I was like a sponge when it came to practically inhaling the pages of books. By sixth grade, I was literally reading a book a day. I can now read up to four novels in a day and remember every character, every experience, and appreciate it.
Between the success of your bestselling novels and the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey, erotica has become less taboo in recent years. Why do you think this is?
I believe that it has and timing is everything but so is knowing the right people to give you the outreach and media attention you need in order to be successful—regardless of the genre. Women want to feel sexually empowered and liberated and they find their resources in places where it works. The written word/fantasies are a good starting place. Women let fear hold them back from being bold and brazen and reading about fictional women without boundaries always helps.
Were you always aware that you were writing erotic fiction, or were you only ever focused on telling a story, and it was your readers who categorized it as such?
Definitely the readers placed me in that category. I consider myself to be a very detailed writer and that is not toned down when it comes to sexuality. But I do not set off on any writing venture consumed by the sexual aspects of it. The sex scenes are fun to create but you could take them out and still read a complete story.
What do you think is they key ingredient of great erotica?
Character development without question. People want to know who people truly are and why they should care about their intimate moments. They also want to have the story described in such vivid detail that they feel like they are in the room—bedroom or otherwise. Readers want to feel some kind of emotional connection to characters so that when something happens to them—good or bad—they have a vested interest in the outcome.
Do you still feel the same buzz of excitement now as you did when you first started writing and publishing your work?
Absolutely. I am passionate about what I do and I believe that I am walking in my gift. Writing gives me an escape from reality and it relaxes me, much like working out at the gym may relax someone else. We all have our ways to rejuvenate and reflect at the same time. Writing it mine.
Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a particular routine – things that you prefer to have in place – or is it more of a free-for-all? And has it changed over the years?
I have tried to establish different writing routines but wearing so many hats makes that hard to accomplish. So it is definitely more of a free-for-all in my case. However, I do work very well under pressure so setting deadlines for myself tends to pay off in the end. I prefer writing at night so that I have no interruptions. Over the years, I did start writing more during the day for a time period but that does not work as well for me as the night so I have gone back to that. It is almost like working the third shift at a factory except the only gears turning are in my head. I have insomnia so it helps.
Who are your greatest writing influences?
I cannot say that anyone actually influenced my writing because I do believe my writing style is unique and I have never tried to capture the vision of anyone else. However, I will say that I have an overall love of writing and am often impressed with the writing of others.
Are you still able to immerse yourself in books despite being so engaged in writing your own?
Yes, I am. In fact, I feel out of sorts if I do not read every day. My passion began with reading and that will never change. I have a book laying beside my laptop right now that I am halfway through with as I respond to these questions.