Soapbox Spotlight: Erin Zarro
Thank you for visiting! Today’s Spotlight is with Erin Zarro, a fantasy writer and poet currently residing in Michigan. She is here to tell us about her latest work, Fey Touched (note: this novel has adult content and is recommended for readers 18 and older.)
Tell us about yourself.
I am a novelist and poet living in Michigan. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen, and I taught myself how to type when I was 7. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and an unofficial minor in Photography (my second love). I am married to a wonderful man who is my soulmate, and we have a kitty daughter named Hailey, who I’m sure is part-vampire. To pay the bills, I am the office manager for a small marketing firm. But my true love in life is writing.
What first attracted you to this genre?
I’ve always loved fantasy, ever since I read Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. And I started reading sci-fi around 2006 or so and found it awesome…but kinda tough to understand (well, hard sci-fi anyways). When I was kicking around the idea of self-publishing with Turtleduck Press, I knew I needed something a bit unusual, so I thought if I combined fantasy and sci-fi, I’d have something both fun to write and cool to read. I took a bit of each and created a story that I believe is totally unique.
What inspired you to write your first book, and what was it?
Well, it depends on which first book we’re talking about. If we’re talking about the very beginning, I don’t actually remember, except that it featured unicorns. When I came back to it in 2001, I was unemployed. It was my first serious foray into novel writing. It was called The Dreaming Eye and it was inspired by real life events. And the question that started it: if you could relive your life, what would you do differently? What would stay the same?
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Revising. First drafts are pure fun to write, and that’s where I discover the story. After that, I usually have to do a lot of revising (and possibly rewriting) to make things work. Sometimes I’ll rip out whole chapters or rewrite chapters. It’s difficult, but the end result is always worth it.
Did writing this new book teach you anything and what was it?
Yes. That I can not only write to a deadline, but the revisions don’t have to take years. I’m a very slow writer, and everything I’ve ever written has taken at least a few years start to finish. Except Fey Touched. That was quite the revelation for me.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I believe it’s a tie between my villains (who I’ve been told are scary as hell) and my plots. I’m pretty good about twisting the screws tighter and tighter on my poor characters.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
All the time! But usually, something has gone off the rails and I need to regroup and figure out what happened and how to fix it. I usually ponder it and brainstorm until I think of something. If I’m really stuck, I freewrite about the problem and possible solutions. Sometimes I just need time away. It just depends on the book and what else is going on in my life at the same time.
Can you tell us a little more about Fey Touched?
Asha is the Queen of the Fey, genetically engineered immortal humans who feed on human souls to survive. But she’s running from her people. When she is found by her enemy, one of the Hunters of the Fey, she expects to die. Yet he’s oddly intrigued by her, and Asha finds herself falling in love with him, hoping she can find safety and the home she’s been seeking. Then she’s kidnapped, and everything changes.
Fallon is a Hunter. She’s looking for her long-lost sister, using an addictive drug to search through the stream of time. Her addiction leaves her dangerously exposed to her enemies but, consumed by her search, she doesn’t care…until her fellow Hunters start dying from a mysterious illness. She is torn between duty and desire, and must find an answer before they all die.
What Fallon doesn’t know is that Asha might just be the key to saving them all, if only she can find her.
And time is running out.
PLEASE NOTE: this book contains explicit language, explicit sex, and graphic violence. It isn’t suitable for those under 18.
Wow! So, how did you come up with the title?
The title (and series title, as they are the same) came from the Hunters in my book. They’re called Fey Touched because they hunt Fey (in my world, they’re genetically engineered humans who are immortal and must feed on human souls to survive) who turn into killing machines. They have some of the Fey genes in them so they can hunt them better.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
This was completely different from any other book I’ve ever written, as a lot of the basic things came from my first finished novel, The Sacrifice (back in 2003, for National Novel Writing Month). But back then, I used vampires and vampire slayers. I always knew I wanted to update it somehow, and the idea hit me one day last October. Scientific Fey and Fey Hunters. I usually do a loose outline before starting, but with this one, I didn’t write anything down at all. (In fact, it was almost a superstitious thing – if I write this down, I’ll lose the spark. Luckily, I have a really good memory). As for the plot, I more or less drew it out of thin air as I was writing it. I knew some basic things and kept making things worse and worse for my characters. The characters, with a few exceptions, where from The Sacrifice.
What do you love about independent publishing?
The freedom! I can set my own deadlines, choose my own cover, and do my own editing. There’s no one controlling it but me, and that’s a good feeling.
Thanks for joining us, Erin!
Turtleduck Press (a writer’s alliance I’m a part of…we strive to bring less commercial but quality works to the world): http://www.turtleduckpress.com
You can find Erin’s book on Amazon.