Thursday, July 25, 2013

Q&A with Z. Allora!

1.  Tell us about your newest release.

Thanks so much for having me.  My new release is Made in China: The Great Wall. It's a hot rocker romance set in Suzhou, China. Made in China begins before they even form a band.  It explores what it's like to grow up gay in a place which literally denies the existence of homosexuality. Gay is considered by most living in China is a Western concept so it's incredibly difficult for my characters. Styx wants to be a drummer and to love his best friend Jin Lan but he's been conditioned to be a good son, get married and have a child. Parental desires are never questioned and individual happiness is never a consideration.

2.  Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?

I love the scene where the band is at Suzhou's only gay club. I was at this club and the scene brings me back to the smoky little hole in the wall. I remember it was the only place in Suzhou I went that I wasn't stared at. No one gawked at my white skin or blond hair like they did all over China outside of Shanghai, I was just allowed to be. The scene is almost a graduation of sorts for each of the characters in different ways...

3.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Always. I grew up with a terrible stutter which was incredibly frustrating. I would sit in class and I would know the answer but I'd never raise my hand because I wouldn't be able to get it out of my mouth. Writing provided me with a venue to get my point across.

4. What is a typical writing day like?

Exercise (Up to 55 minutes on the elliptical… )
Chauffeur/Errands/Clean the House (I might be a tad OCD) /Life
Sit down on my couch with an ice bag on my neck (for a pinched nerve) and go through my e-mails & Facebook a bit
WRITE or do writer-ery things (fight with my blog / try to update my website / take notes for characters that won't HUSH & wait their turn)

5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?

Every few minutes I stop and glance at Facebook. I like knowing my Pretties are there and seeing what everyone's doing. I guess it's from living overseas. I was always very isolated so to have a community to touch base with an absolute miracle for me.

6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?

How much more there is to do than just write! You should blog, be a beta or critique partner, update your websites, you should read outside your genre so you don't become stale, and you should always try improving your skills.

7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

SJ Frost was a real sweetie and suggested I submit my manuscript to MLR Press. Eden Winters & Thursday Euclid help tutor me on the English language…  I've spent the last 15 years or so, traveling and living overseas speaking to  people whose first language was not English. I've needed to work on relearning to communicate as an American. But I think most of my Pretties (aka my Facebook friends) all give me ideas with their posts or literally paste man candy on my wall to feed the writing part of my brain.

8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

Depends on who you ask. Some are fascinated and think it's great. I've had conversations some interesting conversations like explaining how face  to face anal sex would work, why equality is important and how I could possibly know these things. Other relatives & friends… let's just say don't think it's so great. But my husband's very supportive and very happy I've found such a wonderful and supportive community.

9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

Travel, travel and travel. I gave up my career so we could follow my husband's career path overseas. We've lived in Singapore, Israel, and most recently Suzhou China. I've traveled to twenty-nine countries and find each one fascinating. Travel is one of the best educations in the world. It gives a unique perspectives as well as international plot bunnies.

10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?

Club Zombie: Zombies Suck will be coming out with Stiff Rain shortly. The first book in my new BSDM series completed: Entwined: Lock & Key. The Ladyboy Chronicles: Illusions & Dreams which takes place in Thailand is ready to be critiqued. I've been getting flashes from Viking Haven, a sci-fi space opera… and of course I have one very sweet character trying to drag me by the hair to write Made in China 2: The Heavenly Temple. I'm very excited about each of my upcoming books…. and I'm really not thinking of Club Zombie 3, or Entwined 2 even though those characters are tapping their feet (truthfully they flash me sex scenes that unhinge my focus…)

11. How can readers connect with you online?

Ohhhhhh, I LOVE hearing from readers!!!! They can find me at:
Facebook:   ZAllora Allora   (>>>> this extra Allora is because China froze and locked me out of ZAllora when China took away access to Facebook) (my website… where you can see why I'm not a web designer)   

Author Bio:
Z. believes in soul mates, love at first sight, and overcoming all odds to find happily ever afters. Born in Upstate NY, Z. Allora and partner have spent the last fifteen years together traveling across the United States, the Middle East and Asia. These travels provide the inspiration behind many of the detailed settings and characters throughout Z.'s work. Z. received a Master degree in Psychology and Bachelor degrees in both English and Philosophy. (though Z's editors would probably question the English degree). Z. is both a writer and a huge fan of M/M romance as well as Yaoi. It is said the pen is mightier than the sword. Z. thinks all writers and publishers of M/M are promoting equality, since everyone deserves a happily ever after.

Jun "Styx" Wong's heart and mind battle to determine his destiny. His mind tells him to be a good Chinese son and marry the girl his parents chose, but his heart longs for his best friend, Jin, and life with their new band. "Jun" means honesty, but he's not even honest with himself. A quest to eradicate his feelings for Jin nearly ends his life.
Styx's near death serves as a wake-up call for Jin, whose blond hair--legacy of his German father--marks him as different. Jin harbors secrets of his own. His experiences prepare him to take the drastic measures needed to help Jun overcome the walls surrounding them.


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