For my blog in this week’s Blog Hop with Indelible Writers, I have chosen to interview the prolific Serena Zane about her e and small press books. Each comment posted to today's blog will be entered into a gift certificate drawing for some chocolate! The winner will be notified in one week's time.
Welcome to my blog, Serena!
Tell us a little about yourself.
When did you start writing and why?
Like many authors, I have always written, from the time I could hold a pencil. I actually have a copy of my first romance novel written in pencil, on purple and pink construction paper, in big block letters. It’s from Kindergarten and the title is actually My First Romance Novel.
However, I didn’t start writing professionally until 2001 when I discovered that I could no longer travel with my acting troupe due to health reasons. I decided that my next career step would be writing. I love creating a world where I can always find my happily ever after. Looking back, I think perhaps it was always meant to be.
How hard was it to break into print? Lots of rejections? Years of distractions?
After writing my first novel, Dark Diamonds, it took many query letters and rejections before I found the right publisher. I got disheartened for a while and actually put it back in a drawer for several years until my husband Gary, then my fiancé, encouraged me to pull it out and try again. I did, and five query letters later I am with a wonderful publisher who wants more.
What have you published? Where can we find them?
I have several eBooks out which are all available on Amazon.com & some on BarnesandNoble.com and one in paperback with more to be released shortly.
Here is the list:
Dark Diamonds – A Suspense Romance Novel, available on Amazon in eBook, sold in paperback at Orca Books in Lacey, WA
The Hunter Diaries Anthology – Four Paranormal Romance Short Stories entwined around Stephanie Wills and her friends. Available on Amazon.com in eBook & Paperback, sold at Orca Books in Lacey, WA.
Snow Beast – Book One in the Dark Warrior serial - A Paranormal Romance Short Story available in eBook on Amazon.com & BarnesandNoble.com
A Cross to Bare – Book Two in the Dark Warrior Serial - A Paranormal Romance Short Story available in eBook on Amazon.com & BarnesandNoble.com
Bane – Book Three in the Dark Warrior Serial - A Paranormal Romance Short Story available in eBook on Amazon.com & BarnesandNoble.com
The Christmas Present – Book One in the Hunter Diaries - A Paranormal Romance Short Story available in eBook on Amazon.com & BarnesandNoble.com
Bite Me – Book Two in the Hunter Diaries - A Paranormal Romance Short Story available in eBook on Amazon.com & BarnesandNoble.com
Belief – Book Three in the Hunter Diaries - A Paranormal Romance Short Story available in eBook on Amazon.com
Insidious Whispers – Book Four in the Hunter Diaries - A Paranormal Romance Short Story available in eBook on Amazon.com
Follow the Heart – A Sweet Romance – Available in eBook on Amazon.com
A Court of Love – A Sweet Romance – Available on Amazon.com
Have you always written in the same genre?
I love romance, and believe that when one reads fiction they do so to be entertained. I don’t enjoy sullen or sad books either for reading or writing. I love obstacles for my characters, but I want them to find their HEA. So, yes, I have always written Romance. However, I like different subgenres. I currently write contemporary suspense romance, paranormal romance, and sweet romance with a hint of time travel.
Do you have any aspirations to write in a different genre?
No. I love the genre I write in and don’t plan on branching out at this time. I have more than enough stories rolling around in my head to last me for years.
What writer’s associations are you associated with?
I belong to Romance Writers of America.
Have you belonged to those groups from the beginning of your writing career?
I joined the RWA in 2006, so, no. I found them through my mother, Darlene. She is a wonderful support and source of encouragement. Since joining RWA, I have learned such valuable information, I can’t imagine not being a part of the group. The ladies of the Olympia Chapter are a fount of advise that I don’t believe I could do without. They are a fabulous support network.
What are you working on right now?
A single title Paranormal Romance (around 300 pages or so) based in Florida. I don’t want to divulge too much, but it involves vampires, shapeshifters, demi-gods, crime, and passion. I have heard from readers that they would like to have longer stories - especially in the paranormal romance category.
So, I am planning on releasing The Change, the next in the Dark Warrior serial soon. At the request of my readers, the next several books in that series will be a bit longer. Think novella length.
I also have three novel length books in with my publisher currently that will be released this year as contemporary suspense romance. There are always irons in the fire where writing is concerned, and I always have something I am working on.
Do you plan and plot out your stories before writing, or do you just write from your head as a pantster would?
I consider myself a Plottser, that’s a combo between a plotter and a Pantster. You see, I plot out my stories ahead of time, but around halfway through the characters take on a life of their own and they often steer the story in a different direction than I originally planned to go.
Out of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite story and which is the favorite character you have created? Why?
That’s a hard one, I love them all. If I had to choose, it would have to be the book I am currently working on. The main character is Shawna Davies. She is a narcotics detective in South Beach, Florida. She carries a secret in her genetics that she doesn’t even know about. She’s sassy and down to earth, and stands up for herself. I believe in strong independent women, and Shawna is definitely that. I had a great time writing her.
Out of all the books you’ve read, which is the character you most wish that you had created?
Cydney Brighton from Crimson Rogue. She’s tough, sensual, and been through Hell, literally.
Which is the character that you would most like to meet in real life? Why?
Lucian Darantranzanoff, from the Dark Series by Christine Feehan. He’s lived thousands of years, seen and done more things than any human could have. He also sacrificed many years of his own existence to save his brother. A conversation with someone like that would be amazing, and he’s totally hot.
Who is your real life hero?
That depends on your definition of “hero”. In writing, Jayne Ann Krentz. She has written in several different subgenres of romance under several different pen names, and has become a successful writer who creates fabulous, believable stories.
In everyday life, I would have to say my mother, Darlene Larson. She is a wonderful woman who has overcome adversity multiple times and seeks to help others as well. She was a teacher for displaced homemakers for many years and helped women find themselves and create a better life for themselves through education. She is now part of the Literary Council at Walla Walla Community Council, and helps immigrants learn to read and speak English.
I also play the violin, and for many years have idolized Andre Rieu, a great violinist and entertainer.
What are your favorite genres to read? Is it only romance?
I love to read Paranormal Romance and Regancy Romance. So my favorite would be romance. However, there are so many subgenres out there now, it’s hard to call it just romance. I love fairy tales as well, and YA books are fun, but I have to have my HEA.
What motivates your muse?
Music, long walks in nature, the ocean, art, love, just about anything. I try to surround myself with things that will inspire me.
Has she/he ever blocked you?
Not my muse, but sometimes real life intrudes. Things like my full-time job, bills, health, etc. But I think that may be the same for many writers.
How do you get out of a block?
I have to do something physically, like go for a long walk in the park next to my house, or get with a colleague and hash out plotlines. Plot parties are always fun.
Do travels you’ve taken play into your writing? Do you travel because of your writing?
Oh yes. I am widely traveled having visited over seventeen countries. I love to write about different locations, and have selected some of those for specific stories. The Dark Warrior series is set in Boston, MA where I have been several times.
I also went to Bend, OR and stayed at the Inn of the Seventh Mountains specifically for my book Crystal Clear, which is going to be released soon by Books To Go Now, in order to research the land and activities that the character Cindy Hawke experiences – white water rafting, going to the lava tubes, hiking, etc.
How do you balance your writing life with your non-writing life?
It’s all about time-management. Sometimes I find it difficult, because I work a full-time job, and write full-time as well. I also have a family and a hobby that takes a good chunk of my time. My husband recently complained that he only got to spend about five minutes with me in the last three days.
Balance is everything. If I don’t have a balance, I tend to drop the ball in one area or another. It’s a hard thing to do, but when everything is going smoothly it’s wonderful.
How happy are you with the covers you’ve been given?
Gosh! I love my covers. The people at BTGN have really tried to get the concepts I have given them incorporated into the covers. My favorite cover is probably the one for Bane, although the Dark Diamonds cover is a close second.
If you could give any advice to a writer aspiring to be published, what would that be?
Keep trying and keep writing. No matter what, no matter how many rejections you receive, you will eventually find that publisher who loves you and your work. Remember, it’s all about timing. You have to find the right publisher at the right time.
The flux of readers comes and goes, and certain publishers seek certain types of manuscripts. The Writer’s Market is a wonderful resource to seek out the right publisher for you.
Keep trying. I received many rejection letters before I found the publisher for my first manuscript. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. There is nothing like seeing your name on the cover of your own work.
Aside from your success in the publishing industry, what would you say that you have received the greatest sense of accomplishment from?
Achieving life goals is perhaps my greatest accomplishment. I believe in making long term goals and sticking to them. When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress and travel. I was part of an acting troupe for three years, and traveled extensively. I also wanted to write, and now I’m a writer. I wanted to live in a house and not an apartment. I now live in a beautiful home with my family. I have many long term goals, and I seek to fulfill each one.
I think perhaps it’s not the goal itself but the journey I take to get there that creates the biggest sense of accomplishment. When you can look back and say, “Yes, I did it.”
Where can we read more about you and your novels?
On my website, http://www.serenazane.com
Is there anything that I haven’t asked, which you would like to say?
Just that if you have a dream, it doesn’t matter if it’s writing or something else. Live it, it doesn’t matter where you are in life right now. You have a future, you just need to grab onto it with both hands and don’t let go.
It has been a pleasure getting to know you better today, Serena! Thank you for sharing your time with me on my BlogSpot.
Thank you, Janette. I enjoyed visiting. I always love hearing from readers as well. So, if any of you have questions or comments feel free to contact me. You can find me on Twitter @serenazane or on Facebook at facebook.com/serena.zane or you can email me at email@example.com
May you each find your dream.
Book Trailer & Buy Links for The Hunter Diaries Anthology:
Book Trailer embed code:
Romance through the mists of time and Love through the dimensions of reality