Hey folks, today I’m dishing it up with Erin Zarro. Erin is a poet and aspiring novelist living in Warren, Michigan. To pay the bills, she works as an Office Manager for a small marketing firm. By night, she weaves words into poetry and novels. She has a cat, Hailey, who is part-vampire and a husband who's her Prince Charming.
JET: Erin, can you tell us about your most recent book?
Erin: My most recent book was a chapbook of poetry called Without Wings, which released on April 1st. It explores the dark side of love, what happens after the happily ever after.
JET: What drew you to fantasy and horror?
Erin: Well, I've always loved scary things and things that go bump in the night. I've been on a quest over the past few years to scare myself, as I haven't been scared by any recent movies or novels – yet. In my own writing, I try to cross that line and cross it often. I want my readers to be biting their fingernails raw and be afraid of what's waiting in the shadows. I am sooo evil, muhaaaa.
Fantasy was a total fluke. I'd been writing for years, mostly contemporary romance. I also read it – Danielle Steel in particular. My Mom started reading Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind on a whim and loved it. She gave me hell about reading it – and I kept refusing because “I'm not interested in fantasy.” Ha! I'm now eating my words because I finally read it and fell in love. That's when I started reading and writing fantasy. I think my favorite thing about it is that anything goes – you can build a whole new world or change aspects of our world. Creatures that only exist in myth (vampires and fairies, for an example) can exist in our world. I love magic, too. And paranormal creatures and things. Basically, everything. I love to play with the possibilities.
JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?
Erin: Actually finishing – and polishing – a novel worthy of publication. That's been my biggest issue. Finishing a manuscript, getting it critiqued, reworking it, finishing that...I'm happy to say that I'm almost ready to start querying agents. After about 3 years of this.
JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?
Erin: I think it was when I started getting reviews and comments on my my chapbooks from people who didn't love me – meaning, family and friends go easy on you, but strangers? Fellow writers? They'll tell you the truth. People said some beautiful, amazing things about Without Wings. And that felt wonderful.
JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?
Erin: Well, at first it was Danielle Steel. ~rolls eyes~ But then Terry Goodkind, early Laurell K. Hamilton, S.L. Viehl, Holly Lisle, and and Dean Koontz inspired me to write fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. And they continue to inspire me every day (plus others now).
JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?
11. That's at least my earliest memory of saying, I want to be a writer when I grow up. My parents, ever practical and smart, encouraged me to find a job to support myself until I could support myself on writing, which lead me to college, which lead me to journalism and photography...but I've always come back to novel writing and poetry. They are my loves.
JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?
Erin: Unfortunately I have no crazy stories, but I can tell you a few things I've researched over the years for novels: brainwashing and mind control, the Iron Lung, multiple languages, false memories, dissociative identity disorder, police investigation, piloting a spaceship, blindness, and erotomania. One of the things I love most about writing is all the cool stuff I learn from my research!
JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?
Erin: Well, I can narrow it down to two. The first one, Pirouette, is dark fantasy and it's the one I want to start querying agents with. The main character, Alisia, is just so much fun to write. And the story is awesome. It's morphed into something completely different from the original and it's just...really unique, I think. I had a blast writing – and rewriting – it.
The second one, Survivor, a psychological horror, started out in 2004 as a project for an online class I was taking on novel writing. It was originally quite different from what it became. It is, I feel, my most brilliant work to date. I'm not bragging here – what I did with it I'll probably never be able to duplicate. It's a wild ride of madness, brainwashing, and one woman's journey to survive. (This one is on next year's schedule to be reworked a bit and then hopefully be sent out into the world).
JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?
Erin: Yes. Don't ever give up. Let me say that again. DON'T EVER GIVE UP. If you know in your heart that you're meant to write, don't let anything stop you from doing it. It's a precious gift. It needs to be given the attention it deserves. It nurtures the soul.
JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?
JET: Steak or Tofu?
Erin: Steak all the way baby
JET: Beach or Mountains?
JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?
Erin: Rock 'n' roll
JET: Leather or Lace?
JET: Angels or Demons?
JET: Paper or Digital?
JET: Twilight or True Blood?
Erin: True Blood
JET: Sword wielding ninja or Gun toting momma?
Erin: Sword wielding ninja
JET: Coffee or Tea?
Erin: Neither – Diet coke
JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?
Erin: I'm currently getting ready to write a horror novel called Darklight. Most likely, I'll self-publish it. It's a very dark story, with witches and doppelgangers, an alternate world, and missing memories. I can't wait to start.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Erin Zarro and her work at the following places:
Her Website, Her Blog, Her Twitter handle: @ekendall
and: Turtleduck Press, a writer's alliance she belongs to.
Next week, I've got Stuart Land in the hot seat. Swing in and say hi!