Author Erin Zarro stops by to talk about her love of writing, her thoughts on the current market, and her book, Fey Touched.
AM: What inspired you to become a writer?
EZ: I think I've always been meant to be a writer. I've always told stories -- from the time I was little until now, at the ripe old age of 36. ;) I can remember clearly being eleven years old and telling anyone who'd listen that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. It was my ever-realistic, practical parents who suggested I have a job so I didn't starve while I was trying to get published. They were right. ;) I love words, I love imagery, I love making up people in my head. My characters grow and evolve like real people and they tell me their stories. How can I deny them?
Also, I love to touch someone through the written word, which is why I write poetry, as well. It's like one perfect moment of connection between me and the reader. I love that, and I suspect I always will.
And the fact that I taught myself to type when I was seven may have had something to do with it (it was an old Smith Corona typewriter that was my grandmother's.)
Other than writing, is there anything else you'd rather be doing?
No, nothing. Just kidding. Um...I love to read. I also have few TV shows I'm addicted to. I also enjoy fine art photography, which is my second love.
When did you get serious about writing?
I've always been serious about writing, but I didn't do anything about it until I was unemployed and bored out of my mind in 2001. That was my first real, adult attempt at novel writing. It didn't go so well. After I found a job and got married, I let the writing thing go for while. Then, in 2003, I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I remembered that novel I tried to write. I wrote (and finished) my first novel, called The Sacrifice. And that was it -- I was passionately, totally in love with writing. I was addicted to it. In 2008, I was working towards finding an agent, and then last year, I decided to self-publish through Turtleduck Press (a writer's alliance I belong to. We seek to publish works that are not as commercial, but are still of top quality). So I guess you could say I've been serious all along, but came at it from different angles.
What is your viewpoint of the current trends going on in the publishing world?
I think that indie publishing will get even bigger as more and more writers decide to cut out the middleman and bring their work directly to the readers. I have nothing against agents; however, I no longer believe that is the One True Path. Writers of today have more opportunities than those in the past. I think we'll see a lot more innovation and awesome, kick-ass books as we go, books that may not have been published if indie publishing hadn't gotten big.
As for trends...I see a lot of YA dystopian going on (a la The Hunger Games) and vampires seem to be on their way out (in fact, Fey Touched came about because of that -- the first draft, which was The Sacrifice, was a vampire novel. I wanted to change it, to get away from the vampire trend, and that's when I came up with the idea of Fey based in science instead of myth.) I love vampire novels, though, and hope to continue seeing them, even if there are fewer.
How has that affected how you went about publishing?
In 2008, I never would have thought of self-publishing. Back then, it was not considered a good thing. You found an agent, you got a contract, and that's how it was done. But I've seen a lot of writers be successful at indie publishing, especially a very good friend of mine (SM Reine). Now it's more accepted. Fey Touched was actually -- and still is -- a bit of an experiment for me. I wanted to see what I could do with it as an indie book. I don't believe I would be able to get an agent -- or a traditional publishing contract for it. It's just too different (and that's why Turtleduck Press exists -- to fill that gap).
You’ve recently published your first book, Fey Touched. Have you been pleased with your results?
Not to sound like a dork here, but I've sold roughly ten Kindle editions so far, ten more than I thought I would sell. Seriously -- I wasn't expecting big sales or bestseller status. And this is very new to me. I've never had to promote a book or myself, and it's been...pretty thrilling. I'd be even more thrilled with more sales, but it's not about money. As long as people are reading it, I consider this experiment a success. I've also met a lot of great people and feel very humbled and lucky to have had the support I've had.
Please, tell us about Fey Touched.
Fey Touched is a blend of science fiction and fantasy. It features the Fey -- genetically engineered humans who are immortal and feed on human souls (because when the scientists created the Fey, they failed to replicate the human soul, and the soul is needed for the person to survive). The Fey are organized in Clans, with a Breeding Queen the ruler and, well, breeder. Our main character, Asha, is running from her Clan because she does not want to be a breeder. She wants to find love...and finds it in the most unlikely place..
There are also Hunters, called Fey Touched, because they have a bit of Fey genes in them so they can hunt them effectively. They hunt rogue Fey, who kill humans for their souls (or mana, as it's called in the book). There's a Hunter who falls for his enemy (guess who?) and another Hunter who is searching for her long-lost sister by time travel. Time travel, in the world of Fey Touched, is made possible by virtual reality and a highly-addictive drug called faerie dust. Naturally, the Hunter gets addicted to the drug and then must save her fellow Hunters from a mysterious illness that's killing them.
I really, really enjoyed writing Fey Touched and enjoyed weaving the three main characters' stories together. It was amazing, and I'm so happy to be sharing it with the world.
Is there anything else you'd like to add before we wrap things up?
Buy my book! (Just kidding). Seriously, I'd love to hear from my readers, or even potential readers, so don't be afraid to email me. I'm also currently looking for reviewers, so if you're interested, hit me up.
In the end, though, the important thing is the story. Without it, there's nothing. I used to be so depressed about not having any submittable novels and thus not being able to do the agent search, but I came to realize that I had it all wrong. The only thing that matters is the story, and the vehicle for it to get out there is just that -- a vehicle. Having an agent or not does not validate me as a writer. I know I am a writer, I know I have worthwhile things to tell people, and I can't believe I let myself get caught in that trap. So if you're a writer, and you're trying to find an agent, and it's everything to you (as it was for me), stop and think about what you're really trying to do. Be open to other avenues. Listen to your heart. It won't steer you wrong.
I listened to my heart and it gave me Fey Touched. ;)
Where can people find you on the web?
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fey-Touched-ebook/dp/B008R15JFK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344386374&sr=8-1&keywords=Fey+Touched (Kindle edition) ~ Print edition forthcoming
Turtleduck Press: http://www.turtleduckpress.com
Thank you, Erin, for taking the time to stop by and visit. It was a pleasure getting to know you, and I wish you all the very best in your future endeavors!