Guest Author FIONA ZEDDE
stops in to discuss her latest enticing blockbuster,
TheGoldenGoddess: Welcome to “A Golden Life,” Fiona! It is such a pleasure to have you visit on your 2011 DANGEROUS PLEASURES promotional blog tour! I am excited about the release of your new novel, as you are one of my favorite authors. Thank you in advance for gracing The Golden Life with your beauty, wit, charm and memorable voice.
How was the writing of this novel, your sixth novel, different from the other stories? Was it more challenging to tell? Did the writing come easier? Has your writing process changed?
FIONA ZEDDE: Writing Dangerous Pleasures was an interesting and different experience on a few levels. The least reason being that in the middle of writing the novel, I found out I had breast cancer and had to properly deal with that—surgery, radiation, chemo—before getting back to the book. By the time I finished the novel, it had to be pushed back an additional year because of its bumped publishing schedule.
As I was telling Spencer in an earlier blog visit, because of illness and more of life’s ups and downs, my creativity was at its lowest. But eventually the words came back to me, for which I’m very grateful.
The writing process has only changed for me in recent months because I quit corporate America to write full-time. Now, I am constantly challenged to put myself on a productive schedule. There are SO many distractions out there!
GG: How did you come to write this particular story—a romance different from the others in many ways?
FZ: I was consciously trying to do something different with this new book. That was my challenge since—six books and three novellas in—I already have a certain way of writing, scenarios I like to explore, and type of characters I typically examine.
Straight women have never interested me as characters for my novels before, but I thought with Renée’s particular friendship with Mayson (an out lesbian), there could be some interesting possibilities there. At the beginning of the novel, I had an idea of how it would all wrap up, but as I wrote, the characters surprised me and essentially wrote the ending themselves.
GG: Houses play a significant part in Toni Morrison’s fiction. What would you say has surfaced as a mainstay in your fiction? Why?
FZ: Strangely enough, the exploration of mother/daughter relationships has been a preoccupation of mine. I hadn’t fully realized it until I was having a conversation with another writer about recurring themes and HE pointed this out to me. His eye caught the frequent appearance of father/daughter pairings and troubled mother/daughter interactions. None of my characters are orphaned and their mothers (whether present, dead, or estranged) play important roles in their lives.
I’m sure all this is due to some subconscious things I’m still working through. But my mothers are important to me. They’ve influenced and supported me through my maturation process and through my writing career. My father, however, has been absent from my life since I left Jamaica twenty years ago.
GG: Mayson offers Renee the advice: “One day you’ll realize that it’s okay not to love everyone who loves you.” This is a very revealing statement, reflecting the complexity of the gorgeous woman’s personality. What did you find most intriguing about Mayson as a character? How was she culled? Have you ever known her outside of the pages of your work?
FZ: Mayson is my newest darling. She is focused and centered as a person, yet she has the biggest potty mouth and isn’t afraid to use it. That’s one of the most intriguing things about her. Also, like most of us, she has the clarity and wisdom to see what everyone else in her life needs, but she’s blind to her own desires or more so, how to satisfy these desires.
She’s completely a work of fiction, based on no one. Mayson came to me one day in the shower—I get most of my ideas there—already speaking one of the lines from the book, something about life dropping shit bombs. After that, I knew she was a keeper.
GG: Your covers and titles are always as beautiful and sumptuous as your narrative voice, your presence and your love of Rumi. “Dangerous Pleasures” is a testimony to this truth.
Share a behind-the-scenes peek at how you decided on the title “Dangerous Pleasures” and the rear visual of a partially unlaced beauty of a fairer hue than the dark-chocolate sirens who have previously graced your covers?
FZ: I very rarely get any input on the covers of my books. The only one I chose was Every Dark Desire. My publisher chooses the covers based on whatever criteria the house has in mind. I haven’t had any strong objections to any of the covers so far, though. But, when a friend of mine saw the cover for Dangerous Pleasures, she asked with surprise, “Why is there a white woman on your book cover?” All I could do was shake my head.
As I was writing the book and envisioning Kendra, the title actually came to me. It was between Pleasure in the Dark, Dark Pleasures, and Dangerous Pleasures. My editor thought the final one would give the book an edge and tease the readers toward the notion that this book was REALLY different from all the rest.
GG: What does the creative horizon currently forecast for Fiona Zedde? May your devout fans expect a road down a different path?
FZ: It’s interesting that you ask that. I’m actually about to release a Young Adult novel under the name “Fiona Lewis” in April. That’s absolutely something different. I’m also currently working on a more literary novel called “Blossom in the Snow” set in New York of the 1920’s. I’m really excited about it and hope my readers will be, too.
GG: Muchas gracias, Fiona! I love the way you meet your new challenges with only the strength, fortitude, and grace that only you can! And if you are excited about the wonderfully new paths your work is taking, then we, your devout readers, share your enthusiasm. I wish you continued peace, love, health and wealth always….
Beloved readers, get your copy of Fiona’s new novel this January 25th at a store near you, or you can order it from her website (www.fionazedde.com) or http://www.charisbooksandmore.com. or Amazon.com. If you haven’t indulged yourself in the unforgettable experience of reading a Fiona Zedde short story or novel, there is no finer time like the Present!
And for those readers interested in reading more about Fiona on her blog tour, please follow me over to her next blog appearance at Spencer Hope Davis’ blog, “Observations from the Road Less Traveled,” on the Day of Love, February 24, 2011.