Sunday, 17 November 2013

Author Interview with A.L. Zaun ~ The Do Over Series

Tell us a little about yourself and what got you inspired to start writing?

Hmm, surprisingly, I’m shy and feel weird talking about myself. By the time this interview is over, I’ll probably be loosened up and relaxed and sharing my most embarrassing moments. Right now, though, it’s still too early. Excuse me for a moment while I freshen up my glass of Diet Pepsi and get a new piece of Extra Sugar Free gum. 

To answer the second question, excuse me while I toss the wrapper in the trash, I’ve always liked writing.  Back in the day, I’d sit at my mom’s typewriter and type away. I probably had more typos than legible words, but I swear there was a story. Truth be told, I’ve always had a vivid imagination and would have stories playing out in my head. Some would consider me mentally ill and needing to be committed to an insane asylum since I hear stories in my head, but I’d say I was creative and always had a writer’s heart.

Sorry, I’m rambling.  That happens when I get a little nervous. If you don’t mind, I’m going to get more Diet Pepsi and another piece of gum. This one doesn’t taste like anything. 

Anyhow, I started writing officially – not my usual long drawn out emails, blog posts, book reviews or status updates on Facebook – last year.  I had entered a writing contest in one of my reading groups. I lost.  I entered again this year. I lost again.  Anyway, ego shattered, I went ahead and finished the story so that the characters would leave me alone.  Only they haven’t. 

Now, I really sound weird. Excuse me, I really need another glass of Diet Pepsi and how did I just go through an entire pack of gum? 

How did you come up with the idea for It's Not Over?

The Do Over was always meant to be a standalone novel, but as I was writing it, Rick and Madison just took on a bigger than life presence. I knew that their story had to be told.  So the idea of It’s Not Over was born.

How often do you write and what's the hardest part of writing a book?

I write every day for at least a couple of hours if not more, especially when I’ve had large amounts of Diet Pepsi. The hardest part of writing is when I don’t have the Diet Pepsi and I’ve chewed all the Extra Sugar Free Gum.  But aside from that for me the hardest part of writing is starting a new chapter.  Seriously, I spend days trying to figure out how to start it. 

Are any of the characters inspired from personal experiences or people you know or did they just come to you?

Talk about a loaded question. Have you met these characters?  Oh and some of the ones in this book are, shall we say, not exactly nice.  I’m going to need something stronger than gum for this one. If you hand me that bag of jelly beans, I just might be able to answer you a little better.  Okay, thanks. Chew sugar always hits the spot. 

So anyway, Rick Marin was originally based on an ex-boyfriend and really a hodgepodge of my wonderful dating experience.  But then one day, I saw a picture of Marco Dapper and I knew in my heart that was Rick and well…what can I say?  I no longer hated his guts when he had a face.

Madison is really someone from my imagination. I’d like to say that there are aspects of her that are a part of me or maybe there are things that I’d like to handle in a Madison kind of way.  She’s an alter ego that I’d like to have…at the end of the day, Madison isn’t a victim. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself and she sure as hell isn’t drinking copious amounts of Diet Pepsi and chewing so much gum that well….What was I saying?  Oh yeah, she’s a figment of my imagination.  I wish I was Madison Stuart. 

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I’m not sure that I chose Romance. It’s more like Romance chose me.  That’s a good answer, and I’d say that considering how cheesy it is that it’s perfect because at the end of the day, I make fun of cheesy romance in It’s Not Over but I love it!  I want cheese and sappy sugary, hearts and flowers.  I love it. I want it. I crave it. Oh wait, I think I’m more like Dani in The Do Over.  Oops, wrong interview.  Sorry, this is what happens when I’ve had too much Diet Pepsi or in tonight’s case, not enough.  I need to open up another 2 liter bottle.

Do you have anything in common with your main character Madison?

I might have already answered this question. I wish I was more like Madison. I think she’s a strong woman who lives life by her own rules.  She’s complicated and complex. That’s about the extent of what we have in common.

Are the names of the characters in your book important to you?

Rick and Madison’s names are important in that they belong to these characters, and Rick and Madison have become such dear and close…friends.  There I said it.  Therefore, their names are important. But if you’re asking if the names are significant to me because they belong to people I know? Nope.

What do you like to read? And who are some of your favorite authors?

If you’d like, I can pull out one of my Kindles or walk you to my modest bookshelf. What you’ll find is romance, romantic suspense, fiction, and historical fiction. 

I just really love a good story. I love a book that stays with me and is well written.

My favorite books are The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paullina Simons.  Gabriel’s Inferno Triology by Sylvain Reynard.  I also loved How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DiBartolo and Forbidden by Tabith Suzma. And finally, Sempre (Forever) by JM Darhower. As you can see, it’s an eclectic selection. 

What project are you working on now?

Right now, I’m finishing up the final chapters in It’s Not Over, and then I’m working on the second installment in Rick and Madison’s Story Letting Go.

I’m also working on losing all the weight I’ve gained while writing.  Excuse me, can you please reach me those Tootsie Rolls? They really help with my creativity.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

For starters, something that is critical is that there is no shame in purchasing ten (10) bottles of 2 liter Diet Pepsi.  If the cashier at Target looks at you with judgment, remember, she’s the one with the problem not you.

Second of all, just keep writing.  When it gets hard, keep writing.  When your family thinks you’re nuts, keep writing (and something about them).  When your friends think you’re wasting your time, keep writing. When you think that what you just wrote sucks, it probably did but keep writing anyway.  Just keep writing.  Tell your story. Breathe life into your characters. 

Third, learn the craft and read well written books by authors you love, and if that would be me…

How can readers get in touch with you and find out about your work?


Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule and answering our questions.

Thank you so much for coming over, having some Diet Pepsi. Oh wait, I didn’t offer you any did I?  Oops, sorry about that. I really should work on my hospitality and manners. After all, Madison does say on a constant basis that manners go a long way.  Right now, would have been a good example of that.
Anyhow, excuse me while I want to crawl under a rock for my rudeness, but before I do that thank you so much for letting me talk about my characters and sharing a little about me and my upcoming release, It’s Not Over.

If your readers haven’t read The Do Over, I highly recommend it. That’s where you’ll meet Rick and Madison.  Try to read it with an open mind. They aren’t exactly fan favorites in The Do Over, but they have enormous personality, and there is so much story behind them. Remember when it comes to Rick and Madison, it’s not all black and white. So check them out in The Do Over and then you can find them in It’s Not Over starting January 13th, 2014

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