Author on the Couch: Z. Allora
Today I’m conducting a session with…Z. Allora!
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Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Z: I was a senior in college and I took out an ad out in the college paper asking: Are there any romantic men among you who believe in romance, candlelight dinners, roses, picnics, long walks under the stars… Restore my faith in males—respond in the Poly.
Twenty-two men responded. On Oct. 20, 1987 at 5:08pm, I met the love of my life and that was all. Knowing him has allowed me to believe in love and want share it with others by writing romance novels. (Best $1.75 I’ve ever spent!)My goal is to promote equality and to push the boundaries allowing for more safe space. @ZAllora Click To Tweet
Me: What a great story! And it only cost you $1.75! That’s a steal! lol
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Z: I enjoy teaching and sharing. Yes, I write smexy sexy romance but I want the reader to learn something or think about an issue in a new way. My goal is to promote equality and to push the boundaries allowing for more safe space.
My characters are diverse in their orientation, gender expression and romantic inclinations. I want the reader to walk in the steps of someone who is transgender, bisexual, kinky, demi-sexual, etc. Seeing the world through their eyes has taught me a lot about love, romance and sex.
I love sharing my personal travel experiences in my books. I’ve traveled to 33 countries and lived in Israel, Singpore, China and on both coasts and in the middle of the USA. The details of truly being in a place are infused in my stories. (One reader said: “It’s like reading a dirty travel log.”)
Me: That’s the best kind of praise from a reader!
What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Z: Not a personality trait but I stutter. I jump over words I can’t say as I’m speaking (or try to). I found I needed to rewrite my first couple of books because my stutter impacted my word choice or lack thereof. So I know have learned to compensate and I have critique partners who also help me address this issue.
Me: What was your high point as a writer?
Z: Writers live in a vacuum. We bleed our hearts onto the paper in the hope it touches someone. When I get fan mail or talk to readers who tell me my stories have enhanced the quality of their life, helped them get through a rough patch or helped them understand something better >>> I’m thrilled! It lets me know I’m on the right path.
Me: That kind of feedback makes it all worth it.
What was your low point as a writer—a time when you questioned your path?
Z: Reviews can sometimes suck the joy out of sharing/publishing your work. My first review was rather brutal. I was gutted.
I write yaoified (over the top, fluffy, sexy) rainbow romance. That’s a target audience with a clear defined niche. My writing is not for everyone… and that’s okay.
Now I take the valuable parts out of a bad review and leave the rest. (Easier said then done) It’s hard when someone who doesn’t get you, your work or what you were trying to do shredding your work. It can devastate your confidence. Currently, I make sure I brand myself as clear as I can because it’s not my goal to disappoint a reader. I make sure my covers, blurb, bio, blog, website all makes who Z. Allora is clear. I write happily ever after romance with lots of sex and I enjoy exploring the spectrum of the rainbow. Also learned to await feedback from my core audience who typically gets me to see if I satisfied them.Bad reviews can devastate your confidence. @ZAllora #amwriting Click To Tweet
Me: Bad reviews can be so frustrating and many times unfair and cruel.
How do you deal with bad reviews? What advice can you give others about how to handle rejection and bad reviews?
Z: Don’t respond. There’s nothing you’ll say that can be seen as anything other than an author behaving badly.
Glean what is useful and walk away from the rest. I appreciate the time it took the reviewer to detail my flaws because it allows me to improve my writing.
Remember: Not everyone is your target audience. (It’s like a steak restaurant being upset a vegans aren’t their best customers…)
Look up reviews for your favorite book and see if you agree with any of the negative reviews. It’ll give you perspective.
Remind yourself: Reviews are done by people (with their own issues & pet peeves). They don’t have to be fair or even accurate.
Keep perspective: Reviews are opinions…
Biggest one: Did YOU accomplish what you wanted with by writing this book? If so… you’ve won. If not… adjust and get closer to what you want to do next time.Reviews are done by people...they don’t have to be fair or even accurate. @ZAllora #AmWriting Click To Tweet
Me: That’s some of the best advice I’ve seen for handling bad reviews! And spot on!
What’s the most painful part of the writing process for you?
Z: Writing the blurb, synopsis and then the waiting to hear from the publisher. Makes me crazy. I personally think authors should be given an option of just slapping on an additional book instead of the synopsis or blurb! It might take me less time!
Me: Amen, Sista! I 100% agree. Ask me to write a book. Sure. No problem. Ask me to write a blurb or synopsis. Holy Crap… I got nothing. And always end up having a panic attack.
Name a writing pet peeve of yours. Something that hits you like fingernails-on-a-chalkboard every time you see it. Why does it bug you?
Z: Skipping over a sex scene or fade to black. (Yes, I’m aware there are romance books out there like this and I’m not in that author’s target audience.) I want the sex and I need to discover more about the characters through what they do and don’t do during sexy times. And since I write romance sex can forward the story and deepen the plot.
Me: Tell me about your M/M Romance, sci-fi, space opera, The Craving.
The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.
Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.
Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.
Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.
Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release, The Craving.
In this excerpt the craving strikes Phoenix and he’s helpless against its power:
Phoenix tangled his legs around Zadra’s leather-encased thighs. He could feel Zadra’s wet tongue licking at his neck. He panted, “More.”
He tilted his head to allow access to the sensation that…. Stardust! The licks turned into a bite. Still not enough.
His need, want, and desire collided and built his urgency higher. He had to be devoured. The intensity of his longing scared him but didn’t crush the hunger.
Oh, the man was driving him crazy. Man… yes! Zadra! He tried to pull the man closer, writhing as Zadra bit Phoenix’s neck.
Something was so close. It was just out of reach. He strained and reached for a mysterious fulfillment.
Yes. Please. Zadra—
You can find Z here:
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! SAVING MERCY Book 1 in the Fatal Truth Series is now available for pre-order.