Hi, Z.A. Maxfield coming at you from lovely sunny southern California where I’m blogging about my latest release, Home The Hard Way. You’re going to want to follow along the whole blog tour, Here.
Jodi: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Tell us a little about yourself.
Z.A.: My blog pretty much says it all, I’m a native Californian, a wife, a mother. What my blog doesn’t say is I’m addicted to romance novels and m/m is like crack for me. I think I started out just writing so I could afford books!
Jodi: What made you choose to writer in the male/male romance genre for your stories?
Z.A.: Male/male, male/female, female/female, ménage…They’re all simply love stories to me. Who loves whom and why is always part of a larger story which includes characters and events, both inside and outside their control, and so I don’t really differentiate. I started writing m/m because those were the stories I had in my heart at that time. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have other stories to tell. One never knows!
Jodi: Are your characters complete fiction, or are they modeled after real people?
Z.A.: I think we all write from our experience. What we know goes on the page. Scene settings, events we’ve experienced and our knowledge of human nature play out in stories, but I don’t think I model characters after real people. (Unless they tormented my daughter in middle school…)
Jodi: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Z.A.: I love Joan Didion and Lillian Hellman. I have such author crushes on both those women. Their words fueled all of my writerly dreams. Not that I will ever achieve that level, but I figured I ought to have to have a star to steer by…
Jodi: When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively?
Z.A.: I guess it depends on the book. I start out with an idea, but that evolves. Rarely is my first instinct correct. In a sense, I aim for the target and adjust on the way.
Jodi: When and why did you begin writing?
Z.A.: I started writing in fifth grade. I was Mooney-eyed and intense. Hopelessly in love with the lead singer of a boy band. I figured if reality wasn’t cutting it, I’d just live in the cave of my imagination. I probably still live there to some extent today.
Jodi: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Z.A.: I think that most authors, when they start out, have no concept how much marketing is involved in writing. I mean, for some reason, I pictured a life spent staring contemplatively at the sea when I wasn’t actively writing. And…. NOPE. That is not my life. Between social media and conferences and blogging and newsletters—simply pressing the electronic flesh and helping other writers do the same—wow! Who knew there would be so much to do?
Jodi: What’s the most difficult part of writing your books?
Z.A.: Almost all authors talk about the saggy middle of a piece. We normally have a terrific idea to start with and we know how we want something to end, but sometimes it’s hard to go from point A to point Z!
Jodi: Which of your books was the most difficult to write?
Z.A.: I’d have to put Home The Hard Way right up on the top because I must have dusted that off, started over and then put it back in a drawer ten times. But mysteries require more planning and more thinking, even if they’re less a mystery and more romantic suspense, and I had to make sure I was doing the fetish aspects of their relationship justice. Thank god for wonderful editors like Sarah Frantz. She pulled me off the ledge a couple times.
Jodi: Which of your books was the most fun to write?
Z.A.: Drawn Together is still my absolute favorite because Yamane wrote himself.
Jodi: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Z.A.: Oh, my gosh! Lucky you! There’s never been a better time to be a writer. The Internet is full of information you’d have had to spend a lifetime gathering and cataloging and there are independent presses popping up like crazy. Agents, while delightful, and old school profit algorithms that have kept niche writers from achieving their dreams of publishing longer dominate the landscape. If you write in a niche that only three people care about, you can get your book into the hands of those three people and maybe they’ll tell their friends.
My advice is this: write like no one will ever read the book but you! Write to please yourself. Write to delight yourself. Write one book and then before you even type the end, write a second and a third. Study your craft wherever you can afford to. Read everything you can by writers you admire.
Go forth and be joyful, for there’s room for everyone.
Jodi: What do you like to read?
Z.A.: While I’d love to say that I only read Booker Prize winning novels and the classics, I am a romantic fool, and most always choose books with love stories in them.
Jodi: What is for you the perfect book hero?
Z.A.: I like damaged heroes. I like flawed men, and men who have the opportunity to reverse their course and win, but choose not to, for whetever reason. I like Tragic Heroes. The weird thing is, since I love romance, I always want to see them redeemed. Maybe that’s really why I write. I want to take my tragic heroes and tell their stories with a happy ending!
Jodi: What is your inspiration for your most recent book?
Z.A.: The inspiration for my NEXT book with Riptide is Lori Witt’s idea about a small Northwestern town that becomes a tourist attraction because of a televisions show (about Werewolves) being filmed there. Actors. Car mechanics. Crackpot inventors… Who could resist?
Jodi: If readers have not read any of your books, where is a good place to begin?
Z.A.: People usually either start with Crossing Borders, which has been called an m/m gateway drug, or the St. Nacho’s series.
Do you have any questions I haven’t answered? Leave me a comment below for a chance to win an ebook from my backlist AND you can also…
Enter the Giveaway!
Here’s the blurb for Home the Hard Way:
Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide.
Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer.
In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way.
Read more about Home The Hard Way: HERE
About the Author – Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.
If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”