Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
I’m Lux Zakari, an erotica writer. My short stories have appeared in the anthologies Best Women’s Erotica 2009 and the freshly released Best Bondage Erotica 2011, as well as the websites Clean Sheets, Oysters & Chocolate and The Erotic Woman.
My first full-length erotic novel, Coercion, was released in August 2010, and it’s about a young woman learning about love the hard way from a good looking man who’s anything but right for her. Here’s the scoop:
Introverted and insecure Valerie Mercer was promised that during her senior year of college she would finally attract attention from boys…but never dreamed that would include Michael Vartanian.
Good looking, troubled and every parent’s nightmare, Michael is adamant on introducing Valerie to a world of both pleasure and, inadvertently, heartbreak. His interest in Valerie is dependent upon the mood and fidelity of his on-and-off-again girlfriend, Breeze.
Nevertheless, Valerie lets her hope and desire override common sense and soon finds she can’t deny Michael anything…no matter what’s at stake.
Readers can check out the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wVXW6xBdH0.
Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
This is such an interesting question. There are certainly a lot of ideas I have for stories that scare me before writing them—some are so intimidating that it seems like they’ll never get written! Ultimately though, once I decide to start writing a story, I feel obliged to finish it, no matter how daunting it seems. At that point, I’m committed!
Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
Absolutely, and I think it’s awesome that I live a life worth referencing in my work. I like to think of these allusions to actual events as little Easter eggs for my friends, who can read one of my stories, laugh and say, “I totally remember that happening.”
How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?
Usually, I try to bang out the story as fast as possible. Otherwise, I’ll get hung up on researching and fretting about details, and that only causes delays and I run the risk of never actually writing the story. If I get stuck when writing, I’ll mark that spot with an “XXXX” and move on to a different paragraph/section/chapter/et cetera. Later on, I’ll do a search for those XXXXs and fill in the blanks after doing some research.
Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?
That happy endings and brighter futures are possible, no matter the mistakes people make. And that sometimes the guy doesn’t get the girl because he doesn’t deserve the girl, and that’s okay—that doesn’t make anything that transpired any less important.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
I’ve never heard of the term pantser in reference to writing! That’s amusing me. When I write, I do a little bit of plotting—I whip up a story skeleton that’s enough to get me started. I did have a story take on a life of its own. In 2005, I started writing a story, not having any idea what would come of it, not knowing what I was trying to say at all. Five years later, I can see it needs a ton of revisions, but it’s still one of my most favorite things I’ve ever written.
How long did it take for you to be published?
It’s difficult to say, because I’ve been writing since I was wee, but Coercion is my first published novel and was released in August 2010. Aside from short stories, it seems like it took forever to get a full-length story accepted by a publisher, but now that I think about it, starting from the point where I really tried to get published, when I felt it was truly time, it didn’t take too long at all.
If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?
I would urge myself to stop procrastinating at procrastinating a lot sooner! I used to never finish anything I started writing. It took NaNoWriMo 2004 to overcome that, and these days, I’m all about setting goals for myself and I can’t imagine not finishing something. As you can tell, I can’t say enough wonderful things about NaNoWriMo; it’s a great platform from which to jump.
Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
Trusty pen and paper are best when I need to get an idea out of my head tout de suite. Sometimes using a computer makes me think that everything I write has to come out perfectly. “Must-haves” for writing definitely include time and inspiration!
Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?
I will always want to hug my battered copy of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity to my chest with a happy sigh, and in November 2010, I had the opportunity to see a lecture given by Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall, and it was so inspiring. I’m so excited to be surrounded by and get to meet so many creative, interesting people.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not sure what would surprise readers, but I can say that I surprise people who’ve met me face to face when they learn I write erotica. Perhaps I don’t fit the “type,” should one exist. In person, I’m pretty silly, and I get excited about things that are cute/nerdy/weird/all of the above. But c’est la vie. It’s always fun to keep people on their toes!
Since it is January, what are your goals for the coming year?
I have a lengthy list of goals I must accomplish by August 2011, which includes getting my master’s in library science, putting a message in a bottle, climbing a tree, making a podcast and perhaps putting an appearance at Frolicon.
What is your favorite New Years’ Eve memory?
Last NYE, my friend and I hosted a gathering with the usual suspects, only everyone donned formal garb. It was fun how such a detail changed the vibe of the party, and a great time was had by all!
Is there something you really wanted for Christmas, but didn’t get?
Although I never got the hot pink Barbie Powerwheels to sidle up to neighborhood boys in while lowering my star-shaped shades, I’ve generally been pretty satisfied with my Christmas gifts. Everything that I wanted but didn’t get somehow came into my life eventually.
Ideal winter time: Snow or a white beach?
Even though I live in the Northeast, I’m such a baby about the snow. I’ll take the beach any day!
Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.
Thanks for hosting me and for asking such insightful questions! Coercion can be purchased at http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_12&products_id=315.
For more information about me, readers need only visit www.luxzakari.com.
Excerpt from Coercion
Valerie refused to entertain thoughts Michael might ever be interested in her, especially since she didn’t know what she’d do if she had him. She knew of Kim Breza—better known as Breeze—and couldn’t think of two people more different than her and the popular, talkative blonde, whose sexual appetite was no secret. She had heard Breeze broadcast her erotic escapades in the women’s bathroom, the hallway and just about everywhere else. Thus, Valerie knew Michael and his girlfriend had done practically everything under the sun during their on-again, off-again yet somehow enduring relationship.
That knowledge both excited and terrified her. Virginity, which was something her peers had outgrown long ago, was not something she wanted to give to just anyone. Therefore, she could never keep up with Michael.
But a little part of her wanted to try. A little part of her wanted to have the courage to find out how those lips of his tasted. A little part of her wanted to slide her hands down his broad back and into the back pockets of his jeans.
A little part of her wanted to do a whole lot to Michael Vartanian.
A racier excerpt from the story can be found at http://www.theeroticwoman.com/erotica/coercion.