In today’s In the Spotlight Interview we feature the Award Winning writing team Angelica Hart and ZI.
Their combined accomplishments include book publications in print and/or electronic versions of thirty-seven titles, twelve romance specific, EPPIE finalist for three books, Cecil Whig award, Hob-Nob Reader's Choice Award, Champagne Books Novel of the Year, Champagne Books Author of the Year. Plus, they have written over 500 shorts with numerous published in both nationwide and small press magazines, articles published in various local, city and statewide newspapers, including four as a Guest Columnist in addition to trade articles. Both are members of various writing groups.
I have had the pleasure of being mentored by these two wonderful people. If not for them I’d still be lost in the Mist somewhere.
Please join me in welcoming Angelica and Zi. Good morning you two, so glad you agreed to join us.
Thank you for your kind and generous words, but being fair, you are a unique talent in your own right and would have never been lost for very long. As for the mist, let's think After the Mist, we suggest everyone read it.
Thank you for that, that was sweet. Now let’s get on to you. First off I'd like to hear something personal about each of you. You know, your deepest darkest secrets.
Z: Like the fact that I'm positioning a corn pad on my right pinkie toe? That sort of secret?
A: First of all, ick! Secondly, he's not doing that. Thirdly, I believe she means something personal like in college when you led your fraternity in panty raids.
Z: Who told you that?
A: Just guessed...I was right, wasn't I? hehehehehehe
Z: No comment. Change of subject. A very private fact is that I was almost eleven before I could read, and I believe that event provided an epiphany that helped me fall in love with literature and books. I suspect I have written some fiction at least ninety-percent of the days since I have been twenty. So, given that, I have piles and piles and piles and PILES of creative goodies.
A: I used to be (takes a deep breath and exhales slowly) a pantser...you know one of those writers who adores writing by the seat of their pants. Never doing an outline, only having a thought and then flying with it. Yes, I admit it. I am Angelica and I am a compulsive pantser (Z: Hi Angelica) I work the 12 step program everyday with Zi's help to keep me on track. It isn't easy, but (sigh) I know it is the only way to truly get a cohesive novel. There, now you all know. (Hangs head and gets teary-eyed)
When did you first know you were destined to be writers?
A: The moment someone read me my first storybook, and I decided no way am I going to let someone rescue me. I want the sword and horse and the adventure. So, out came the crayons and paper and I wrote my own story, whereas I became the shero. Albeit, no one could read the scribbles but me.
Z: I love your choice of the term destined. Because authoring is so personal, your term is so apt. There was no one moment of demarcation that could define my revelation, but a deep-seated passion that was constantly omnipresent. If I were to give an example, it would be the three boxes of rejection letters dating back to the eighties that all gave me encouragement to go on, yes, they said no, but they read my writing! And I never stopped, and it was their no-s that motivated me to work harder and harder.
How did the two of you become a writing team?
T'was a gloomy Thursday when a sudden crack of lightning startled me, followed by a maneuver of my black Volvo swerving to avoid an ominous rain puddle. The effort went for naught, and water was forced up the underside of the engine, mist and steam rose and the need to pull the car over was eminent. By some act of divine intervention, I found myself in the parking lot of Borders Books. A big yippee-ki-yay for any book fan. I trudged and dodged through blankets of water -- a veritable downpour with hellacious lightning and stomach's butterflies scared by thunder crackling about me as if the world were about to split apart and I would fall into an abyss. Managing to enter, I paper-toweled myself dry in the men's room then returned to the sales floor. I noticed a woman manning an area of the cafe, perched on a high stool, touting her art work. She was Angelica Hart. The ensuing conversation went something like this: Hey...hey...nice art...thanks...are you interested in illustrations...yes...give me your card...here...thanks, I'll call you...Do. There it was. Left the store to a world that was bright and sunny, filled with possibilities. And eight years later, it's still sunny.
How do you work together as a team? Do you meet somewhere? Both throw out ideas at the same time? How do you find unity?
Z: Your questions have defined the awesome challenge partnering and creativity presents. How do we work together -- sometimes chaotically, other times as if we were Siamese writing buddies joined at the skull, and then there are times when we flat out argue with bared teeth. But the one key is that we agreed early on that we would agree to agree, thus the work willed out not us. In there lies possibly the genius that has allowed us any success.
A: Yes, we meet somewhere over the rainbow...
I personally have read some of your stories and have very much enjoyed them. The one that stand out to me is Chasing Yesterday. Can you tell us where the idea for this story came from?
Z: The male character was remotely modeled after a best friend from college days, who was a gentle hero then and now. The book was dedicated to him. The female character, Elizabeth, was the amalgamation of our daughters' passion for life and love. The story came from an idea we tossed around about the din and milieu of the beach at 5 AM, which for those who have been there is mist and vapor wrapped in a world that you can easily escape into, thus being lost in beautiful confusion. We felt that love is often that beautiful confusion. The original working title was Chasing Gravitas which was about wanting that perfect partner to complete love. We believe the chase is important and that special someone is everlasting.
Resently you have rather stirred up the pot and gone in a rather steamy direction. I must admit I’m reading one of those steamy books now, and I’m enjoying it more than I’m willing to admit. But what I’d like to know is how did you make such a change in course?
Ooooh dirty girl! Whereas, we absolutely enjoy the literary construct of a beautifully told love story like Chasing Yesterday or the fantasy of a romance such as Snake Dance or the thriller chase of Killer Dolls, we felt that the large contemporary audience has experienced a maturation from traditional bodice rippers, seeking the more direct randy. Yes, we adore innuendo but sometimes sex is just in your face.
A: Did you actually write that?!
If you could pick just one, what has been your favorite book to write, and why?
A: Like you, my favorite was Chasing Yesterday. I appreciate that it had a mysterious feel to it, but it was also pure romance and the characters just seeped into my soul or maybe partly out of it.
Z: Steel Embrace was a fast moving, boldly erotic endeavor and was fun to construct. But Book Nookie ,which is about to be released, was so divine in that it included fantasy, adventure, humor, contemporary locales as well as imaginary ones. It was all wrapped in bold eroticism though it was ultimately a nice romance. Both books were written by our alter egos Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane.
A: Why are you bouncing your eyebrows?
Z: Cause I'm well-embrowed!
A: Shame-shame-shame and tsk-tsk as well.
Can you tell us some of the advantages of signing with a digital/small press publisher over a New York publisher?
A: You! The Cathys we met. The intimacy of relationships with other authors is profoundly wonderful. E-book technology is right at the crest of the wave and we are so tickled to be there, surfing toward the future, hangin' ten. Cowabunga dude! Mostly, its folks like you that interact daily, giving advice, guidance, support and, yes, the atta boys, atta girls.
What do you find is the most rewarding part of being fiction Novelist’s?
Z: The adulation of all the groupies that fill our email box on a regular basis.
A: We have no groupies!
Z: Shhhh! Let 'em think we do.
A: People that find value in the pure creation of intellectual properties are unique in that passion is ceaseless. There would be infinite stories to tell, and we find that so alluring. (The corgies just returned from their long walk...thank you, Brian. I just love our office! Wanna write a corgi story?)
Please tell us in your own words– why we should read your books?
A: Our books bring you adventure, romance, titillation and we'll give you cookies... chocolate... We are not above bribery!
Z: Of course, I agree with Angelica that our literary products are brief sojourns into romantic imagination, but disagree with the bribery -- she is in charge of all bribes, forward all emails to her attention.
Anything else you’d like to say?
A: Go Eagles! Oh, and is it lunch, yet?
Z: Go Flyers! And to everyone, I want you...I want you...to read!
I don’t know about all of you, but, I’m wiping away tears from laughter! Thank you both for the laughs. Be sure and check out their books, especially my favorite Chasing Yesterday.
Be sure to join next week when In the Spotlight will feature J.A. Garland .