Greetings from ZAM! I’m here at The Pen And Muse as part of a big blog tour for my new release, Home The Hard Way. You’re going to want to follow this tour along, because there are a lot of ways to win backlist ebooks and one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate from Riptide Publishing.
Believe me. I’ve been reading a lot of books from Riptide lately. You want this! The blog tour dates and information are HERE.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born in Los Angeles. Because of that I’ll always think of myself as an angeleno, even though I now live in Orange County, California. That’s what we call “Behind the Orange Curtain.” I’m a wife and mother of four teens, one girl and three boys. My daughter just graduated from collage (at age 21). It’s pretty exciting around here most of the time, especially now, when my kids are home for summer.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I began writing Home The Hard Way in 2011. Usually I write a book start to finish, even if I might put it away after it’s done to let it percolate. This book, however, earned the nickname “The Frankenbook” because I left it several times when I wasn’t sure what it was going to become, letting it percolate and then rewriting it nearly from scratch.
How do you create your characters?
Usually when a character comes to me, he or she comes in a scene. In this case, I had Finn working the desk at his aunt’s hair salon on a regular working day. One of the girls asks him to pull a client from under the dryer and walk her to the sink, but when he gets there, he discovers the client has quietly died.
I guess I thought that would be an excellent opening scene for a mystery, as well as a great way to show character, I mean, how would you react?
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I get to blame my kids for this. I told them to follow their bliss and then they turned the tables on me. What, they asked, was my “thing?” While I love being a mother, that particular job should have a logical lay-off date. Someday I’m hopeful I’ll be out of motherhood as a 24hour-a-day job. It seemed like a teaching moment—the perfect time to put into practice all the lessons I was trying to get my kids to learn:
1) Do something that scares you as often as possible. 2) Break big, scary jobs down into achievable, measureable tasks. 3) It’s probably possible to research and learn everything you need to do what you want on the Internet. 4) Find other people who are doing what you want to do, and ask for their help. 5) Finish what you start. 6) Fling yourself into what you love because you love it. 7) Manage expectations. (i.e. You may very well be able to make a living as an actor, but you will probably never be Tom Cruise.) 8) Believe in yourself and your goals. 9) Take your time. Life is a Marathon, not a sprint. 10) Love yourself.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I generally write upstairs in the dormer of my bedroom, with the window at my back. It’s a little noisy when the gardeners are out in force, but it’s also cool and I can almost always hear birdsong. I like things quiet, but that doesn’t happen around here. Currently my feet are being positively vibrated by a videogame someone is playing on the big screen downstairs.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Often when I’m asked this, I answer, how do you NOT get ideas. Everything I see, everything I hear, everything I come across on any given day gives me ideas for stories. Drawn Together came from an attractive young man carrying flowers at Anime Expo. The dryer incident (sadly) actually happened to a co-worker of mine in a hair shop where I worked.
What do you like to read?
I’m such a sucker for love stories. It can be any genre, have any level of merit, and if it has a compelling love story? Sign me up!
What would your advice be for aspiring authors?
Read great writers. Write a lot. Learn your craft. Please yourself. Start at the beginning. Finish at the end. Have faith and be magnificent.
Reading and Writing are the most important things you can do to learn to be a writer. After the first five million or so words, you’ll start to see improvement. You’ll get better ideas. You’ll edit yourself before others have to. Read books as if they are food and you are starving. Write like the wind. The rest comes later. (And see the above 10 lessons as well.)
Anything else you’d like to share?
Well, I dunno. I just summed up my life philosophy in a single paragraph. Is there more to say? OH, YEAH!!! The book! I almost forgot.
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
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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.”