Hello. I’m Rebecca Scarberry, author of MESSAGES FROM HENRY, a YA novella and RAG DOLL, an adult short story. I’m Scarberryfields on Twitter. I have a treat for you. I have interviewed another multi-published author, Zoe Whitten (Zoe_E_W on Twitter). I have asked her questions I don’t normally ask authors. Enjoy!
Scarberryfields: Can you please tell us a little about your nationality, and where you now live?
Zoe: I’m originally a US citizen, born in Texas, but nine years ago, I moved to Italy after being courted online by my husband, Luciano. So now, I’m kinda sorta an Italian, even though my Italian skills are terrible.
Scarberryfields: What types of books do you publish?
Zoe: Mostly dark fantasy, although I’ve been known to write horror, sci-fi, and the random bit of contemporary fiction or comedy. I’ve also experimented with writing YA a few times, and think it’s pretty cool too.
Scarberryfields: Do you feel you spend more time writing your books, editing them, or promoting them?
Zoe: Promoting really takes up the most amount of time, though editing is a close second. Most of my books take about 3-4 weeks to write because I think a lot about the stories before I commit a single word to the blank page. Obviously, I’m a pantster, and have yet to see an outline I didn’t screw up.
Scarberryfields: Do you write full-time or do you have a day job?
Zoe: I’m retired due to advanced onset of multiple sclerosis, and technically, writing is just a hobby for me. I say technically because I’m finally starting to make enough money off of sales to cover the cost of my web hosting and my production costs.
On rare occasions, I also get editing work for a local company. The editor read one of my books and was really impressed by me. So now she sends work my way when the company needs an extra editor. It’s an easy job, looking for typos or redundant corporate-speak in news releases. The money is great, but only comes in once or twice a year. Other than that, I’m just a boring stay-at-home housewife.
Scarberryfields: Do you feel authors, writing erotica are discriminated against in any way?
Zoe: I don’t think it’s fair for me to say, as I only read a little of erotica, usually gay erotic romance, and my personal issues with BDSM prevent me from being able to read most of what’s currently considered popular erotica. But, I do know it’s very common for readers outside of a genre to form ideas about the readers inside it. It’s like the attitudes about horror readers worshipping the devil, or romance readers being too dumb to know what makes a decent story. So, it wouldn’t surprise me that some people think there’s something wrong with reading “sex stories.”
Scarberryfields: Do you read books by those you follow on Twitter? If so, do you write reviews for those books you enjoyed?
Zoe: I actually prefer not to read books by people I know personally, I still do, but the issue is, I’m a notoriously picky reader, and I don’t like losing friends over my reviews. It rarely works out well, and so I tend to prefer reading pros and indies who I don’t talk to regularly.
I’m kind of weird like that. Everybody else wants to avoid reading authors until they feel like the writer is almost their best buddy, and I’m more of the opinion that I don’t want to know jack shit about you, lest it taint my perspective of your art. Let me assess your work first, and then if I like it, we can think about being buddies online.
As for reviews, I write them whether I loved a book or hated it. To me, a review isn’t about promoting the author, but about informing other readers what I thought about the story. Even when I like a story, I make an effort to mention anything I didn’t like. I feel it’s more important to be honest and informative rather than finding something nice to say. In this way, if I gush about loving a book, people know I’m being genuine.
Scarberryfields: If refunds are requested for any of your books, do you remove the book(s) from publication?
Zoe: No, if I did that, a number of my books would be pulled even though they’ve had great reviews. I don’t really care if people ask for a refund on a book that doesn’t work for them, although I would never do that. If I buy an ebook and don’t like it, it’s no big deal. I just drop the book and move on to reading something else.
The thing about refunds is, you don’t know if someone was meaning to get a free sample and accidentally clicked the wrong button or not. Even if they ask for a refund because they didn’t like it, that’s hardly a reason to give up on a story. No story works for everyone, so you’re going to run into some people who just don’t like you. It happens. So don’t give up for a refund. There’s always a chance the next reader in line won’t ask for a refund.
Scarberryfields: Do family members read your books?
Zoe: No, not really. My dad tried with one of my first books, but told me “It’s just too graphic for me.” My mother read one of my books and told me I should have killed the main character. So obviously, I haven’t sent her anything else. Um...my cousin read one of my books back at the start of my ebook launch, but I don’t believe she’s read anything since then. I could be wrong though, but she never mentions it.
Most of my family are rednecks, and I’m the black sheep of the family for being bi and trans. So they don’t like to think about me, or acknowledge my stuff. I say most of my family, because my dad occasionally tells people I’m a writer. He’s also introduced me to a friend of my brother by saying, “This is my daughter Zoe. She writes books that no one reads.” Gee, thanks Dad.
Scarberryfields: When you’re writing or editing, do you shut-off all social networks?
Zoe: Nope, I keep TweetDeck open and I might surf Facebook a few times in between writing bursts. Some people have problems getting back to work, but I need the mental breaks in between the typing to keep me from suffering mental fatigue. I’ve written a LOT of books, so I don’t worry too much about whether my way is “right” or not. I still get stuff done, so that’s good enough for me.
Scarberryfields: What are the books you’ve published, and where can readers find them?
Zoe: Um...I have 39 ebooks on Amazon and 40 on Kobo. So listing all my titles could take a long time. My most recent releases were Saving Gabriel, A Frosty Girl’s Cure (sequel to my super villain comedy Waiting for a Miracle), A Boy and His Dawg, and Sandy Morrison and the Pixie Prohibition (sequel to Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies.)
Scarberryfields: Thank you so much for answering my questions, Zoe. I consider us buddies on Twitter. Therefore, I won't expect you to be reading my books. Ha! I wish you the best!