Tell us about your recent Riptide release. What was the inspiration behind it?
Outside the Lines is a fun, geeky poly romance about Ian, a miniature set designer for Wolf's Landing, and Simon and Lydia, the married co-owners of the comic book store in Bluewater Bay. It's different from a lot other menege novels in that it's not a poly triad--Ian's gay, so he and Lydia aren't mutually sexually attracted to each other, but all three still very much become family in the end.
There's kind of dual inspirations behind the book. I'd wanted to write a Bluewater Bay novel for a long time, and had access to the series bible (Thanks LA Witt!) a while before I even came up with the book or had time to write it. Skimming through all the notes on the town of Bluewater Bay, I noted that there was a comic book store that had a rivalry with a Wolf's Landing merchandise store...but no one had used either in any of the Bluewater Bay books. They weren't even named. So I kept that in my head and hoped no one would decide to use them...
And then I was having lunch with a friend and we were talking about poly relationships and my friend commented that they never saw their own relationship in any romances. Triads abound, but they were a poly v but most definitely a family. And I really really wanted to write a story that was similar to their happy ever after, because everyone deserves to see themselves in a book.
So those two ideas merged, because no one ever did write about the comic shop! Woo! Then I found Simon, Lydia, and Ian in my head, and told their story (which is not the same as my friend's, to be fair, but is in a similar vein).
What can readers expect when they read a story from you? What would you like potential readers to know about you and your books?
Gosh. I know I have a style. People have told me I have a style, but it's hard for me to see what defines an Anna Zabo book. Some of them are heavy on the angst, but others like Outside the Lines aren't. I do try to inject humor into all my books. Outside the Lines, and Bluewater Bay, lent itself to being a bit more fun than some of my other books. I do tend to have geeky characters--if not into high tech, then into gaming or geeks in other ways. And though I try not to have all my books contain kink...a lot of my books contain some amount of kink, though mostly in the bedroom.
What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing your latest release?
That I really enjoy writing in first person! I'd written a few shorts in first, but all my novels before Outside the Lines were in third. For some reason, Ian started telling his story, and that was that... the novel was going to be in first. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to sustain it, but the whole thing worked, and it was really a lot of fun! And now I'm not fearful to try again.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I usually give myself three to four months to write a book. Which is either really fast or really slow, depending on who you ask. I'm not a fast typist, but I usually have a pretty good idea of the book in my head and a decent outline done before I start writing. But I also have books I've been noodling with for years, so... it really depends on the book.
Describe your workspace.
I don't have a set workspace. The closest I have right now is my couch, which is an older L-shaped sectional. I sit against one side of the corner and stretch my legs out so that my cats can lay down on or next to my legs (on the electric blanket). If I don't stretch out, my one cat, Smokey, will crawl between me and my laptop and fall asleep in my arms. He's impossible to type around, though.
I can pretty much write anywhere I can concentrate and sit comfortably. Heck, I wrote part of this book in airports, on airplanes, and in LA Witt's basement.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to cure it?
Yes. For me, writer's block is very much linked to my mood. If I'm down, I have a harder time falling into the writing, or even getting myself motivated to write. Sometimes, I have to just--let it go. Go read or cross stitch or go for a walk. Sometimes I'm not in the headspace I need to be for a particular scene, so I'll work on another, and that'll snap me out of my mood. But the main thing is I try not to get mad at myself. And if I need to take some time off, I take it.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have two rock star romances coming out next year with Carina Press (Syncopation and Counterpoint), and then after that, I'll be working on a new series for Riptide with some other authors that I'm not sure I can talk about yet, but it's gonna be AWESOME. Oh, and finally writing a sequel to my paranormal romance Close Quarter, because it's only been five years... (sheesh).
Do you have a favorite quote?
Lately, I've been fond of "Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." It's been attributed to Oscar Wilde, but he didn't actually write it, apparently! Still, I'd like to think Oscar would nod at the sentiment.