Zoe Perdita is often found writing or traveling. She is best known for her novels Crash and Shadow Scars: Rogue Wolf. Her series are loved by her readers, and are continuing to evolve as she writes them.
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
Well, I grew up in Las Vegas and hung out with a bunch of kids from the performing arts school. I had more LGBTQ friends than straight friends, so it was pretty normal to me to write gay characters.
I got into slash fan fiction and yaoi manga (gay comics) as a teenager. When I first found them on the Internet, I thought it was the best thing ever. But I didn’t even know gay romance existed as a book genre until 2011! I’d been writing books for over 10 years at that point, and I had a whole lot of original novels and slash fan fiction under my belt (Gundam Wing and Fullmetal Alchemist, in case anyone was curious). It seemed like a natural progression to test the waters with some original gay romances. I love writing about sexy dudes falling in love and getting to do that outside of fan fiction is awesome.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
Haha! I’m not sure I’d say my fan base was humongous. Probably small to moderate (and moderate is pushing it). I’d been trying to get my YA books published traditionally for years. Agents and editors liked by work, but they said it wouldn’t sell. My stories weren’t commercial enough, and I put gay some main characters in YA fiction, which wasn’t common at the time. I knew I wanted to write for a living – being self-employed is so much better than working for someone.
In 2012, I jumped in with both feet to test the waters with some indie published short stories and serial novellas. One of them took off like crazy to my delight and surprise. Everything went from there. When I moved on to full length novels, the fans followed me. I picked up more along the way.
You write under a pseudonym. Why?
When I started publishing I was working with small children in a rather conservative school district. I used a pen name because the first few stories I published were hardcore BDSM erotica, not because they were about gay characters. Writing about sex and teaching little kids tends to weird out some people.
I do like having a pen name since I got to choose it. Also, my real name is so common I’d get lost in the shuffle.
How has being a former English teacher effected how you write?
I have no idea! I’ve always been an English geek (okay, an everything geek), and I don’t think my writing changed after I started teaching. I taught ESL (English as a Second Language), which is different than teaching English to native speakers. It’s either lots or remedial stuff or lots of conversational stuff. I guess I understand grammar rules, which means I can break them. I’ll split as many infinitives as I want!
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
I actually don’t care who knows what I write. I’m proud of my books and the gay fiction genre as a whole. Whenever someone asks, I’m pretty open about it. My family knows, but they don’t read my books (it’s the erotic element that turns most of them off). Even my banker and dentist know what I do. It makes for some interesting conversations.
What was it like to write about Rowan Gregor, and how his pack was murdered?
Rowan was interesting because he was so cut off from himself (and his alpha side) since his family’s murder. However, his backstory, while tragic, wasn’t difficult to write. Considering some of the hell my other characters have been through, ‘family murdered by hunters’ is pretty low on the list.
Elijah was much harder to write (and lots of fun too). I had to walk a fine line between forgivable crazy and unforgivable crazy. But the abuse Elijah suffered in the past made sense for how brutal he was towards others.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
If one hot man is good, two hot men making out is even better. Throw in some tentacles, and we have a party! Or maybe that’s just me. I have weird hobbies.
I honestly don’t know. When I ‘found’ slash stuff, it was like discovering El Dorado and Shangri-La on the same day. My face probably glowed with joy. Maybe other ladies feel the same way.
What is our favorite thing to create while sewing? Do you stick to basic projects, like blankets?
Because I’m a crazy person, I sew clothes! I draft my own patterns and use a dress form to design stuff. Originally, I got into sewing to make costumes for the Ren Faire (yes, I’m a nerd). Now I use my mad sewing skillz (it needs the z for authenticity’s sake) to repair vintage clothes. Most of my closet is full of dresses from the 1930s to the 1960s. Like I said, I have weird hobbies.
What are you currently working?
The second book in the Lost Wolves series. It’s called Omega in the Light, and it picks up where Rowan and Elijah’s story left off. They still have to deal with a bad guy called the Butcher (a dangerous drug lord), and Elijah calls in his little brother, Simeon, for help.
Simeon has some issues, besides being another omega assassin, that is. He’s got a much darker sense of humor than Elijah, and he may be a little bit crazier. But he’s also weirdly sweet. He’s supposed to kill an alpha wolf named Zev, a mercenary with an open contract on his head. But Simeon can’t do the job because he’s attracted to Zev.
Sparks fly (and sexy times ensue). The two have to figure out what to do with each other. Will Zev return to his pack? Will Simeon kill Zev or claim him as mate? Find out next time. Same wolf time! Same wolf channel!
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
I start with a very light outline. It usually has the main characters and their main motivations. I also have an idea for opening the book. Then, for every chapter, I write down a sentence or two to give myself an idea of what needs to happen to progress the story. Otherwise, my characters make up their own minds. Unless, of course, I throw some new problem at them. Can’t let them be complacent for too long. Where’s the fun in that?
My first draft is actually a second draft since I edit every day. I do a third edit, then it’s off to the betas and my editor for a look. I usually don’t rewrite much besides minor plot and character inconsistencies, but that does change from book to book. Tiger’s Den needed more rewrites than Omega in the Shadows, for example.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
Anywhere from three weeks to six weeks. Once again, it depends on how fast I’m writing. This is my only job, but I usually can’t write more than 4,000 words a day without running into problems. I have some physical limitations with my hands that keep me from writing more, unfortunately.
What was it like to write the relationship between Connor Sharp and Seth Alwen while they worked to solve murders in the novel Shadow Scars: Rogue Wolf?
Oh, that one was a lot of fun. Seth was so snarky and open while Conner was sort of shy and stoic. They played off of each other well once they got past their trust issues. Working together was a challenge at first, since they didn’t know what sort of powers the other one had (Seth was a psychic and Conner was a wolf). But when they learned the truth, they got along much better.
What advice do you have for those thinking about writing gay romance and what advice do you have for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
Get ready for a lot of hard work. Breaking into genre fiction isn’t easy, especially one as crowded as gay romance. Make sureyou really love writing it before you jump in because it could be a long haul until you get any fans. Just keep writing and publishing. Oh, and try to publish frequently. You don’t want people to forget about you. Tell the stories you want to tell, and ifyou write well, you’ll find readers. I did, and that amazes me every damn day!