Monday, May 18, 2015

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Erin Zarro, Author, SciFi, Fantasy, Horror

Erin Zarro, Author
Erin Zarro likes SciFi and Fantasy because “anything goes.” She places her latest novel GRAVE TOUCHED, the second of the Fey Touched Books, in the science fantasy genre. Reviewers tout her “ability to write with such emotion and feeling” and appreciate her characters, which Zarro attributes to the “distinct voice” she gives each one.

Zarro is working on the third Fey Touched book in addition to the next novella in a series about women rescuing men. She also loves horror and believes it “speaks to the very core of a person.” She lives in Michigan with her husband and cat and, when not reading or writing, enjoys photography and camping and hopes to re-learn French.

Q: What draws you to write in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror? And in which genre would you place your newest novel, GRAVE TOUCHED (FEY TOUCHED BOOK 2)?

Erin Zarro: I'm drawn to sci-fi and fantasy because anything goes. You can make up your own world, or create a futuristic version of our world (which is what I did with the Fey Touched series) and there are no limits and no rules. As for horror, I think it has a lot to do with the horror novels I'd read throughout my life – horror speaks to the very core of a person in different ways. Everyone has a bit of darkness within. And, I'm on a mission to scare myself. ;)

I'd place my Fey Touched series in the science fantasy genre. There's genetic engineering and time travel mixed with alchemy (magic) and healing. The series is firmly in both, not one or the other.

Q: Can you explain your title, GRAVE TOUCHED – without spoiling the plot for future readers?

Erin Zarro: Grave Touched came along when I thought about the Hunters' afterlife, and what would happen if something went wrong. Except the Hunters don't bury their dead. So it was a challenge to come up with something that fit within the FT world because I really liked the name Grave Touched.

Q: How do you make your story believable? How important is credibility to readers of your genre?

Erin Zarro: Very important. I try to use actual scientific things that could be plausible in a few hundred years, such as telepathy, time travel using virtual reality, and...some other stuff I can't reveal. I try to build from what could happen and go from there. I hope I succeeded. ;) But yes, to tell a good story, it must be believable within the constraints of our world and future.

Q: A reviewer of the first FEY TOUCHED book praises your characters as “fascinating, their motivations clear and their storylines are compelling.” How do you engage your readers to care about your characters in a make-believe world?

Erin Zarro: I think voice had a lot to do with it. When I write characters, they all have a very distinct voice and way of looking at things. I try to go deep into the character's psyche and figure out what makes him or her tick. It's always an organic process – I never plan on those details ahead of time.

There is also my characters' motivations. I gave them some pretty heavy stuff. And that's what drove the story and their character progression.

Q: How helpful was the use of humor either to create your characters or tell your story?

Erin Zarro: I had a lot of humorous moments in FEY TOUCHED, and some in GRAVE TOUCHED. It goes back to a character's voice. Some characters use humor to cope with things. Others are just funny. I like having a bit of comedic relief, especially in tense scenes.

Q: Did you write GRAVE TOUCHED strictly to entertain or did you want to deliver a message or educate your readers?

Erin Zarro: Probably a bit of both. I wrote it primarily to answer a question I had that intrigued me. But I did want to show how important love is, how it can change absolutely everything.

Q: Does the concept of villains vs heroes apply to GRAVE TOUCHED? What makes a good villain? 

Erin Zarro: There were two main villains, and I had a blast writing them. There was a definite line in the sand with my Hunters and the villains. I think a good villain must have a driving force – something he or she wants so badly, he or she will do anything to get it. But I also learned that there was a human side to both villains, and that made them more real to me. So I think they need both a driving force and a human side to be a good villain.

Q: In addition to writing novels, you also have written and published books of your poetry. Do you still write poetry? What can you say in poetry better than in prose? Do you prefer one over the other?

Erin Zarro: I do write poetry sometimes, though not as much as I used to. Poetry is a different form of expression, and there are fewer words to express what you're feeling or thinking, so it's very challenging. I don't typically write formal poetry, but I will occasionally, and that's even more challenging to say what I need to say and follow the rules.

I think some things can be said better in poetry, if they are handled right. I love using metaphor to express myself, and I think it's a bit easier in a poem.

I prefer novel writing, simply because I am long winded. ;)

Q: What’s next?

Erin Zarro: Well, I have a novella in the works that continues the story I started in UNDER HER PROTECTION, an anthology about women rescuing men. I'm also working on Fey Touched book #3, Ever Touched, figuring out plot and character stuff (although I do very little planning ahead), and I have an older project I'm rewriting on Sundays.

Q: Tell us about Erin Zarro. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Erin Zarro: Reading mostly. ;) Photography, watching TV (I have a few series I'm addicted to, such as Game of Thrones and Bones), camping in the summer, and relearning French.

About Erin Zarro

Erin Zarro is a poet and novelist living in Michigan. She's married to her Prince Charming, and they have a cat, Hailey, who she believes is part vampire.

To pay the bills, Erin works as an office manager for a small marketing firm. In her spare time (what's that?), she writes madly. She also enjoys photography, music, website design, and, of course, reading!

She is terribly hard to scare, loves a damn good story, and wants to be a full time novelist when she grows up. She self-published her first novel, FEY TOUCHED, through Turtleduck Press in 2012.  Currently she is working on Fey Touched book #3, Ever Touched, as well as a few other projects.
FEY TOUCHED – humans, genetically engineered for immortality and flight, tasked with protecting the rest of the world from rogue Fey...
GRAVE TOUCHED – dead souls in search of living bodies to possess, especially those who’ve had a brush with death...
When Fey Touched Hunter Emily wakes up in a hospital, she doesn’t know that she was in fact dead. Nor does she know that her lover, Nick, broke all kinds of rules to bring her back. But the grave touched do.
Fey Touched Healer Asha does know that her mate, Joe, saved her when her abilities nearly killed her. And she knows the voices in her head are the grave touched trying to stake their claim. Asha needs Joe’s help again, but unfortunately she’s the only one who believes the grave touched exist.
The grave touched are plotting to take over the corporeal world, and they’re gaining strength. Only Emily and Asha stand in their way – and both are about to be possessed.
Grave Touched.
Asha is the Queen of the Fey, genetically engineered immortal humans who feed on human souls to survive. But she's running from her people. When she is found by her enemy, one of the Hunters of the Fey, she expects to die. Yet he's oddly intrigued by her, and Asha finds herself falling in love with him, hoping she can find safety and the home she's been seeking. Then she's kidnapped, and everything changes.
Fallon is a Hunter. She's looking for her long-lost sister, using an addictive drug to search through the stream of time. Her addiction leaves her dangerously exposed to her enemies but, consumed by her search, she doesn't care...until her fellow Hunters start dying from a mysterious illness. She is torn between duty and desire, and must find an answer before they all die.
What Fallon doesn't know is that Asha might just be the key to saving them all, if only she can find her.
And time is running out.
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