Interview with Garrett Zephyr

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in 2007. I was spending time in a chat room at the time. One night I just up and wrote a short erotic story, entitled Full Moon Summer. The story was a woman fleeing through the forest, and being caught by a werewolf, who incidentally was the man she had been having dinner with. It culminated in a rather intense sexual encounter.

Everyone I showed it to liked it very much, and so I began to write more erotic shorts.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The process behind my first book (and latest), A Kiss of Red, took a number of months to evolve. Ultimately I am hoping to create a full world of paranormal beings, to write stories about. Shifters seemed like the best place to start, because I did not require as much background information that the other races will demand of me.

As time passed, I honestly think Fate or my own instinct has been guiding my hand. Little things began to add together as I worked. Such as the setting, Oregon. While Brook Falls is a fictional community, it is located near Long Creek. In my research of Oregon, I found this particular area had all the unique requirements a trilogy could demand of me.

Given that the first series is called Maidens of the Forest, each of the three books has a facet of the forest rather prominently featured. In the case of the first book, that would be the animal life, specifically the gray wolves. I have also included a link in the back of the book, to a website that is devoted to bringing information about returning gray wolves to the state.

Another rather eerie thing about the location, is that it is located off Highway 395, which is the number of the street address where I grew up.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well, I originally thought about getting a publisher. But it honestly looked like a huge amount of trouble. And then I began to research doing it myself. Print copies are largely out, because all of the places I have looked charge entirely too much per book. It hardly makes sense to spend $10 on a print copy when you are selling for $6. Although I do have an idea about a limited run of print copies, to be awarded as prizes in giveaways for my fans.

Ultimately I felt that publishing myself was the best way to go. The costs are extremely limited at this point. $35 for a writing software to make the EPUB files for Smashwords and Amazon, another $5-$10 per cover, using a rather talent artist on Fiverr. It just seems like the best option.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I am a very creative person. I was bullied in my childhood, and frankly preferred the company of my books. I grew up reading Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and pretty much everything I could get my hands on. I didn't really get into the romance genre until the past 8-10 years. A few girlfriends liked certain books, and I read them at their request.

I quickly found I enjoyed the work. I love the raw sexuality of most romance books, coupled with the paranormal. So with my own books, I want to create things that people can enjoy. The romance ones to arouse and inspire their passion, naturally, but also with my unique spin. To inspire fear with horror-based ones, suspense, mystery, fantasy.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans, those few I have at the time of this, my first publication, do mean a lot to. I'm hoping in the future I can plan giveaways with my books. So those fans who buy my work can have the chance to win special copies of my work. Such as a copy with my digital autograph to the fan who wins.

I'm hoping I can find enough who like to read my work. Partially this is my desire to earn income from this, but also to have people who will join my website and forum, and talk with me about my books. So I can see what they have to say. Which parts they like, which parts made them afraid or aroused. This will allow me to evolve my writing into something better, and to give the fans what they truly wish.
What are you working on next?
While A Kiss of Red is part of the Maidens of the Forest trilogy, to shake things up, my next planned book revolves around the Four Horsemen. This one is set to be a quintet, with one book for each of the four. I plan to stagger the release somewhat, so the third book will likely be the second of the Maidens series.

I am set to portray the Four Horsemen as sisters, high up in the chain of deities within the Earth's religions. Each of the sisters is trapped in a human form, doomed to an endless cycle of reincarnation. This is punishment for a transgression that happened when mankind was in it's infancy.

The first book of the quintet will be entitled, The Sword of War. With a little luck, I may have it released this summer.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a ton of favorite authors. I am very much addicted to reading. In the romance genre there are so many great female authors. Christine Feehan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Lara Adrian, really I could just keep naming them. Of course, I am dearly hoping to become as popular as these great woman of romance. Though it is a little intimidating, since I am male, and there are so few males in the genre.

For others, I love most of the books in the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms labels. I like Ed Greenwood, David Eddings, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, and Frank Herbert.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I think first and foremost, the love from my partner. After that would be to learn and expand my mind. Being able to create characters and roleplay with them, testing theories for my books. And generally just having fun being able to create stuff.

A lot of the time, I have more fun creating characters than actually using them. Just to have their backstory and history.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Spending time with my partner. Watching movies or television with her. I love to spend time playing video games and reading. I especially like games with a good story. Truthfully a good story can paralyze me. I will lose myself in it, forgetting all that goes on around me.

I guess this can be dangerous, since on occasion I have read for 9 or 10 hours straight. And polished off a few pounds of carrots while reading a good book.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I love my local library. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but I have had a lot of luck doings this. A lot of the time I will walk up and down the aisle, my eyes slightly unfocused, just drifting across the shelves. And books will leap out at me.

I can't really read the title until I focus on something. So I can't really explain how it works. Just something about the colors or pattern perhaps. But then I pull the book off the shelf to have a deeper look. This generally turns me on to an author's name, and maybe I read one or two print books by that author. Just to be sure.

After that, I can easily find them online to obtain their books. Of course, for those authors who are solely online, I fall back on searching keywords, for things that I am interested in. Vampires, werewolves, etc.
What is your writing process?
Well, for A Kiss of Red, it took quite a lot of effort. I use some free software to help out. I generally start with a basic concept. Using the software, I can layout the number of chapters I want to shoot for, and how many scenes per chapter.

For each scene, I then write a little description. Usually 5-6 words, nothing more is needed really. Then I just sit and kind of write. It just flows out of me. This is how I did it with A Kiss of Red. I aimed for a certain word count per scene, and let the words go.

Of course, the story evolved itself over time, as I got deeper into the story. Things happened as I wrote each scene, that governed how later scenes would go. That is natural, I guess. I had a general idea of who the villain would be, who would get the girl, who would be hurt or attacked, things like that.

Yet I found as I wrote, new things emerged that I had never considered until that moment. And so this is why I say the story evolved. It knew where it needed to go, it just had to point this out to me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Well, honestly I can't. It has been over 20 years ago. I know a few positive ones that have had an influence on my life. The first would be the Icewind Dale trilogy, by R.A. Salvatore. I got this one around middle or high school. And honestly, reading about Drizzt, I liked the way he acted. It made me want to emulate him, with his morals and attitude towards things.

Another book, that I read when I was far too young, as most people would say, was Nomads of Gor, by John Norman. We had received a box of books from an aunt, most were the older style of romance novels, not so much in the paranormal side of things, since this was back in the 80s. But I saw Nomads, and the cover made it look like a sci-fi or fantasy book. So I grabbed it.

I can say now, that I was in elementary school when this happened. I am not sure which grade exactly. It was only 5 or 6 years after I graduated high school, that a female friend mentioned the novels. And I went and read them. When I reached the fourth, imagine my surprise that I had, in fact, read this at such a young age.

I can say this probably has a lot to do with my dominant nature and strong sexuality. Although I can say that I am far more protective of women, as opposed to treating them as slaves against their will.

As of writing this, these are the four books that have largely made a memorable impact on my life.
How do you approach cover design?
In general, A Kiss of Red was my first time needing a cover image. I was looking for help on a social site, when someone suggested Fiverr. I went over and found a girl who does ebook covers. You gotta admit, $5 is a helluva deal on this.

So, given the content of my book, I posed what I wanted. The main female character represented on the cover, wearing a red dress. And the wolf, given the prominence of them within the story. As well as grass and a forest, due to the location of the story.

Of course, she chose the fond, though I did want Kiss to be the color it was given. As a finishing touch, I took the finished product and added a lipstick kiss.

I intend to use her for more covers in the future.
Published 2014-04-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.