Interview with Zelig Media

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in and around New York City (Manhattan and the North Jersey suburbs), in the 1960s and the 1970s. I always find (particularly preachy) discussions of "diversity" a little irritating and phony: that's just the water I grew up swimming in. We didn't have to run around angsting or pontificating about it; we just lived it. I would hope that my writing has a degree of texture and complexity to it. Part of where that came from was where I grew up.
When did you first start writing?
I started being professionally (nationally) published when I was in high school. Took a few more decades before I (semi-publicly--given the pen name) "came out" with erotic fiction.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've written in almost every other context: freelance, staff, ghost, author-with-a-decent-sized-press-behind-me.

All of those slots have their pros and cons.

But it feels like--even if you get a book contract from a "real" publisher--more and more, you have to do most of the legwork yourself anyway. You give up all these rights; you end up a "publisher's puppet," complying with endless and ridiculous requirements; and you *still* have to bust your ass doing promo etc!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are some contexts where writing is utilitarian: school, work, thank you notes to Aunt Barb. I can usually take *some* egocentric pride and pleasure in that.

But for more creative work (fiction, poetry, socio-political "think pieces"), it's really less joy than it is (temporary) relief. Stuff "builds up" and you "flush it out."

"And then the morning light comes streaming in. . . and we get up and do it again. Amen." (Thx Jackson Browne)
What do your fans mean to you?
That I can more efficiently remove smoke from my kitchen. . . ?

I'll get back to this when (if) I. . . acquire fans.
What are you working on next?
Something in the range of 172,423 projects, across a couple dozen genres.

It's more business as usual than anomaly that I have a lot of "balls in the air."

Part of that is necessity (owe this editor a piece; have to edit that; need to figure out how to pay bills in more timely fashion).

But I really *like* having a peripatetic writing life.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm in my mid-50s and my body began betraying me a long time ago: something close to an inability to sleep has been part of that.

But I also share, with writers I do and do not know, the characteristic experience that *sometimes* that's a productive thing.

The classic scenario is: You lie in bed between 1AM & 3AM, RESISTING, some idea or sentence caroming around in your head.

Finally, you say, "Fuck it! Make. It. Stop," get up, write furiously for an hour, go back to sleep.

And in the morning (not always but often) you read this draft that just seems. . . much better than you really are as a writer.

Not a religious person, but that whole "I didn't write it, I just took dictation" thing? Something to it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Collecting irritations (or, in the case of erotica stimulations) that accrete until I have to write again.
What is your writing process?
Depends on the task.

But I think one commonality, across tasks and genres, is that I try very much to *not* think-edit-obsess for the first draft: just spew.

Second or third draft onward?

Yeah. . . ya gotta. . . think-edit-obsess (or hire outside help to do it for you; I'm more often the paid outside help than the "helpee).
How do you approach cover design?
Because erotica represents the great bulk of self-pub projects that I've been involved in, there are all these weird balancing acts to maintain: sexy but not too sexy; somehow "text-relevant" but not slavishly so; titillating but not at the level that gets things banned--or relegated to some dungeon where no one is allowed to see, and therefore buy, the book (unless they give some odd password to a troll under a bridge).

I'm a fundamentally "not visual" person.

Probably the greatest lesson I've had hammered into me over the past few decades is: do less, in the way of graphic design.

K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Stupid!)
Published 2016-12-05.
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