Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Z. Allora – I have known Z. for quite a while, but I first met her at the Dreamspinner Retreat last year. We sat down for coffee (ok, well maybe I had tea) and we had an animated conversation about the physics of space travel, gay romance, and art. Seriously. So thrilled to have Z. with me today!
Thanks so much, Z., for joining me!
Z. is giving away a copy of any one of her backlist titles as an eBook – for a chance to win, comment on the blog post below.
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Z. Allora: Writing is like air to me. I’ve always written. I stutter so writing has always been my refuge and in many cases the only time I can get my point across.
As far as getting good at writing… I’m working on it.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
ZA: I write yaoified rainbow romance with hot smexy smut and over-the-top happiness.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
ZA: I was living in China and I heard about the outrage over Adam Lambert kissing his keyboard player. I didn’t understand why anyone had a problem. Two guys kissing… so what was the problem? I liked the music, so I watched a ton of videos of Adam Lambert concerts… the hot rocker plot bunny bit me. With Wings was born. It’s a story of a gorgeous lead singer hot for his band mate, friends to lovers, lots of angst over readjusting to a bisexual orientation, and all while not imploding the band.
When the Glambert tour got to Asia and I watched Malaysia protest because Adam Lambert would turn the kids gay… I realized I had to share my work and add my voice to promote equality. Love is love and everyone deserves a happy ending (& I make sure they get both kinds).
JSC: What’s your writing process?
ZA: Usually I get a sexy hot scene in my head… then my job is to figure out who these characters are and how they get to their hot scene. This process can take several years. In my Club Zombie series book 3 (FINALLY) allows me to share the scene that started me down the zombie path. (Zombies suck… but mine swallow.)
JSC: Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
ZA: Maybe it’s my own nonbinary-ness peeking through, but all my characters buck the binary to varying degrees. None of my characters fit into one neatly labeled box. I live with my characters for years in my head, so I’m aware of all their nuances. Life is filled with variety and I like to show the entire spectrum.
I have characters that are demi-sexual with leaning toward men and others leaning toward only one other person. My transgender women are very different in how they needed to express who they are. One lovely needed surgery to live a fulfilling life (& is kinky as hell) while the other woman doesn’t need surgery to be affirmed and is comfortable accessing her more male energy at times while still being all lady. I have a sadist who’s not quite a Dom and who has a masochist bent. I have a sub that can Dom the fuck out of subs giving them everything they need.
JSC: What action would your name be if it were a verb?
ZA: A sex position… “Let’s Z. Allora…” “Yeah, it’s supposed to make you come really hard…”
JSC: What kind of character or topic have you been dying to try to write, but you’ve never worked up the courage?
ZA: I tend not to have any taboos. Restrictions don’t make me happy (unless they end in orgasm…). So I write who comes to me (as fast as I can… which is SLOW).
JSC: If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose?
ZA: Year before my mother died, so I could spend every moment with her.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
ZA: Secure and Free is coming out in Spring 2017. It’s a BDSM. I’m working on another Club Zombie book #3. There are several other works in progress.
And now for Z’s latest book: Lock and Key:
Zack Davis wanted to serve only one man, Andrew Nikeman. He was denied because Andrew thought he was too young and because their brothers were together. So Zack crushed his submissive tendencies and focused on being the perfect Dom, giving every sub he played with something he couldn’t have.
After years of denying his submissive side, Entwined’s charity auction “Are you Dom Enough to be a sub?” gives Zack an excuse to get a little of what he’s always craved.
Andrew doesn’t know when his infatuation turned into more, but it kills him to see Zack with a constant parade of submissives. He’d refused to jeopardize his brother’s relationship or become Zack’s regret; however, Zack isn’t a kid anymore, and his brother’s relationship is unbreakable. Now Zack’s popularity and success as a Dom might ruin Andrew’s dreams of collaring him, but he can’t wait any longer to confess his feelings or he risks losing the man he loves forever.
FADING INTO the shadows and hiding was second nature to Zack Davis. People didn’t notice him. His older brother was a drummer in a wildly popular rock band, and his younger brother was a talented, outgoing artist. Zack was easily overlooked between the two of them.
Probably a good thing since he was nothing but a twisted fuck. Invisibility had been his shield of choice, his only way of masking how much he didn’t belong… anywhere.
Now, at least, he had a job that utilized his skills of stealth. He was a roadie for his brother’s rock band, the Dark Angels, a job whose main objective was to get things done while drawing no attention.
His boss told him his duties during this afternoon’s sound check were to be ready for anything the band needed and to stay out of sight. Zack stood behind the curtain, comfortably hidden while the band checked their equipment. He focused on his assignment of waiting around and staring at the stage, or at least he tried.
Who is that?
Need slashed through Zack. He attempted for the millionth time not to stare at the man in leather who paced back and forth, speaking in hushed tones into a cell phone. That wasn’t a unique scenario backstage. But the way the leather clung held Zack’s attention hostage.
He’d always found the sight and smell of leather a turn-on. Images from the latest BDSM website he’d joined danced through his head. Not even being kicked out of his mother’s home for his “perversity” drove him to control his need to explore his dark desires.
Damn, why wouldn’t Sex-in-Leather turn around? The way he faced the opposite direction made it too easy for Zack to drool over how the black leather cupped the guy’s ass to perfection. Wow, his jacket must have been tailored to fit the expanse of his broad shoulders and narrow hips.
Zack memorized the enticing image for use at a more appropriate time.
Getting hard at work might violate his contract, so he redirected his attention to the sound check. It appeared to be going well, but what the hell did he know? This was his first concert working as a roadie.
Dusty finished his solo on the drums. His voice echoed a bit through the sound system as he said, “Your turn, Josh and Dare.”
The bass and lead guitar players tested their equipment by plucking their strings in a duel between the instruments. Josh switched out his bass halfway through the song to check his guitar. Damn, they should do that during a concert. The crowd would love it.
“Charlie, I just don’t understand….” The leather man’s exasperation carried across the backstage area.
Zack turned and caught sight of the man’s chiseled movie-star profile, which was marred by a frown.
The guy ran his fingers through his dark brown hair and asked into the cell, “What do you mean you’re not going to make it?”
Zack shouldn’t be listening, so he pulled out his own phone. He’d gotten one text from his little brother, Jordon, stating, Late, signed with a little artist emoji.
Zack quickly texted back, Why? Justin still with you?
Zack released the breath he’d been holding. OK, he typed back. His kid brother might very well be the death of him.
His phone buzzed with another text. Stop worrying. Fine.
He shouldn’t worry. His older brother’s boyfriend, Justin, was good with Jordon, but some habits didn’t die.
Another text followed. B there in 20.
He slipped his phone into his pocket as the makeup artist darted past him and then rushed over to him. “Zack, honey, did you see Augusto?”
“Um, who?” He tried to remember her name. Carla? Cindy? Celia? Casey? It was something with a C.
She sighed with a touch of “I’m going to strangle you” and said, “Oh right, you’re new. He’s the hairdresser. The bastard’s late again.”
How would that impact the show? “Oh, Augusto. No, I haven’t seen him. Sorry.”
“If you see the fucker, tell him to get his ass to the dressing room pronto,” she called over her shoulder as she jogged off in the opposite direction.
Should Zack look for him? He glanced down the hallway she’d run. No, the stage manager told him to be here and help with the sound check. That’s what he’d do. Besides, Zack wouldn’t know the hairdresser in question if he walked right past him.
Zack glanced back in the direction of the sexy man milling around with his phone to his ear. His tone tense, Sex-in-Leather asked, “You’re going to whose party? But I thought—I’m not forcing you to do anything…. Okay, I’ll s—” He pulled the cell away from his ear and stared down at the device. Shaking his head, he said, “See you later.”
With liquid movements, Sex-in-Leather pushed his cell back into his jacket pocket. How was such a simple action so alluring? What would he be like in the dark? Or better yet, the light, so Zack could see Sex-in-Leather’s excitement twist into satisfaction.
Lost in fascinated lust, he stared for a second too long.
Shit! The guy caught him midgawk.
Zack spun toward the progress on stage. He edged deeper into the curtains, hoping to camo himself into invisibility.
On stage, Angel Luv, the lead singer of the Dark Angels, was testing his microphone by singing nursery rhymes. Zack had never thought of The Three Little Pigs as a ménage story, but with a few word changes, the plot was right there.
A deep, rich laugh rang out and warmed Zack’s insides.
Curiosity made him glance over his shoulder. Leather’s mesmerizing blue eyes stared at him from only a few feet away.
All blood, sense, and reason left Zack’s head.
Kneel. Serve. His.
“Um… hi.” Zack’s voice picked a shitty time to crack.
Lame. Lame. Lame.
The most exquisite man he’d ever seen, and all Zack came up with was “um hi.” He should have gone to college; he’d have made a stunning communications major.
“I’m Andrew Nikeman.”
Kneel. Serve. Wait!
“Nikeman?” He repeated the word as if it tasted funny in his mouth. Nikeman. Well, that was shitastic! He’d filled his spank bank with images of—“Justin’s brother?”
“Yeah. Oh wait, are you one of Dusty’s brothers?”
“Zack Davis. Um, our brothers are dating, er, well, now I guess they’re living together.”
Fuckety fuck fuck.
“Indeed.” Andrew gave him a million-dollar smile that made Zack want to drop to his knees.
Z. Allora believes in happily ever afters for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.
To contact Z. Allora: