After giving you teasers of the stories included in the Shades of Pink Charity Anthology in September, this month I'll tell you a little more about the authors involved. I interviewed them with questions about their contributions, their writing life, their works in progress...
Today, Zoe York
Kallysten - Let me first thank you for taking part in this project. When we first talked about the project, you mentioned you had a personal reason for wanting to participate. Would you care to tell us a little about your mother?
Zoe York - My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 47. She’d actually gone to her doctor a few times about an irregular lump a few times in the past, and it wasn’t properly followed up on. By the time she was diagnosed, her cancer was already spreading to her bones. She passed away two years later.
In the intervening decade, family doctors have gotten better at screening, treatments have improved, and awareness is at an all time high…but women are still being diagnosed late in the progression of their disease. I love the idea of this project, being creative to creatively raise awareness and hopefully some funds as well!
K - How did you come up with the idea for your story, ‘See Me’? Was there a ‘lightbulb moment’ when the characters or plot fell into place?
ZY - I’ve wanted to write a story about characters named Ember and Gage for a while now. I had this vague idea of who they were, and they don’t fit into the cast of characters for my small-town series exactly, so I decided their story was a good one to do for this anthology—something outside my regularly scheduled writing.
The lightbulb moment happened when I was sketching out pink options…what kind of wannabe rockstar gets drunk on pink champagne, right? Almost immediately after I wrote the words “pink champagne”, I added an arrow and wrote “+TEQUILA” in giant letters. The rest of the plot worked itself out.
K - I have to admit I fell a little bit in love with your hero, not because of what his physique or because he’s a soon-to-be rockstar, but because (SPOILERS ALERT!) he waited for the heroine to sober up before taking their relationship beyond friendship. Can you tell us what qualities you admire or respect in a man?
ZY - Top three: dependable, funny and good with kids. You can tell a lot by a person by how they treat young people.
K - Looking at your website, I was struck by your tagline ‘modern, sexy, small town romance’. What is it about small town romances that make writing more fun for you?
ZY - It’s the community that has its own personality—a “small town” book could be set in micro-community within a city, really. But I like a literal small town because they’re surrounded by farms, beaches, orchards and wide open roads.
K - What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
ZY - Building a relationship with my characters, and being the only one who can tell their stories.
K - Can you tell us about your current writing project or next release?
ZY - I’m putting the final touches on the second full-length novel in The Wardham Series. Where Their Hearts Collide will be out soon (I’m aiming for the end of October).
K - Would you care to share an excerpt from it?
ZY - Of course! Meet Karen and Paul:
It was a shame the guy next door was so rude. If he smiled, he’d probably be drop-dead gorgeous. If he smiled, that might mean she finally had his attention.
Karen peeked out the corner of her eye at the post-war bungalow on the other side of her driveway. The shared driveway. It was a mirror image of her house, dark red brick and pretty white trim. A wide front porch. His was bare except for a broom. Hers had her beloved bicycle in a place of honour, and a comfortable whicker conversation set decorated with navy cushions.
Between their houses sat his sensible four door sedan. Now it was awkward. Should have told him the first time.
She’d come home from work three weeks ago to find the house next to hers no longer vacant. The standard welcome-to-the-street spiel had died on her tongue as the new resident jogged out the door and straight past her, as if she hadn’t been standing next to his front walk. Technically on the sidewalk, but her intent to greet him had been clear. Hadn’t it?
That was followed by two more non-meetings, which chafed her, because she liked to be known as a friendly person. Forcing her neighbour to have a conversation crossed a line into needy. She’d been looking for a natural opening to a conversation. Now she needed to make it happen.
April was around the corner, and her Camaro was calling to be let loose on the road. As soon as the last threat of snow passed, she’d need to use the shared driveway to get 304 horsepower of Victory Red awesomeness onto the roads. Hard to do with his fuel-efficient safetymobile in the way.
So she was killing time in her front yard, pretending to tidy her flower beds, planning the best way to ambush a stranger. Not her finest moment.
Since he’d been home all day, he was probably going to leave soon. He was some sort of shift worker; he either left early in the morning or around dinner time, and was often gone for the better part of a day.
She felt like a stalker, but really, he hadn’t left her any choice. And it’s not like she’d gone through his mail or trash. She really didn’t know anything about him except for his schedule and where he parked. And that he had single handedly increased the hot quotient of Wardham by 1000%. She didn’t even know how old he was, although she guessed around her age, maybe a little bit older. No way would a guy in his twenties drive that car.
K - Thank you again for being a part of Shades of Pink. Any last word before I let you go back to your writing?
ZY - Thanks for the opportunity! Both to participate in a project for an important cause, and also the excuse to write something a bit different. I see more Ember and Gage stories in my future!
Find Zoe York at http://www.zoeyork.com