What do you like best about being a writer? Coming up with an idea for a story. Mulling it around a bit. Putting some thoughts on paper. Taking those thoughts and giving it some structure and an arc. Developing the characters. What do you like the least? Writing the book. Ha! It’s hard work. It takes discipline, as well as a good foundation in craft.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? As it turns out, everything in my life experience gets channeled into my writing—past and present. People I meet and either like or dislike get their names changed and find their way into the story. I had a crazy landlady once, who I wrote into one of my novels as a minor antagonist—author revenge is sweet!
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? Characters often take over and write their own dialogue. When that happens it’s magical, but there are also times when I have to send them to the corner of my brain and give them a time out. Phaeton Black, the Victorian London detective likes to write his own dialogue. Believe me, that series was wonderfully entertaining to write.
You’ve written 10 novels and are working on the 11th novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? The very idea of time management makes me cringe. I just make time to write. If I need time away from the keyboard to process a story I’m working on, I give myself that time. Storytelling is an art. Marketing books is a business. I believe way too much emphasis is put on cranking out manuscripts and not enough on the quality of the storytelling. If I write two novels a year and I’m happy with the storytelling and the characters—mission accomplished.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? I plot enough to know the critical arcs of the plot, but not so much that the entire story is completely known to me. I need a little elbow room when I’m writing. Sometimes a character appears that you hadn’t planned on or a plot twist happens that is surprising and suspenseful.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Memorable characters are more important than a perfectly plotted story. Years after you read a wonderful novel, you remember, what? Every nuance of the plot? No, you remember Emma Woodhouse, or Tom Sawyer or Jamie Fraser or Atticus Finch.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? I put together a new playlist for every book I write. Here’s a few of the tunes that got stuck on an endless play loop: Yelawolf -Til It’s Gone, Hans Zimmer – Synchrotone, Tribal War - Black Hawk Down Soundtrack, Alexandre Desplat - Something Really Cool – Syriana Soundtrack, Billy Joel - Leave a Tender Moment Alone.
The zombie apocalypse is on, and Lizzy Davis is determined to survive any way she can. As a surgeon, she’s used to saving lives; not cutting into the basal ganglia to make sure the patient stays dead. When the refugee camp is overrun by zombie hordes, Lizzy manages to escape only to run into Black Hawk pilot Chris Oakley in the middle of the Syrian Desert.
Lizzy and Chris fight off zombie attacks as they make their way toward a joint military air base northeast of Kirkuk. Just one problem, they’ll have to pass through the drone-patrolled DMZ— Dead Meat Zone. To get there, they form uneasy alliances with French-Arab commandos and a black ops interrogator who’s slowly rotting before their eyes.
Along the way, Lizzy and Chris manage to find time for each other—the sizzling red-hot lovemaking kind of time. And who knows? They might have a chance at love if they live long enough.
Warning: Features red hot to erotic love scenes
Syrian Desert, Jordan
190 kilometers SE of Zaatari Refugee Camp
He rested the gun on his knee and pulled the bandana off his face. Jeezus, of course, he'd be dusty, grimy and great looking.
“Water?” he croaked.
Z growls gurgled up from the rotten pool of stench surrounding us. Incapacitated biters crawled at the rate of about one meter per hour. But at this exact moment, the newly arrived armed stranger concerned me more than the undead.
I studied the man hunkered down in the sand. A male survivor in good health could be worse than a horde of zombies. Men raped women like me—more than once––then they ate all your food. Worst of all, they wouldn’t hesitate to pimp you out for a meal, ammo, or gasoline.
Like I said, worse than a shitload of zombies.
I scanned the raised bank that bordered the road. The silhouette of something lean, mean, and fast rested on a kickstand. The zombie slayer’s dust cloud-maker. And my ticket out of here. I unsnapped the plastic travel bottle from my utility belt and handed over the water.
He didn’t drink. He guzzled.
“Hey, leave some for me.”
He released the water bottle with a gasp. “Got more?”
I narrowed my gaze. “Got food?”
He hesitated long enough to be manufacturing a lie. “In the saddle bag on my bike.”
“There’s a couple of gallons in the truck.” I nodded toward the transport vehicle behind me. “I’ll trade you a share of my water for a share of your food.”
The ends of his mouth curled upward, and he ogled my thighs as high as the boy shorts allowed. Pretty sure he was thinking about a different kind of trade.
I met his gaze and held it. “Deal?”
His attention shifted to my truck. He could grab both gallons and make a run for it.
I squinted. “Don’t even try it.”
His cute lip curl turned cynical. “Awww. She doesn’t trust me.” He rose and took long strides toward the transport. Midway, he stopped to shoot a crawler in the back of the neck. One of the most annoying things about killing zombies is the having to kill them over and over.
Cursing under my breath, I raced ahead and beat him to the truck. I guarded the door and watched his simple, unhurried style. One by one he made sure the crawlers were dead.
He removed his helmet and scratched his head. He was tall, a bit over six feet with nice hair––short and scruffy. Hard to tell exactly what shade of brown in the moonlight. He slung the M4 under his shoulder and approached the truck slowly. That gaze of his caused tingles in places I didn’t want to think about right now.
I did a quick evaluation of my situation. Out of gas in the middle of the Syrian desert––bad luck. Woke up to a pod of biters surrounding the truck––welcome to my bad town. Running into this zombie slayer? For now, it was safe to assume that every badass inch of his badass dick was trouble.
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Multi-published, national award-winning author, Jillian Stone is on a three year quest to write all the books (in different genres) she’s always wanted to write before she gets forever labeled as a historical romance writer. Jillian lives in Highland, California and is currently writing a shapeshifter tale WOLF, INTERRUPTED, which recently won the FF&P On The Far Side award in the paranormal category.
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