About Zack Love:
Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he studied mostly literature, psychology, philosophy, and film. After college, he moved to New York City and took a corporate consulting job that had absolutely nothing to do with his studies. The attacks of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write a novelette titled “The Doorman” and heightened his interest in the Middle East. A decade later, that interest extended to the Syrian Civil War, which provided the backdrop for his dramatic romance titled “The Syrian Virgin.” In late 2013, Zack began releasing his unpublished works of fiction. He has published comedy, psychological and philosophical fiction, and romance. Zack enjoys confining himself to one genre about as much as he likes trying to sum up his existence in one paragraph.
What inspires you to write?
Anything and everything. My short story, “City Solipsism,” was inspired by a simple subway ride to work. My romantic comedy, “Sex in the Title,” was inspired by post-college work life in the Big Apple, and the ups and downs of dating in New York City. In fact, the inspiration for that novel was playfully summed up in my very first biography (yes, apparently one’s bio evolves with one’s books)…Here it is:
Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he tried to create a bachelor’s degree in Women. With the bachelor portion of that degree in hand, he settled in New York City but – to afford renting his bed-sized studio – found himself flirting mostly with a computer screen and stacks of documents. Determined not to die a corporate drone, Zack decided to sacrifice sleep for screenwriting, an active social life, and Internet startups offering temporary billion-dollar fantasies.
To feed his steady diet of NYC nightlife, Zack regularly crashed VIP parties in the early 2000s and twice bumped into his burgeoning crush, a Hollywood starlet. But – much to Zack’s surprise – neither of those awkward conversations led to marriage with the A-list actress. Zack eventually consoled himself by imagining fiascoes far worse than those involving his celebrity crush. In the process, he dreamed up a motley gang of five men inspired by some of his college friends and quirky work colleagues. And thus was born “Sex in the Title.” But the novel is not autobiographical: Zack never had his third leg attacked by any mammal (nor by any plant, for that matter). In fact, keeping his member safe has been one of Zack’s lifelong goals – and one of the few that he’s managed to accomplish.
So, as you can see, everything is inspiration, because it’s all part of this crazy experience we call being alive. Hell, even this Q & A could inspire me. Actually, I just got a great idea for a novel by answering this question. But I’m going to ignore it for now so that I can get through the rest of this interview! 😉
Tell us about your writing process.
When I’m striving for maximum efficiency, I’ll write up about 80,000 words in a week, with absolutely no backup of my draft, and then — after going back to read the first 1,000 words — I’ll decide that it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read and casually hit the delete button, only to fall into a deep depression after informing the entire neighborhood that I had just authored the world’s greatest literary masterpiece but nobody would ever be able to read it because my dog accidentally ate my laptop. OK, we authors are not THAT crazy. But the very idea of sitting down for months in front of a computer to spit out a bunch of ideas in your head, in some form that you hope others will enjoy enough to buy and recommend to others, is insanely hopeful, to say the least. Do I have some magical process for coping with said madness? The only way that’s ever worked for me is just to dive right into whatever idea or character or fragment of dialogue has captured my imagination. I then start to explore countless permutations from that idea, to see where it leads. Eventually, if one of the story possibilities (experimented with in some rough, outline form) looks sufficiently intriguing, I’ll flesh out the outline and liven up the characters until they start speaking to me and to each other, and to my neighbors (if they knock on my door with complaints about too much loud chatter in my living room). Along the way, there will be endless pacing, some binge snacking, and multiple movies running through my head as I try to sort out what’s happening in the ever-changing, imagined world of the moment. But, beyond that, it’s hard to sum up the creative writing process because it’s a highly internal and quirky thing. You’d literally have to hang out in my brain while it’s happening. And since I’m hoping that TONS of people are reading this interview right now, it could get rather crowded in my cranium. So maybe you’ll have to develop your own process for imagining my process! And then I’ll have inadvertently turned you into an author, which means you’ll have no time to read my books because you’ll be too busy writing yours. So much for using this interview to promote my work. Sigh.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It depends if there’s anyone else nearby. If I’m all alone and the characters are speaking in French or Italian, there’s really nothing I’d rather do but listen to them, maybe while eating some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream along the way. But if I have company (like friends or relatives who happen to be at my place while I’m writing), I’ll break into loud tirades, inquisitive dialogues, and silly banter with my characters — all using wild gesticulations and a range of facial expressions that my visitors never knew existed. The looks on their faces are priceless — probably the best part of writing with people around.
What advice would you give other writers?
It may sometimes be tempting to imitate whatever is trending, but try to stay true to your own voice and ideas — doing so offers the best chance of writing something authentically interesting or original. And whatever your goals are, realize that writing can be a lifelong art that improves over time. So, it’s a process that you should ultimately enjoy.
Lastly, keep in mind that in today’s crowded, self-publishing market, promoting your work on social media is virtually a prerequisite to selling books, and that effort can potentially consume even more time than writing itself (which was the case during my first year in the indie publishing world). However, if you’re lucky (as I have been), then your time spent interacting with readers might connect you to some loyal fans/supporters who can make your writer’s life a lot easier in countless ways. Speaking of which, I want to give a shout out here to Anita Toss, who has been hugely helpful throughout my indie-author journey and who actually told me about this website/interview opportunity! Hopefully you too can find enthusiastic readers who will want to help you with your author adventures.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self-publishing involves one huge task (like writing the first draft of a novel) and then many micro-tasks/projects: editing, proofreading, and finalizing the draft; dealing with distributors (i.e., generating keywords, short book descriptions and more detailed plot summaries, sorting out royalty payment transfers, etc.); selecting cover art and managing cover design; setting a paperback interior layout/design; creating an author web site, etc. Oh, and then there’s marketing all of it in a ever growing sea of book options. So, it’s a TON of work. But, at least you have total control over each detail, including even the date of publication itself. Another big reason to self-publish (besides the far greater control you have as an author) is the royalties, which are much higher for self-published authors.
Wait, did you just say that you’re a traditional publisher who discovered me by reading this interview and now wants to offer me a six-figure advance if I agree not to self-publish my next work? Yes, I’ll take that deal! Just pinch me so that I know this isn’t yet another author-manufactured fantasy taking place in my head.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
In the end, there will be so many people publishing so many books, that my only loyal reader will be my mother. And I’ll have to convince her to read my book by first promising to post a review of HER book.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: romantic comedy, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, drama, war romance, magical realism.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.