Diane Dooley is a fellow Carina Press author, dear writer friend, and author of one of my favorite Sci Fi Romance novellas, Mako’s Bounty. She’s changed gears for her upcoming release, Zipless, a contemporary romance throwing a former glam rocker and a Scottish singer-songwriter with severe stage fright, into a high stakes situation on the NYC music scene.
Rocking, rolling and romancing in New York City — Scottish style!
Unable to perform due to paralyzing anxiety, singer-songwriter Lou Marzaroli has been managing her brother’s band for years, driving them out of Scotland and into the big time. But days before their American network debut, the band is imploding and Lou is relieving her stress in a no-strings-attached sexual encounter with an aging scenester she’s nicknamed Zippy.
The Zipman is sometimes remembered as Crash Burns, formerly of seminal L.A. glampunk band, Snakebite. It’s been years since he’d trashed the eyeliner and hairspray, and he hasn’t written a song since. Now he’s penning lyrics about the mysterious woman he last saw sprinting barefoot in a miniskirt down West Twenty Third. She’s the muse he’s been longing for, and he’s determined to be more than her one night stand.
When the head honchos learn Lou wrote the band’s material, they agree to give her the TV spot, sending her to be coached by their performance guru, Crash Burns. Now Lou must put herself in Zippy’s hands as he coaxes a life-changing performance from her. And the man who used to perform in nothing but a leather thong must find ways to get her confident on stage- and content in only one bed.
Diane, your stories feature strong leads who often have very different ideas of what’s going to happen between them. How do the first couple of meetings between Lou Marzaroli and Crash Burns go?
Those first meetings are a mixture of laughter, mistaken identities, inspiration, and anonymous sex. A delightful combination, don’t you think? LOL.
All delightful, especially in combination. You’ve said that Polly Jean Harvey was one of the inspirations for Lou (which is reason enough for everyone to go buy this story, IMHO). What else inspired the characters and rock & roll setting?
Three things inspired the story.
1) More guitar-playing, singing-songwriting awesome females than I could possibly mention. I spotlight a few of them here. Yeah, I’m a music geek.
2) I wanted to see Scottish characters in a romance story who weren’t wearing kilts while running bare-chested around the Highlands. If my Lou was to wear tartan, it would probably be a micro-mini-skirt held together with safety pins. She does, um, go bare-chested a couple of times, though. *grin*
3) Scotland is a crazily musical nation. When I was much younger it seemed like almost everyone I knew played an instrument and/or sang and/or was in a band. Few of them made the big time, but I channeled all those experiences hanging with talented and hilarious musicians into ZIPLESS.
As a fantasy and sci fi author myself, I sometimes struggle writing contemporary stories. No monsters! No looming, world-ending disasters! What do you like, and what challenges you when writing contemporary?
I do love disappearing into worlds of my own imagining, but I’m also rather attached to the real world I live in. Contemporary romance is rather harder than speculative fiction, in my opinion. Due to the lack of “monsters” and “world-ending disasters,” where is one to find the necessary conflict?
Perhaps that’s what I like about it: the challenge. In my contemporary romances I often turn to a very modern source of conflict for women: how to meld career ambitions with a desire to fall in love and live happily ever after. It’s become rather common for people to assume that women can have it all, but it seems to me that “having it all” takes a certain amount of luck and a metric ton of hard work. If that ain’t conflict, I don’t know what is.
It’s excellent conflict. Difficult, relatable, and also so full of optimism. So, since you also write horror, I’m going to ask you a couple horrible questions. (As in horror-ble, not just crappy questions)
What’s the most frightening thing you’ve ever encountered in your own home (since you have man-cubs, I figure it’s something truly heinous)?
The most frightening things have involved, surprisingly, critters rather than my man-cubs. One day I came home from work to find the tank that houses the feeder crickets (I have a gecko) being overrun by hundreds of large, aggressive black ants. They had conducted a murderous raid on the helpless crickets. I watched in fascination as they ripped the crickets, live, into smaller pieces before carrying them back to their hungry queen and young ’uns. A nature documentary right in front of my eyes. Watching the massacre was amazing. I suppose I should have stopped it.
On another occasion I was writing late at night in my office. From a couple of feet behind me came a scratching noise, emanating from the bookcase. I watched, frozen with fear, as the noise grew gradually louder as it moved higher. Suddenly, a hideous face appeared above the top, snarled at me, then flew away. A bat! And, boy, was it ugly. It terrorized me for the rest of the evening, while I huddled in my office brandishing a fishing net and a tennis racket. I might have been too afeared to go to the bathroom. Okay, I was too afeared!
(Interviewer Interjection: HOLY CARP)
How does the world end?
A) Sharkado, suckahs
B) The old classic: zombie apocalypse
C) Meteor that even Bruce Willis and his big, hard, totally-not-penis-metaphor space drill cannot stop
D) Write In Answer:
Hmm, I did write a version of C) in My Own Private Apocalypse. Oh, and B) in Zombies of Portland. But D) I really think the world will end slowly, not with some huge catastrophic event. As the polar caps melt, the sea levels rise, increasing incidences of killer weather, more widespread famine, continued over-population, etcetera. Yes, I think the world will end slowly… and that it has already begun. Cheerful, ain’t I? *grin*
Clearly we need more Happily Ever Afters to inoculate us against your “cheer”. J
And so, we’ve reached the end of the interview. Before we leave, what can you share about upcoming stories or works in progress?
I’m working on a companion story to ZIPLESS. It’s about a female country singer who is neither Caucasian nor Southern. Uphill battle right there! And that’s even before the love story which is as tragic and pain-filled as the very best country songs. Tentatively titled FRETLESS.
I’m about to get stuck into edits on BLUE YONDER, set in Athens, Greece on the eve of that long, slow apocalypse I mentioned earlier.
I’m also continuing as Fiction Editor of SciFi Romance Quarterly, in which I’m able to combine my love of short fiction and Sci-fi Romance. (Interviewer interjection: The SciFi Romance Quarterly will make your tbr list go Boom, in a good way. Highly recommended)
Thanks for having me over, Regan! I’d love to be able to give an e-copy of ZIPLESS to one of your readers. To enter, just tell me who your favorite female musician is. I will select a random winner.
(Per the author, this giveaway is open internationally. The book will be in epub format. Please note that Zipless is a work for adults, and contains sexual situations, swearing, the consumption of alcohol, and references to drugs.)
About The Author: Born in the Channel Islands, raised in Scotland, and now resident in the U.S., Diane Dooley is an author, an editor, a voracious reader, and a geek of intergalactic proportions. You can follow her shenanigans on her Blog, Twitter or Facebook.