Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meet Zen Di Pietro, SCi/Fantasy Romance, Seeking Sorrow

Posted by Susan B James on 3:30:00 AM with 5 comments
According to her bio, Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, a fantasy/sci-fi writer, a dancer, and a mom of two. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. Particular loves include badass heroines, Star Trek, British accents, baba ganoush, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at www.womenofbadassery.com.
Intrigued, I asked Zen to elaborate.
I have eclectic taste and an odd sense of humor. My face frequently does not accurately portray what’s going on in my head. I like to try new things but hate crowds. I’m phobic about man feet. When I was a kid, I’d eat the middles out of the Oreos, stick the cookie parts back together, and then put it back into the package. I have a fondness for being random. See. Wasn't that worth adding? Man feet,, huh? I always thought toes proved we were aliens.

Zen's debut book is Seeking Sorrow. 
Blurb:An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth, it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.
 The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about mana, even as they learn to trust one another’s abilities. They must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same.
Even success comes at a price.
 Seeking Sorrow is Book One in her Guardians of Terath series. Here's an excerpt:
Being an avid admirer of art, albeit a total failure at creating it, Will was pleased to spend his morning perusing the offerings. Examining the artwork in the gallery hall relieved his mind momentarily of the burdens he carried. He was admiring a particularly intriguing sculpture of a nude male holding a ladder when the back of his neck prickled. He sensed someone standing directly behind him, and he immediately felt uncomfortable and alert. He focused on the sculpture and sidestepped around the display, under the guise of examining the art from another perspective. He adjusted his stance to allow him to see the newcomer in his peripheral vision.
Fine, light blue hair grazed the woman’s jawline in a blunt bob. The unusual shade was surprisingly well-suited to her whiskey-colored eyes and lightly tanned complexion. She was a good bit shorter than he was, and in her mid-twenties, he estimated. She wore a long, casual dress that did not shy away from the curves underneath. His appraisal skidded to a stop when he noticed her wide mouth curving into an even wider smile. Like his own, her gaze remained on the artwork, but she nonetheless had realized that he was studying her. And she apparently found it amusing.
He straightened and began to move toward another art display.
“You don’t like it?” the woman questioned.
He really didn’t want to talk to her, but didn’t want to be rude. Will re-oriented himself back toward her and the art. “I do. The lines are fluid but convey a great deal of energy. I have to wonder about his plan for the ladder.
Her enthusiastic nod sent her hair swinging gently. “Yes, energy. Male energy. This piece has definite appeal for anyone who enjoys nudes of men, as you do.”
He nodded politely; then froze when he considered the potential subtext of her words. He didn’t care for the familiarity she’d assumed.
He looked straight into her eyes for the first time, and her smile grew wide again. As he struggled for a proper response, she chuckled.
“Never mind. It’s nice to meet you, Will Azrith. I’m Izzy Gin, your reader for this adventure.”
Zen, this is so intriguing. Can you tell us a bit more about the book.
There are several forces at work in Seeking Sorrow. There’s so much dystopia out there right now, I wanted to go the other direction. If humans live on a planet that has very little in the way or environmental stressors, that changes the structure of their society. The values system changes, as do their expectations of the world around them. Add in a natural resource that looks a lot like magic, and you have a lot of potential to tell unique stories.
My books are very character driven, so the environmental factors act as an opportunity for them to grow, change, and deal with what comes our way. Because what’s better than heroes that handle the unexpected with determination and skill? That’s what it’s all about for me. Struggle, growth, love, friendship, and lots of badassery.

What did you do before you became a writer?
My 9-5 background is split between being a librarian (with my undergraduate degree) and doing medical research (with my advanced degree). I did both in about equal measure. As a librarian, I loved seeing certain regular patrons who shared my love of books and helping people find new reads or do research. Being a medical researcher and seeing patients satisfied my analytical/scientific side.

What made you decide to become a writer? 
Like most authors, I've always had a thing for books and for writing. My first original work was in first grade. It was an incomprehensible story about two bunnies. In high school, I ghost wrote a few non-graded homework bits for my best friend, while she walked me through trigonometry special projects.
But as far as becoming a published author, the characters of Seeking Sorrow got into my head and I had a visceral need to flesh them out and get them onto paper. So as far as becoming a published author goes, I'd say Izzy, Arc, Kassimeigh, Will, the shiv, and Luc made me do it. Pointing my finger with all due accusation.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.
I was at my son’s swim lesson. I checked my email on my phone and bam. Contract offer. Sometimes things hit at the oddest times. Especially when you have a smartphone.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
I write sci-fi/fantasy, so I have a lot to choose from. Devi Morris from Rachel Bach’s Paradox series, Jane Holloway from Jennifer Foehner Wells’ Fluency, Breq from Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, Del from Jennifer Robison’s Tiger and Del series. There are lots more, too. I love heroines that kick butt and don’t let anyone tell them what to do. 
Do you have a favorite badass TV or Movie Heroine?
In movies, my favorite is probably Leeloo fom The Fifth Element. She's a supreme being, protects the hero, and yet manages to be sympathetic and vulnerable in her own way. On tv, I'd have to say Kira Nerys from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She's hard-headed, battle-tough, and flawed, but her heart is as big as the universe and she's not afraid to love. Both of those women have all the characteristics that make me love them and keep rooting for them. They represent the very type of heroine that I aspire to write.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
Writing a great scene. One that I’ve had in my head for a long time. When I come to one of those, my heart pounds the whole time I’m writing. When I’m done, I dance around the house and go, “Woohoo!”

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
I’m also a dancer. Both are creative pursuits but one is all movement while the other is stationary. They both require a great deal of mental effort, though.

What’s your snack of choice while writing?
Anything I can reheat or grab quickly. No time for elaborate prep when I am getting a story out. Actually, I tend to lose weight when I’m in the thick of writing something. Oh, how I wish I could say that!

 Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Just keep at it. Whether it’s choreography or writing or cooking or anything else, you have to make a lot of bad things before you can make good things. Don’t feel bad about the early attempts that aren’t what you intended. Just keep improving.

What’s your current WIP?
Right now, I’m working on book 3 of the series. It doesn’t have a title yet. Book 2 is called Facing Fortune, and is scheduled to release in September 2015.

And finally, where can we find you?
Twitter: @ZenDiPietro

Thank you for being here, Zen. I love the concept for your books. If you are a fellow writer, please welcome Zen to the community by liking her Facebook page.
Zen is offering a PDF of  Seeking Sorrow to one lucky reader. Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Interesting post, always fun to read about a new scifi author. Best wishes! (And Leeloo IS an amazing heroine, I agree - she doesn't get enough credit.)

  2. Entertaining post! Best of luck with sales, Zen :)

  3. Thanks for the comments! And thanks to Susan for hosting me. (Veronica Scott, I totally agree about Leeloo!)

  4. Great post, Zen! Looking forward to reading this. :D


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