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Saturday, 23 February 2008
Getting to Know Zahra Owens
Topic: Author Interview
Zahra Owens the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Open-minded, eccentric, free-spirited

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Unfathomable, kind (hopefully), imaginative

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

I can't stand injustice. I'm usually fairly soft-spoken, prefer to blend into the background, rather than stand out, but when some small or larger injustice is done to me or someone around me, I'll stand up and fight, even if it's for a stranger.

I often wish I had time to go into politics, but then I'm probably too much of an idealist for that.

Other than that, I'm a movie buff and if I had more money, I would certainly spend it on travel.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Nope, sorry.  Even plants die in my house, so...I'm not risking it.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

Meeting someone I admire very much.

It was a fairly impersonal meeting and by no means private, but he, being the kind and generous person that he is, made it special for me in a very personal way. He signed his book for me and with a few words made me feel that he appreciated me being there. I was amazed at how much was said in that short conversation - we each exchanged only a few sentences - but he made me feel like for those few minutes, he was there only for me.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

That's a tough question, because I don't feel embarrassed easily. Either that or I have very selective memory!

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Haha, I'm actually doing something else with my life, apart from being a writer, although I'd love to be able to write for a living! Sadly I need to work fulltime to stay alive. I have changed careers though and I may change again. I'm not the type to sit still, so what may work for me today, will seem boring or unappealing to me tomorrow.

If I'd have to choose, I'd say, my dream has always been to be a movie director, but I seriously doubt that will ever happen.

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Zahra Owens, a bestselling romance novelist, died on Saturday in her East Sussex cottage where she did most of her writing. The 97-year old author  had moved there from her native Belgium after her first novel reached the top of the New York Times Bestseller list more than 55 years earlier, allowing her to become a full time writer.

Although not a native English speaker, Ms. Owens was at the forefront of a group of female romance writers who collectively swayed  public opinion, ultimately carving the way for worldwide acceptance of same-sex marriage and who, through the subject matter of their books, almost completely eradicated homophobia and gender bias.

She is survived by many generations of loyal fans and will be cremated after a non-denominational ceremony at Brighton beach.  Her remains will be scattered in space by the next passenger ship to the moon colony.

(I'm sorry, it's 3 paragraphs. I'm not known for writing short stories)

Zahra Owens the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

When I finished my first novel length story and couldn't wait to start a new one.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm still slaving away behind my keyboard and both trying to finish the three or so stories I have going through my mind and trying to rework some of my already finished ones into a novel to offer for publication.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I'd love to publish more, but I'd also like to stretch my writing muscle a bit and venture out into undiscovered terrain, by changing the genre I write in.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I don't have one really. There are days when I can't get a letter on paper and days when I write 2 or 3000 words in one sitting.  I try to write every day, but I also need to work for a living and I'm easily distracted.

13.  Why do you write?

To get the stories out of my head. It's a compulsion almost. When there are outside reasons why I can't write, because I don't have the time or because work is very stressed out, that's when I feel that compulsion most.

It's also escapism of course!

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I'm not going to name names, because it really depends on my mood.

I love writers who can take me on an adventure and make me feel like I'm there with the characters.  I also like writers who challenge my way of thinking, who make me see a different side of the story.

I don't appreciate writers solely for their literary value. Because I was never schooled in English, I never read ‘The Great Works of Literature', so my response to novels and books is usually purely emotional.

15.  How do you define your writing?

From the heart. And it doesn't always follow ‘the rules'.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She opened my eyes to a different way of thinking.

Zahra Owens the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Website :


18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Yes, they can comment in my blog or email me at

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

I only have one novel available so far: Diplomacy from Dreamspinner Press, but there are two short stories of mine available as E-books at their site as well.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I write homo-erotic romance stories with often flawed male characters who don't follow the rules.  They are rarely alpha males, but never cliché sissies, in short, they're the type of man you could easily meet in real life. Most of my work is contemporary, but my next novel may well be a mix of contemporary and historical romance and somewhere in my future is at least one sci-fi story.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Talking about yourself is hard, because it means you need to analyze your work and I really try not to do that too much. What I write comes from my heart and my stomach, more than from my head and should be read that way too.

When you read (any books, not just mine) you should open yourself up to the stories that are told and take the characters into your heart, where you can give them a warm, safe place to live. That's where my characters come from, from my heart. They've lived there and I nurtured them and let them grow and now they're on the page waiting for another heart to accept them and keep them alive.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 23 February 2008 1:17 AM EST
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