An Interview with Zen DiPietro


Recently, I’ve reviewed Translucid and Fragments, by Zen DiPietro. I asked her for a brief interview, and she was kind enough to acquiesce to my request…

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The first time I said it was when I was a kid–just a few years old. I developed an early and rabid love for books. But when I was old enough to understand how getting paid works for authors, I decided to go with a college major that involved a regular paycheck.

I enjoyed writing over the years, but stopped when I had kids. Eventually the ideas knocking around in my head got too big and really needed to come out. Eventually, I told my husband, “I’m going to write a book.” And that man didn’t even bat an eye. He ordered me a laptop and off we went. I became a full-time writer and five books later, we’re still all-in.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My heart pounds when I write the big action scenes. I really buy into it, and feel what my characters feel. That probably comes from my experience as a role-playing gamer.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read and binge-watch sci-fi. I play with my cats, play games with the kids, and work out whenever possible. I also like making things—sewing, 3D printing, graphic design, whatever. There never seems to be enough time in the day.

In one sentence, tell us all about the Dragonfire Station series.
Wow, one sentence! Okay. I won’t even cheat with a major run-on with multiple clauses.

Dragonfire Station is The Bourne Identity meets Firefly and Star Trek.

Yeah. That doesn’t seem to say a lot, but when you think about those elements, it really does.

What inspired you to write the series?
I love the excitement and mystery of a thriller, and the limitless possibilities of the universe. It made perfect sense to me to put them together. I write the stories I want to read, and there’s nothing I love more than a page-turner filled with characters who feel like people I know and care about.

How long does it take you to write a book?
A first draft takes about two months. Then I put it aside for a while and work on something else. When I come back to it to revise, I’ve gotten some perspective. I keep putting it away and coming back to it until it goes to the editor. All told, it takes about six months, but it’s not the only thing I’m working on during that time.

What did you learn about writing and publishing between Translucid and Fragments?
Well, writing my first series was a huge learning process, and I’ve had the benefit of those lessons in writing the Dragonfire Station series. But I actually wrote Translucid and Fragments simultaneously. I wrote the first book, then went straight into the second. From there, I toggled back and forth between them when doing revisions and edits. It was a huge undertaking

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do! So far, I’ve only heard nice things. They ask when the next book is coming out, or tell me things they particularly enjoyed about the book they just read. Writing is a very solitary activity, so it’s really great when readers take the time to connect with me.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Translucid? What about Fragments?
Nope. Not so far, anyway. I do a lot of revisions and keep putting a manuscript away so that I can hopefully avoid regrets. Fingers crossed!

Tell us about future writing projects.
I’m writing Coalescence, which is Book 3 of the Dragonfire series, and the end of this trilogy. I’m also working on a book of short stories in the series.

I have the barest beginning to an AI novel written and I’m looking forward to getting back to that at some point. I also have a clone thriller planned. And I’d love to write a second Dragonfire trilogy.

There’s a lot on the horizon!

Tell us about the Women of Badassery.
It’s a website all about the love of books, and interesting, proactive characters—both men and women, though my review books usually have a female protagonist. That’s because I couldn’t find another resource that specifically featured books of that type and I decided to create that resource myself.

Interviews run the gamut of science fiction and fantasy subgenres and demographics. I also post what I’ve recently added to my to-be-read list (or TBR), which also runs a wide range. You can even find articles on writer tradecraft or the business of publishing.

W.o.B. is basically a fanzine for books, authors, and geeky sci-fi/fantasy stuff. I’m always on the lookout for topics to explore and information to share. Most of all, I love connecting authors and readers. There’s nothing in the world like reading a book that really entertains and inspires you. If I can connect the right person with the right book, then I consider that a big win.

Thanks, Zen! Be sure to check out my reviews of Translucid and Fragments for book links, and head over to Women of Badassery to check out more happenings and musings by Zen DiPietro.

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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