Interview with Zi Trace
This interview is designed for your hero or heroine to tell readers about himself or herself. Answer the questions as if the character were talking.
Tell us about yourself, please.
Hello. My name is Zi Trace, and I own and manage White Peony Lingerie and Sensual Pleasures, and I have two sisters, Lux and Blue. Our names are a long story, if you’re wondering, but suffice it to say, our mother was, um, creative.
I’ve been divorced for two years, and, honestly, I’m just not up for dating. I’ve tried…well, I’ve surfed a few dating websites at the behest of Lux (she may have threatened to tie me down to the couch and make me if I didn’t do it of my own volition, but I’m just not in the mood. It’s not that I don’t like men—or sex, for that matter—but I’m done, honestly. My husband, er, my ex, I mean, did me in. And now I’m not sure I can go through all of that again.
Authors call what you want but cannot have "the conflict" -- what is yours?
I try to share who I am…with everyone. But it’s…complicated. I didn’t grow up like other people, and now, when things start to go sideways, I struggle with the part of me that people will judge, you know? And even when I want to trust someone, when I want to give them the benefit of my trust…I can’t quite let go of the fear that they are going to let me down.
What can you not do (but need to do) during this story?
Oy, that’s a long list—do we have more than one page for this interview? :) Let’s see, I struggle letting go of my anger at Lux, I’m trying hard to understand Blue, but she baffles me. What else…? I demand too much from Kai Isaac when he tries to be there, and when I can’t stop my emotions from overwhelming me, I risk everything. And to be honest…sometimes being alone is easier, you know? You don’t have to clean up after others or worry that someone doesn’t have your back. But I hate that I feel that way…and I want to stop feeling so alone when I don’t have to be. I’m not sure how to get that trust back though.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
That I’ll end up alone. And that I’m not as desirable as I try to believe I am. I’ve done a lot of self work over the last few years, and I’m over a lot of the BS society tells us is required for beauty. But I’m still nervous. I’ve lost weight, and the loose skin that comes with that…it’s never quite the same, is it? I’ve got big hips, I’m very tall—nearly six foot—and that leaves me feeling a bit like a giant around my sisters. So when you spend all day helping women believe that they are gorgeous and sexy, you want someone to do the same for you.
And Kai…yeah. He does that. But he’s…I hate to say it’s complicated again, but it is! He’s everything I’ve looked for, but he’s involved in a career that doesn’t resonate with what I believe. I’ll just leave it at that.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
Oy. Um, wow. So, Kai Isaac. He’s a filmmaker, and we meet when Lux cons me into showing up at a filming for an advertising video. I had no idea what was going to happen, and let’s just say…my issue with dating? Yeah. Kai blew that right out of the water.
He’s over 6’6”, with a fantastic body, and these mesmerizing gold/green eyes that change based on his mood and thoughts. I…yeah, enough about that. He’s patient, kind, open, and always there. He’s as passionate about his career as I am about mine, and if he has a flaw—and really, who doesn’t?—it’s that he has to think through emotional decisions. He’ll never just answer. And usually, I love that about him. He doesn’t make foolish choices based on the moment…but some days…I don’t handle that very well. That probably says a lot more about me than it does him, doesn’t it? :sigh:
Oh God, the man can cook, too! He’s amazing in the kitchen…and the bedroom. ;)
What would that person say about you?
Kai would insist that I’m hot, incredible at everything I do, and that I’m damned close to perfect. (Don’t tell him otherwise! ;) )
What is your family like?
My older sister Lux is a former Dominatrix, now online dating maven in the process of expanding her empire. If there’s a BDSM lover in need of a mate(s), she’s got you covered. And dear God, you should see her boyfriend. Red hair, built, horse trainer/underwear model with a thick Scottish accent? Even I did a double-take when I met Fin MacKenzie.
Blue—she’s the youngest—is the wild child. Hard to believe given Lux’s intro, eh? Blue had it the hardest growing up, and I’m not sure why. She was adorable—tiny with carroty ringlets and a teeny body—she looked like a doll.
But she was always treated differently by those who took care of us, and when it was just Lux and I raising her (practically), I don’t think we were enough. Not when we were just kids ourselves.
She’s lovely—long red hair, petite, with a streak of fire that never quits. Well, not usually. But something broke in Blue a long time ago, and I’m not sure anyone can fix it. I’m here for her—I love her dearly. But until she figures out the demons that drive her, she’ll always have those shadows behind her eyes.
What special skills do you rely on?
I can usually talk to anyone. That’s helped me in business. Of course, that’s all useless when Kai shows up and turns me into a blushing sixteen-year-old. That man…
If someone from your past showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?
My mother. She formed our childhoods with mental illness and neglect, and if there’s one person I struggle with categorizing in my life, it’s a mother who was as sick herself as she made my little sister. I try to forgive and move on, to love who she tried to be in spite of her actions, but when I see Blue’s brokenness and Lux’s bitterness, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Still…I try. That counts, right?
Why are you happy (or not happy) with the way your story ended?
No cheating! You have to read to find out…but this is a romance, right? :)
About the Writer
When you do something effortlessly and people commend you continuously, you have found your gift.
That's what I tell people all the time. And it's true.
I get story. I always have. I started writing when I was eight on a Smith Corona (the electronic kind -- I'm not THAT old). I wrote stories in every spiral notebook I had. Eventually, I graduated to a Mac (yes, I'm one of THOSE people). I imagined new worlds, emotional conflicts, and HEAs while I waited at stoplights or wandered the grocery store. But here's the thing: I didn't just dream it up and write it down -- I critiqued what I read. I knew when ideas were good, and when they stunk. I ran writing groups, judged creative contests, and eventually got two graduate degrees in writing. That's right: I love it that much.
So here I am, years later, writing kickass heroines and devastating good guys, along with some mystery and vampires thrown in (I promise: THEY'RE COMING). And what's really cool? I do what I love. Wanna write a success story for your life: I promise you, that's it. Do what you love. And hopefully, you can make a living at it too. That's the golden ticket, Charlie.
And chocolate doesn't hurt, either...
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
The Without a Trace series started as a co-writing deal that fell through. So when I wrote the second book, I was still fleshing out the ideas that were never fully my own—I’d been responsible to another author to make sure the ideas were shared.
Zi’s book, Without a Trace (the sister’s last names are all “Trace”), was my first real foray into what I wanted my romance series to entail. So in that sense, it was a freeing feeling to be able to write whatever I wanted! But I also knew I wanted this story to have impact for those who have experienced abusive childhoods. Part of the reason Lux from Inside the Lines fell out of touch with Zi and Blue is due to the issues in their family. Sometimes, we try to simplify those things so we don’t have to get into the gritty details, but I didn’t want to be dishonest.
Many of us have dealt with painful backgrounds, and I wanted their story to reflect what is possible when you are able to still believe you are worthy, and still believe that love is possible, even when we’re all a bit broken. I hope I was able to do that.
Why did you choose this character for the interview today?
Zi Trace is a force to be reckoned with, especially because she never gives up. She fights for what she wants, even though she’s the most nurturing of the three. Zi keeps going. She’s also a real woman with the realities of weight loss on the body, the pain of a failed relationship and pregnancy, and the stains left behind by decisions she never had a choice in. She’s the one everything happened “around,” but rarely to. And she was the caretaker of Blue when Lux left, which has its own challenges.
I debated writing Kai’s point of view, but really…he’s so besotted with Zi, what else can he say? ;)
When writing the book, what did you discover about this character that surprised you?
How strong we are when the cards are down. Zi risks everything to save herself yet again, and when she’s wrong, she owns it. That’s one of the reasons I loved writing her—she embraces her truth, even when it’s not comfortable.
She’s also a bit more of a prude than she realized, so when Kai wants to try some, um, more open-minded sexual experiences, she’s surprised by her reaction. I daresay many of us feel that way! And it was fun to see a lingerie store owner—who has a backroom full of sexual toys for women—explore her own prejudices and discover the broader nuances of her sexuality.
Are any sequels planned for this book?
Oh, this is book three! There’s a fourth book that will be released in October, and that will finish the Trace sisters’ stories—Blue’s book. But there’s a book for Noah Storm that I”m working on (for those who are already fans—yes, Noah’s book is coming, I promise), plus I have a spin-off idea I’m working on utilizing some of the characters we’ve already met. So there’s much more to come in this romance world!
What genre(s) would you like to write that you haven't tried yet?
I’m working on a paranormal romance as well, and I love mysteries. I have an idea for a romantic suspense novel as well, so…
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
1. I never ever thought I’d write romance. My background is in literary writing, and I’ve worked in the publishing field and edited literary works for years now. But when an opportunity arose to write steamy romance, I couldn’t resist the challenge. And I’ve had a blast.
2. I’ll write pretty much anywhere, but many know I’m also a professional editor and author coach. I stand 90% of the day at a standing desk! I even have a small “elliptical” machine that fits underneath, and I pull that out when I’m in conferences or meetings and get in my workout! :D
Why should readers who haven't picked up one of your books before give this one a try?
Oo, good question! Let’s see.
1. I am passionate about art, exploring our world and helping us find solutions, comfort, and/or challenges to help us live bolder and with more love and acceptance of others. I’m not shy about tackling tough subjects.
2. You get to meet Lux and Fin, Ella and Ian, Noah and Tag (he’s a rescued pit bull with a heart of gold), and learn a bit more about Blue who, while troubled, will surprise you when this saga is done.
3. Who doesn’t love a sexy read?! I work hard to make sure my sex scenes are unique, plot-focused, and tasteful. They might be a little kinky (or a lot!), but they are always done with respect to the characters’ agency. There’s nothing wrong with a little D/s play, as long as everyone wants it, amiright? ;D
Plus, the prequel Crossing the Lines is free right now. So if you aren’t sure, start with that one and see if enjoy my style.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
Thank YOU for loving my books. Without your feedback, I wouldn’t be brainstorming even more ideas and stories for these characters. I’m honored that you took a chance on a new author, and I hope I continue to give you a reason to keep coming back for more. <3 YOU ROCK!
About the Book
Title Tracing the Line
Genre Erotic romance
Author Ally Bishop
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
They say love doesn’t hurt.
But it’s a lie. I promise you, love someone long enough, and they’ll destroy your soul.
I’ve spent my life taking care of everyone else: my family, my ex-husband, my friends. Deep down, I know I should focus on myself, but how can I when I’ve got one sister about to implode while the other battles her own guilt?
The minute I met Kai Isaac, I should’ve run in the opposite direction. His business isn’t one I want any part of, and I’ve got way too much drama in my life already.
But his kiss...those eyes...the raging inferno he creates when he touches me...I can’t stay away. Life’s reeling out of control, and he’s my only refuge from the storm.
My sister Lux says trusting someone means not knowing everything about them and being okay with it...but what if not knowing the truth ruins everything?
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Amazon Author Page http://bit.ly/aabishop