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Interview: Kellyann Zuzulo, Author of The Genie Ignites: Book One of the Zubis Chronicles

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A former journalist, Kellyann’s interest in Middle Eastern myth and legend stems from her stint as a Managing Editor of Publications for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C.She is a published author of several genie romance novellas. One book, Angels & Genies, was included in a collection for which Charlaine Harris wrote the foreword. Kellyann lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three children, and a jaunty terrier named Djin-Djin.

Her latest book is The Genie Ignites.

Readers can learn more about Ms. Zuzulo and her work by visiting the following links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Boroughs Publishing Group 

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Girl meets genie. They fall in love. Girl gets killed. Genie gets cursed. Three millennia later, she’s reincarnated as a smart, somewhat sardonic 21st century editor who can’t remember the great love of her existence. The genie, however, will never forget her. He’s hell-bent on reminding her of the love they once shared. She is Bethany O’Brien, and he is Zubis. And when her memories start sparking, there’s no holding her back from the genie she once loved. Meanwhile, a secret society seeks not only to kill him, but to get her to kill him. The odds are great, but the rewards are greater…an unending love so hot it sets fire to your soul.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

I knew I wanted the story of Zubis and Bethany to unfold as a series. According to legend and belief, genies were created from flame. There are many obstacles to the love between a genie and a human, so I wanted the evolution of their relationship reflected in the titles. Analogies between fire and their situation seemed a natural choice. Readers may find that the next book in the series is titled The Genie Flares or The Genie Smolders. I may even ask for some reader input. As far as the cover design, yes, I did have input on some of the elements. I’m really pleased with how Boroughs Publishing Group’s cover artist depicted Zubis and Bethany.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

This bit says everything about what Bethany and Zubis become to each other. Each is committed to the other. It’s a very Braveheart moment.

Her 21st-century self pushing to the surface, Bethany dashed to his side, which had expanded considerably. She had to crane her neck to look up at him. The opacity of his skin lightened to transparency.
“Don’t do it. Let’s just get out of here.”
That smile. Even though he looked like a hologram, that accursed and beloved captivating smile lit his features.
“So authoritative. So like the priestess.” He kissed the top of her head. When he straightened, amusement fled his face. “You’ll never be safe as long as he’s alive.”
“I’ll go with you.”
Zubis’s voice sounded like a hush in her ear. “Don’t tell me that you’ve grown fond of me.”
The scent of lemon and cedar filled the air. She bit back a hard knot that burned her throat. She attempted to sound cavalier. “I can’t speak for Lina, but Bethany thinks you’re pretty hot.”
His only response was the slightest bend of a smile on his lips that made him look at least 3,000 years younger. The way — she now realized — she was beginning to think she remembered him.
But the smile vanished. He shook his head with the smallest of movements. Splinters of blue light sparked along his torso and down his body.
He vanished.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I love appearing on blogs that are frequented by romance readers. I really enjoy the interchange of comments that is possible with a blog format and the chance to elaborate on some point or other in the story. I also like to promote my work on twitter. My twitter stream is used mostly to share tidbits and insights about writing and reading with my tweeps, many of whom have become real friends. They’re genuinely pleased for me when I have a new project on the table, and they’re always willing to retweet.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I’m up at 5 a.m. to get in as much writing as possible before my three children join the fray. Once they’re on the school bus, I typically take a four-mile walk on the canal for some plot deliberation and character development. I’ve developed some of my best ideas to the quacks of irritated mallards and huffy herons. Then it’s back to the computer for two more hours of writing. I usually spend two to three hours editing in the afternoons — either edits on my own writing or editing projects for clients. If I’m enrobed in a pivotal scene, the editing gets dismissed and I keep writing.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

I stare out the window, which I consider a passive form of meditation. I’m not really doing nothing…I’m meditating. A morning walk on the canal helps with relaxation. And I have my Pandora account on my laptop set to a Loreena McKennitt station. Those dulcet Celtic tones are my express train to Relaxationville.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

I think that second-career writers without MFA’s are grossly overlooked in today’s literary field. These are the writers and authors who may always have been writing but get serious about publishing as a second career. By day, it’s 401Ks and commutes, by night they write. Without the advantage of an MFA program — which ushers in fame for many writers through instructors who are already in the literary field — second-career writers are rudderless. Yet, among them are some of the hardest working and talented writers around.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

There are many authors that I admire and read avidly, but I can’t say that I’d like to meet them. I read them because I love the way they write and the stories they create. For me, reading their books is my way of meeting them. I don’t need a friendly hello and a handshake. And since I read 85 percent of my books on my Kindle, I wouldn’t be able to get them to sign my book anyway. Although…. There was that time I saw Ken Follett at the International Thriller Writers conference. I walked up to him and shook his hand and thanked him for his books. That was cool. Oh yeah, and Sandra Brown. I said hello, and she was quite kind and friendly. Maybe there is something to the personal meet-and-greet. For the record, if any readers want to come up to me and shake my hand, I will happily oblige.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

Yes! I’m very excited to be continuing Zubis’ and Bethany’s love story. I feel so close to these two, I sometimes get the sense that they’re living out a life on some parallel dimension without my input. So, I like to sit down with them and share what’s going on. They’ve been up to some exotic travel and high intrigue. The next book in the Zubis Chronicles series will be finished this year.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

There’s nobody who can keep a fire going like I can. I learned the art of fire building from my grandfather in Ireland, in our ancestral hearth with peat for fuel. No matter how damp the wood, I can ignite a flame and keep the fire stoked. It’s a gift…from my grandfather.

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