Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Zoe LaPage, author of Shadow Cat. Zoe is now writing the prequel for it, set in Paris during the 1300s and the black plague. Needless to say, both books required a lot of research--Shadow Cat, the Egyptian cat goddesses and their mythology and now the prequel. Zoe told me, however, “I gradually collect books on the subject and build up my own library. There are some research sites online, but I’ve found them less helpful than reading the books. Sometimes basic kid books are very helpful. Plus, it’s another way for me to justify my book junkiness.” Then she added, “Researching the erotic parts? That’s another story.”
Zoe told me that her first love, when it comes to writing, was horror. She noticed, though, that even her horror stories tended to have a love interest. “It was about that time that I first heard about paranormal romance and the erotic versions of the same,” she said. “That’s when I really found my niche. I like to write creepy stuff, but sexy-creepy, not blood-and-guts creepy. I find that in writing the paranormal erotica, my words just flow. I often sit in cafes and write, and I wonder if people know why I’m smiling to myself as I pound away on my iBook.”
Zoe told me she tried to write Shadow Cat as a straight romance at first. It was actually her theses novel for her Masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. “It just wasn’t working so well,” she said. “I was advised to spice it up and that really made the difference in the energy of the novel.”
I asked Zoe to tell me about the most embarrassing sex scene she’d ever written. She told me that her characters are werecats—people who turn into full-sized panthers. “While Jules is giving Isabelle her first werecat lessons, they turn into cats and have sex in animal form. Cats have barbed appendages and that’s why they yowl when they mate. Ouch! I had to find a delicate way to handle that. It was weird.”
On a more personal note, despite this being the Whipped Cream website, Zoe doesn’t think that whipped cream is good for eating off another person’s tummy (or other body part). She thinks it’s too messy. On the other hand, chocolate-covered strawberries are ideal for any body part.
Zoe’s favorite food is Indian food, and this Friday she’s sharing one of her very favorites, Malai Kafta. Speaking of Indian foods, she said, “The different scents and tastes take me into another world. I could eat it every day.”
I asked Zoe if she minded sharing one of her strangest habits with me. “I like to hang upside down on the inversion table in my dungeon,” she said. “It stretches out my spine and makes me feel all renewed. I get good idea’s while I’m hanging like a bat, too.”
And, her most embarrassing moment is one that made me literally laugh out loud. Zoe is, as she calls it, “a corporate slave” during the day. “One day I was at corporate headquarters in Dallas,” she shared with me. “I was wearing a long skirt that day and got onto the escalator. Somehow, my skirt got caught in it and started pulling me down. My friend had the presence of mind to rip the skirt off of me. So I was standing there in corporate headquarters in black thong panties with a horrified look on my face, but it was still preferable to being eaten by an escalator. My friend (a guy, of course) thought it was a riot.”
Finally, I asked Zoe if she could get a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be? “You have to write a whole lot of bad books before you will be able to create one good one. I know a lot of writers get discouraged if their first book doesn’t get published, because it does take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to write a book. It generally takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to get a book published. That, and read widely outside of your genre.
You can read more about Zoe and her works at her website.