Before “Fifty Shades of Grey,” there was Zane.
We BGs know that she’s been penning steamy page-turners well before erotic literature became pop-culture approved.
For nearly 20 years, the trailblazing author has written over two dozen erotic novels, including her New York Times bestseller, “Addicted,” which was adapted for the big screen last fall.
Zane’s sexy stories have also been the basis for a couple of cable television series on Cinemax garnering praise from fans and critics alike.
In addition to her own book, TV and film projects, the D.C-based writer also publishes books for other authors.
I recently caught up with Zane to chat about the soon-to-be released “Addicted” DVD, her favorite book and of course what everyone wants to know—does her art imitate life?Check out the Q&A:
BGG: Being that Addicted was your film debut, were you surprised by its success?
Zane: I honestly expected it because the book had such a large fan base, globally. I was pleased that it went as well as it did. I did expect it to do well because I have high expectations for my stuff in general.
BGG: What can viewers expect from the Addicted DVD that they didn’t get at the theaters?
Zane: There’s an unrated version (for the Video OnDemand), additional sex scenes and some bonus features, as well.
BGG: Do you plan on turning any of your other books into big screen adaptations?
Zane: Yes, I am definitely planning on doing more. I always knew that “Addicted” would be my segue into film.
BGG: Why did you decide to have someone else write the script for Addicted?
Zane: I was originally asked if I wanted to do it. At the time I had a lot going on. They had various scriptwriters pitch to me over the phone and tell me how they envisioned the script going. While I didn’t necessarily write it, I was involved in selecting the scriptwriters and discussing where they should build, etc. Had I written it, it would’ve been like cutting up one of my babies. What ended up on screen I don’t think I could have done that without getting in my feelings. It would’ve involved me getting rid of so much and I would’ve been too caught up in the characters.
BGG: What was the biggest challenge you faced adapting the book into a movie?
Zane: The biggest and most obvious challenge was that “Addicted” was just shy of 95,000 words and a novel told from a first-person’s perspective, while a movie is a totally different vehicle. The entire book is told through that perspective: what she’s thinking, what she’s feeling, etc. Of course a motion picture is dialogue heavy, but the reason it’s called a motion picture is because a lot of it is acting. So having actors make something resonate by the way they look or move was important.
BGG: Do you prefer to be referred to as an erotic or romance author?
Zane: I am what I am. I never set out to be anything in particular. So whatever people want to call me, I’m fine. I don’t know what other people do, but I feel like I have a very different and unique writing style, as well as the authors I publish. The book I’m writing now, I’m about to scare myself (laughing)!
BGG: There seems to be an uptick in erotic literature. As a trailblazer, what do you think of the whole phenomenon?
Zane: I think that people are more open to it now. When I first came around, there were some out there, but they weren’t getting a lot of attention. When I first came out, booksellers were like, ‘I’m not carrying that on my shelves.’ But a couple of years later, a woman thanked me for keeping her lights on.
BGG: Books like yours helped pave the way for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” what do you think about all the attention it’s received?
Zane: I think it’s great marketing. She (author E. L. James) was able to be on all the top media outlets and have the right people helping to promote her. I’m not mad at her. I’m happy for her.
BGG: I’m sure “Addicted” has a special place in your heart, would you say it’s your favorite book you’ve written?
Zane: All of my books have a special meaning to me. I wouldn’t let them go out into the public unless I felt like I’d accomplished what I set out to accomplish. Generally, but not always, my favorite book is the one that I’m currently writing at that moment. I get really caught up in my stories. That being said, right now I’m finishing up “Vengeance, which is the next book in the “Addicted” series. So, right now I’m excited and living and breathing those characters. I always try to outdo myself. In my mind, every book that I put out is better than all my other books I’ve put out; at least that’s my goal. I’m always trying to constantly evolve and grow as a writer. Of course, I’ve matured quite a bit since then so it’s a different voice, but I’m still the same person. Now it’s just a more mature and seasoned one.
BGG: Do you think you’ll ever explore any other genres outside of erotica?
Zane: I already have, but most people just don’t know it. I did “Breaking the Cycle,” which was about domestic abuse and it won an NAACP Image award. I do plan to write another genre and do it in a really specific way so that people will say, ‘now that’s definitely not erotica!’ I also plan on doing young adult novels too.
BGG: Are some of the scenarios and scenes from your books real? Have you lived out some of them?
Zane: Some of it is, most of it is, and some of the wild stuff is, but I never tell people what those things are (laughing)!
Are you a fan of Zane erotic novels? If so, what’s your favorite? Also, did you see “Addicted,” when it was in theaters?