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Transcript of Interview

Lori: Welcome and thank you for doing this interview!

L.Z.: Thanks, Lori, for reading my novels! I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with your blog readers!

Lori: What is your favorite part about writing?

L.Z.: The whole process is enjoyable—from outlining the story arc to fussing with words and syntax during drafts. I’ll admit it—I’m a word nerd! My son says, “Mom’s in the zone; don’t bug her!” As with reading, my mind escapes to other worlds and that’s always fun. Another bonus is that my husband and I have the most interesting dinner conversations. Sometimes I wonder what people must think when they’re sitting next to us in a restaurant and Hubby asks, “What weapons did you use to kill her?”

Lori: What is the hardest part about being a writer?

L.Z.: The not writing—especially when I’m in the middle of a draft! I’m a full-time high school teacher, so the bulk of my writing is done in the evening and during weekends.

Lori: How much research do you do for your novels?

L.Z.: I love this question! I probably research more than necessary. It seems the more I delve into a topic, the more ideas I get! For the first 2 novels in the Merkabah series I spent a good month researching history, religions, chakras, myths, and current scientific theories. (I even had my aura read.) During final edits, I was getting so many questions from my beta readers, I decided to include a “what’s real” in the back of each novel.

Lori: I love your tagline: “Fiction flirts with fact…very novelicious!” What came first, the tagline or The Merkabah Recruit?

L.Z.: Thank you! I fiddled with taglines one day during my lunch break at school after the first novel and after returning from a Writers Conference. I ran several taglines by all my friends and students. It was a unanimous decision!

Lori: When doing research for the novel, is there anything in particular that surprised you?

L.Z.: Reading the Book of Jubilees and Book of Enoch was fascinating. There are so many ancient texts that are discounted for various reasons it makes you wonder…

Lori: What is your inspiration behind The Merkabah Series?

L.Z.: Let’s see if I can make this answer short and sweet! I had: 1) just finished an adventure novel; 2) created a mythological creature assignment for my students, 3) perused Hubby’s latest Scientific American magazines; and 4) read an article on ancient healing methods. I think all that information collided in my head one day and BAM! (That’s how I usually get ideas.)

Lori: What is your favorite scene in The Merkabah Series?

L.Z.: Oooohhh! That’s a difficult choice! I can’t pick just one. In The Merkabah Recruit my favorite scenes are confrontations with the cryptivita. And there’s a scene where Daphne’s sisters tease her about…well…that night. I loved writing the catacomb scene in The Merkabah Deception—creepy, suspenseful, and sinister—I played Gregorian chant music while I wrote.

Lori: Why did you choose Ecuador as your setting for The Merkabah Deception?

L.Z.: Hubby and I went on vacation there several years ago. We visited the rain forest, twenty different cathedrals, restaurants, and the Middle of the World—you know, the touristy things. Exotic settings are fun to read and the personal experience gave me the ability to include lots of interesting detail. And just for the record, each car or bus ride we took was a harrowing experience—just like Daphne’s!

Lori: What can you tell us about book 3?

L.Z.: In book 3, Daphne rejects her role as the Merkabah Recruit and buries herself in work. Even Jack cannot persuade Daphne to resume her duty. Angry at S.J., who is unwilling to explain his past or her stronger empathic powers, Daphne attempts to move on. However, a slew of perverse crimes in her town compel Daphne to don the merkabah once again.

Lori: Do you have any juicy teasers for Daphne and S.J. for the future books in the series?

L.Z.: In book 4, Daphne and her family go to Utah for her brother’s wedding to wife number three. Skin walkers and wendigos come out to play when a Native American burial site is accidentally disturbed, wrecking havoc on the small town. Daphne also learns some interesting and disturbing facts about herself.

In book 5, Daphne goes on another mission where the most evil and vengeful creature yet seeks to destroy both S.J. and Daphne. It’s a personal vendetta and more is at stake than meets the eye. Daphne, having mastered the merkabah, uses it in a way never done before. And, of course, we find out what becomes of Daphne and S.J.

Vague, right? One nice aspect about pre-planning a series is that I drop hints and references explained in later books.

Lori: If The Merkabah Recruit was a movie (I’d watch it!), who would play Daphne and S.J.?

L.Z.: The popcorn is on me! Your question made me smile! Everyone says they want to see the movie version. I think a Jennifer Lawrence type might be a good Daphne fit. As for S.J…mmmm, maybe a Channing Tatum, Tom Welling, or Josh Duhamel type. Tyra Banks would make a great Zahra, and Bill Cosby is the perfect age and temperament for Jack.

Lori: Do you think you and Daphne would hang out in real life?

L.Z.: Haha! We might go shopping for shoes together! Daphne’s an “every woman” with real hang-ups and flaws like most women. We could hang out, drink coffee, and talk about teaching!

Lori: What would Daphne’s ideal shoe look like?

L.Z.: Love this question! It would have to be a sky-high red satin Christian Louboutin’s with gem-encrusted outrageous heels! So impractical and yet so Diva—cuz there’s a little bit of diva in every woman, don’t you think?

Virtual hugs and kisses for featuring the Merkabah series on your website!


The Merkabah Recruit

Myth, history, and science collide in this sassy-smart paranormal suspense!

A fresh kill. An ancient evil. And the only person capable of preventing the next murder is an unwitting and anxiety-prone recruit.

Divorced, depressed, and dissertation-less, Daphne Sites is stunned to learn that a unique empathic ability allows her to identify otherworldly life. So when a mystical  organization asks for her help, it’s difficult to refuse.
Serik Jalani is the man who must convince the reluctant recruit to assume an awesome mantle of responsibility. There’s only one way to do this. Reel her in slowly.
Except Daphne suspects Serik is not being entirely truthful. About the organization. About the mission. About his identity.
As Daphne attempts to keep her new life secret from two sassy sisters, one jealous ex-husband, and her Bimbo-Barbie neighbor, she struggles to embrace the mysteries of a cosmic technology and realize her own self-worth.

If Daphne hopes to stop the murderer she must first confront her biggest problem. Herself.

At a time when recent theories like Quantum physics confirms the existence of the fantastical, The Merkabah Recruit flirts with the links between treasured legend and scientific possibility. A story that blurs the shadowy line between myth and fact.

The 1st in the 5-part series.

The Merkabah Deception

Psychotic fits spread through a prep school. Coincidence or supernatural evil? Distraught by the frequent psychotic episodes and convulsions spreading through the student body, the owner of a prestigious prep school seeks help from an occult society. Daphne Sites, the newest member, must determine if the mass hysteria has unearthly origins. She’s a bit anxious—this is only her second assignment.

Daphne soon discovers she’s in way over her head after a terrifying encounter with one of the possessed students. And attacks by thugs and nonhuman enemies don’t bolster her courage or confidence either!

The search for answers sends Daphne to the Amazon jungle, Ecuador’s majestic cathedrals, a creepy hacienda, and a ghoul-infested catacomb. Discerning the truth from the lies is critical if Daphne hopes to survive.

Legends, lies, and lust thwart an empathic woman’s attempts to stop a supernatural evil in the 2nd book of the Merkabah Series.

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