NefretitiM: Today on Literary Links we have Caroline E. Zani; author of Piper Once & Again. What inspired you to write this book Ms. Zani?
Caroline E. Zani: A long time ago a woman at a pocketbook party asked me if I was writing a book to which I answered with a resounding “No.” I didn’t know at that time that the woman was a card reader and I wanted nothing to do with a psychic reading but she seemed so nice and normal. Ha…she has since become a dear friend.
I was curious about this idea of writing a book as she kept saying she saw this and that it would be an important story with a message that others needed to hear. And also that it would catapult me to a different work and I would have a following of sorts. Who wouldn’t be curious about that? So I went home and opened a Word document – more to prove her wrong than anything. But sure enough – the story began to form in my mind. All the names, dates, faces, scents an places were there waiting for me to put into words.
NefretitiM: How did you come up with the title?
Caroline E. Zani: I knew the character’s name the moment I began writing. Actually it is a name that’s been with me for many, many years and I never knew why until I started the book. Piper discovers that she lived before this lifetime so it popped into my head several times: Piper, Once and Again.
NefretitiM: What genre does this book to fit into?
Caroline E. Zani: When I pitched it to my agent I called it women’s fiction. Since then my publisher has pitched it as women’s fiction, visionary & metaphysical, romance, Time Travel, Occult & Supernatural and Romance/Historical/General and I think that’s about it. I’m not sure but maybe that’s why Publishers Weekly decided to review it.
NefretitiM: What influenced your interest in writing?
I think like a lot of people, I had said often, “I’m going to write a book someday. Honestly I’ve always loved to write but didn’t know if I had what it took to sit and follow a process so I didn’t. I really never intended to sit and write this story but it was there and I allowed it to come through me. So I just followed the story really, as odd as that might sound. I truly just wrote what was there. Growing up I always had my nose in a book when I wasn’t riding my horse and I loved how it could take me to different places and different times and allowed me to escape the monotony of my routine.
NefretitiM: What is the writing process like for you?
Caroline E. Zani: Again, for me it was so exciting to see what was going to happen each time I sat at the computer that it wasn’t really as much a process as an experience. I wouldn’t sit down until 9:00 at night after a full day of teaching middle school and trying not to lose my shirt in a legal battle with some professional tenants who were clearly trying to destroy me and the investment building I purchased to help put my daughter through school. So in the same way that reading helped me escape reality as a kid, writing was doing that for me as an adult. I would pour myself a half glass of wine and open my Word document and it was there, the next chapter or two. I’d work until midnight or so –
whenever I couldn’t see straight anymore and go to bed. I think that helped too because we take what ever we are thinking about before bed into our sleep state and that helps work things out. I feel like that was an important step in all of it.
NefretitiM: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Caroline E. Zani: Horses are a favorite part of being alive for me so I try to ride as much as I can which hasn’t been as much as I’d like with everything else happening. I teach workshops and classes on intuition development, card reading and I do readings as well. Talk about full circle from that pocketbook party years ago. I also love gardening and watching the miracle of seeds, soil and sun. It’s a good reminder to me that things unfold when they are supposed to. You can look at the photo of the sunflower on the seed packet and know that the seeds potentially can end up like that but that there a lot of days and steps in between. And watching each of those steps is fascinating to me. I wish more people would understand that we are unfolding also and it’s not all supposed to happen at once.
NefretitiM: What tips or words of encouragement do you have for other writers?
Caroline E. Zani: Write the story you’d love to read or if it was a movie, the one you’d like to star in. Live the story – let it flow through you. And also put yourself in the reader’s shoes and ask the questions they might be asking – then don’t give them the answers right away. Let them figure some of it out. Readers are really intelligent and they don’t like to be fed each detail. I like to leave just a little to the reader’s own imagination about an aspect of a character or perhaps how life was a century ago in a country an ocean away.
Also, I would say don’t give up. If I had known how difficult and how long it would take to get a publishing contract I probably wouldn’t have bothered trying. But like those towering sunflowers, I had to start out in the dirt and unfold. And everything that has happened in between has been equally fascinating and each an important part of my journey.
NefretitiM: Thank You for joining us. Get your copy of Piper Once & Again