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The Zoe Zone

Zoe loves books, writes horror, erotica and erotic romance, and can be found as close to the stage as possible at small clubs across the Southeastern U.S., rocking the fuck out to her favorite bands.


Under the name Holden Wells, she has published several short stories in gay erotica anthologies. One of these—Roughing It—has been revised and expanded into a novella and is now available in print and ebook format. The sequel to Roughing It will be coming out in 2014. A number of short stories featuring the same characters are also in the works, the first of which, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," was released in ebook format in October 2013.


Zoe has also written a novel and a long story (both erotic romance) as Zoe X. Rider, both of which are currently seeking publication. In the meantime, she is working on a couple horror novels and a sequel to the erotic romance novel.

Currently reading

The Final Descent
Rick Yancey
The Seventies: The Great Shift In American Culture, Society, And Politics
Bruce J. Schulman
Shades of Gray
Brooke McKinley
Mina Kelly
Easy Ryder
Deanna Wadsworth

Writing: POV and the current project

The working title on my current writing project changes more often than my underwear. We'll just call it That '70s Horror Novel for the sake of discussion.


I wrote draft zero back in March/early April. It had issues (as they do), and I spent the summer brainstorming on them, in between finishing another novel (currently out on submission) and revising and expanding a story I'd published ages ago so that I could author-publish it.


I'm now writing draft zero-point-one on That '70s Horror Novel. It's been slow going. I spun my wheels for a while writing in third-person omniscient in the form of a nonfiction book about the fictional band's final tour, written by a fictional music journalist. I imagined the published book having a section of black and white photos in the middle—candid pictures of band, photos of people whose deaths had been linked to the tour, a picture of Dean's wrecked Chevy C-10. I decided this book would be the "second" edition, revised and updated from the original, which would have been released in 1998. The new edition would include an afterward that opened the doors for the rest of the series:


"When Dean Thibodeaux approached me in 1997 about setting straight the story of Man Made Murder's final tour, he was clear that we would not be discussing any part of his life after the tour, and he stuck to that: any post-MMM questions were deflected or outright ignored. I had no clues as to how or where he'd been living, what had become of [redacted for spoilers], and how he'd managed to—mostly—disappear for two decades. Once his contribution to the book was finished, he vanished again. Now, nearly fifteen years later, he has gotten back in touch. He wants to tell the rest of the story. We have only just begun work on that."


This nonfiction novel thing...it was a fantastic idea! I loved that idea! I still love that idea! But.


I was writing as a narrator who was completely separate from the story being told—a narrator in whom I had no interest and gave not a crap about. This was more than slightly problematic; I felt like I was pretending to be someone, which doesn't usually happen when I'm writing, not even in first person, and because I felt like I was pretending to be someone, I felt like a fraud. It's complicated and convoluted, as feelings often are, and entire days would slip by without my writing a word—because I didn't feel like pretending to be this music journalist. Also I kept thinking, "This is a cool-ass way to approach the book, but is it going to provide the kind of reading experience I want readers to have, or is it going to be a gimmick that keeps readers at a remove?"


I took a brief break to write an unrelated short story in first person, and that was the end of my clever novel-as-nonfiction idea. I'm now writing (mostly) in third-person limited.


It's good to be back in my main character's head again.