The Great Wall (Made In China Book 1) by Z. Allora
Cover Artist: PL Nunn
Buy Links : Dreamspinner Press ebook | paper
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Z. Allora here today talking about China, writing and The Great Wall. Welcome, Z.
Greetings! I want to thank Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for the opportunity to share a little bit about me, China and my new release The Great Wall. To celebrate I’ll be doing a giveaway: 3 e-books of Secured and Free, 5 e-books of Finally Fallen and a $20 gift card to Dreamspinner. (Details about the giveaway are below.)
~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Z. Allora ~
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
I have done both.
In The Great Wall, I share the experiences I had while living in China. It was silly but while I was in edits for this story I got quite homesick for Suzhou. Let me share with you some of the locations Styx and Jin’s story takes place in.
Yintang: This is Styx and Jin’s hometown and where I spent a good deal with time. Yintang is not modern, like Shanghai. It has one big shopping center, numerous tiny shops and countless stalls. While I was there they still advertised community TVs because not everyone has their own. Access to the Internet was spotty at best, if you could afford it. Spending some much time here I understood how closeted Styx would be. Gay wasn’t even a possibility in the world of Yintang. The town also helped me understand how Jin needed to leave, and how his work in massage spas helped give him hints that the rest of the world might be different than Yintang.
Suzhou: The band lives in my apartment. (Yes, we were crazy enough to buy there. BTW: When you buy an apartment in China you buy a shell with concrete walls and only a few rooms walled out, pipes, windows and a dirt/cement floor. You need to design and contract everything else. Toilets, sinks, ceiling, walls are added along with walls, appliances, paint, flooring, etc.)
Suzhou is where I spent most of my time while I was living there. So, I know where the farmer’s market is and I know how expensive the Japanese market in comparison. I used to go to the German Restaurant across the street from our apartment weekly. I sat in the pavilion Jin does his Gong Chi in. I would meander through one or more of the eighteen gardens of Suzhou, at least two or three times a week. I even attended a wedding.
Beijing: I rode the night train to Beijing. It’s like trying to sleep during a slow extended earthquake. I was driven down the pothole ridden road to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall (I was bounced so high out of my seat I actually hit my head on the ceiling of the van). The band goes to some of the attractions I visited while touring Beijing.
One of their band members Indigo is from L.A. so he’s the shocked version of me going WTF? Why can’t I get hot water, Internet & cable on the same day? What do you mean they don’t take credit cards? What do you mean there is no LGBTQIA community here?
Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it? You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?
I wrote The Great Wall while I was living in China. Suzhou’s closet is so deep I didn’t find the only gay friendly club until I had been there for five years. Since I only write happily ever afters I’m not going to lie I struggled trying to find out a way to happiness with The Great Wall that was realistic. Living there altered the potential and possibilities I saw because the limitations were intense.
An American reader might see the path to their HEA without difficulty but I’ll tell you I sat in my (their) my apartment for hours (crying) unable to plot their happy ending. All my friends who were Chinese married regardless of their orientation and would readily tell me there was no gay in China… that was a Western concept. I racked my brain for several months trying to find a path forward that would be true and possible in Suzhou.
I’m thrilled to report I found a way to give a satisfying happily ever after that would be realistic outcome to Jin and Styx so they could have their true happily ever after.
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m working on Club Zombie #3. It’s contains the original scene that blossomed into the sexy zombie plot bunny that evolved into the Club Zombie series. I had to write the first two books to get to the scene that started it all but finally made it to this point!
Then before there was Yuri On Ice there was a YouTube video two of my friends showed me. So, I’ll be working that delicious plot bunny. (A skater and a hot rocker…) I’ve been taking notes on this story for about two and a half years.
And by June, I hope readers will join me for another visit to China.
With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To widened our knowledge? Why do you write?
I write to promote equality. I truly believe we can change hearts and minds with every page we turn/write. I’m grateful readers allow me to share my stories with them.
The Great Wall Blurb:
Destiny will be decided by a battle between heart and mind….
Jun Tai “Styx” Wong loves two things: playing the drums and his best friend, Jin. But being a good Chinese son means he can’t have either—he’ll have to marry a girl of his parents’ choosing and settle into a traditional job. His move to the bigger city of Suzhou is both a blessing and curse, as living with Jin makes it harder for Styx to suppress his desires. Nearly dying while trying to eradicate his feelings serves as a wake-up call for Jin, who takes extreme measures to keep Styx safe from harm.
When given a second chance at life and happiness, will Styx be able to claim the future he wants with Jin, his bandmates, and his music? Can love and hope grow with the constantly looming threat of Styx’s parents ordering him home? Great things await—if Styx finds the courage to break down the wall that stands between him and everything he wants.
To Enter The Giveaway: Leave a comment sharing why you read (or write). The winner will be picked Jan 19, 2018.
Many hugs, Z.
About the Author
Z. Allora believes in happily ever afters for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.
To contact Z. Allora:
FACEBOOK: Z Allora Allora
Queer Romance Ink: http://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/z-allora
Thank you for the post and sharing some of those locations the characters/you visited. I read to escape RL and just relieve stress.
I started reading because my husband was being a jerk and told me I watch to much tv. Then one day a went to the library and picked up a book. A month later I was getting 10 books at a time. I completely fell in love. Now I’ve been able to share my love of reading with my 5 year old. Who has to have a flashlight and a book at bed time.
I read a quote once – something like “I need books like I need air.” Reading is a HUGE part of my life. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid, and usually read 1-2 books a day. It’s my escape and my reward. And I love the connections I’ve made with authors and other readers.