Cari Z. on Writing, Romance, and Handle with Care (author interview)


Handle With Care by Cari Z.
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Cari Z. here today on tour for her new story in the Dreamspun Desires line, Handle with Care.  Welcome, Cari.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Cari Z.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Research is usually the last thing I want to do when I start writing, which is probably why I’ve done so much sci fi and fantasy and paranormal and so few historicals and contemporaries. I have made exceptions for things that really interested me, though. For Handle With Care, I happen to have a phenomenal friend and ficwife who also happens to work for CPS, so she was instrumental in helping me figure this story out.

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?

Oh my gosh, yes. I’m still working on a story I started two years ago because I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around how to do it all justice. There are some books that resonate so deep that it hurts more to contemplate finishing them badly then not finishing them at all.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both, but I confess a weakness for an HFN, because that usually means a sequel is incoming 😉

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I love romances! I love that romance as a genre spans every other genre. There’s always space for romance.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite work changes frequently. Right now, actually, I’m damn proud of Handle With Care because it was such a departure for me. No gun fights, no knife fights, no explosions, barely one fist fight and nobody even draws blood…what is this book even about? The answer is: EMOTIONS! So many emotions.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got some big plans for 2019! I’m working on the sequel to another Dreamspinner Press book right now, and am contracted for a hugely fun action/adventure/mystery with them. Think of it like a contemporary version of The Mummy without the paranormal aspects of that film (I know, whyyyy? But it’ll work, I promise). It’s going to be awesome.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

Honestly, if I don’t like a character, I won’t read about them. I don’t care if he or she is the most complex, brilliant, tortured person ever created, with enough compelling backstory to blow my mind. If they’re also an asshole who ends up slow to change, or doesn’t change at all—screw them. I’m done.

 What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love figuring out what a person does with themselves while they’re alone. Everyone becomes something slightly other than themselves when they’re around other people. When a character feels comfortable enough to act like they’re alone while being with the person they love—that interests me.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Tempest. It took me for effing ever to finish that one. I wrote seventy thousand words in three weeks, then lost my mind and shoved it in a drawer for over a year.

 Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I’m going to take this question in not the spirit it was written in and say—I work out how I imagine getting into fights in some of my books. Obviously not exactly, since I write a lot of guys and I’m not one and the techniques are often different, but it’s safe to say that I think about self-defense a LOT, and that preoccupation comes out in a lot of my books.

 Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I drunk-wrote a sex scene once, came back to it the next day and was like, “Wait, how many hands is that? How many penises? Did I write in a dildo too?”

 With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

Cliché time! I write because I just love it. I love doing it, I love the realization of scenes from my head onto the page, I love telling stories. I have a baby now and I read to her every morning, and I can’t wait until she’s old enough to tell me stories back. I think it’s an intrinsic part of being human, and a beautiful thing.


A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

About the Author

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

Social media: Twitter: @author_cariz




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