Sunday 5 June 2011

Z. Constance Frost interview: No Shelter

No Shelter by Z. Constance Frost
Amazon UK, Amazon US

Z. Constance Frost lives with her two children just outside of Washington, D.C. No Shelter is her first novel. Visit her at

Can you sum up your book in no more than 25 words?

No Shelter is about Holly Lin, who works by day as a nanny and by night as a non-sanctioned government assassin.

What was your motivation for writing it?

I’m a big fan of Lee Child, and one day when I was reading one of his books I thought it would be cool to make a female character as smart and tough as Jack Reacher. And from there Holly Lin was born.

How long did it take you to write?

It took me about six months to write the book, then another six months before I managed to sign with an agent. I was thrilled but then the rejections started coming in. Basically a few editors liked it but didn’t like it enough, or they liked it but didn’t know how they could properly market the book. Long story short, my agent decided it was time to put the book away. And that was really disheartening, because I wrote it as the first book in a series. It wasn’t like I could write the second book and try to sell that. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt to self-publish it as an e-book.

How important is a good title?

A good title is extremely important. Besides the cover, it’s the first thing a reader sees. For my novel, the title is taken from a Rage Against the Machine song. My plan is to title all the Holly Lin novels after rock songs.

What's the best piece of craft advice you've been given?

Definitely one of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

What's your favourite part of the writing process?

I don’t outline and just write the story the way I’m seeing it in my head, and I always love when characters do something I don’t plan and, ultimately, let the story tell itself.

What crime book are you most looking forward to reading?

The Friends of Eddie Coyle. I know, I know, I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet either!

How do you feel about the ease with which anyone can publish?

I think it’s both good and bad. It’s good in that writers can now connect directly with readers and let the readers decide what they want to read, as opposed to publishers deciding what readers should read. On the flipside, it’s bad in that writers might not always practice the right amount of patience when self-publishing their work. It’s important for all of us to remember that it’s best to make sure our work is the very best it can be and not rush a half-hearted story out there too soon.

Do you have any other projects on the go?

I just recently started the second book in the Holly Lin series. This one is called Down in a Hole, taken from the Alice in Chains song.

No Shelter by Z. Constance Frost
Amazon UK, Amazon US

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