On September 18, I met up with Zane at The London hotel in New York City to discuss her latest project, the film adaption of "Addicted". Admittedly, I was a little nervous, which is both weird and totally expected. I've interviewed ALOT of A-Listers over the years and never batted a lash, even people I had fan-crushes on (withe the exception of Michael Ealy, in which I dropped my notes during the interview because of my proximity to physical excellence). But for writers (and artists I grew up listening too), I totally fan out, getting all tongue-tied and knocking things over.
When I began my career in book publishing in 2003, Zane was the gold standard for romance authors and an author with her sales were the goal for every editor and publisher. The writers on my roster did just fine in their own right, and together, we racked up plenty of awards and 5-star reviews, but we never made it to Zane stratosphere. She was in her own orbit.
In 2008, Zane released her least-selling book, The G-Spot, which was still highly successful if measured against any author's sales but her own. G-Spot was a well-organized Q&A format and Zane provided answers about sex. Sound familiar? Good. It should. G-spot was the blueprint for Don't Waste Your Pretty (available NOW on Amazon.com and Kindle).
So, yeah. I was nervous. And I told her she inspired my second book as I sipped a glass of Prosecco to calm my nerves. Zane sipped a Diet Coke even though it was her birthday and after I pried in her business, she told me that he sex life was indeed a "10!". We didn't talk about finances. After the interview, we talked shop about the business of being Black authors (full disclosure: we once shared a publisher). She wanted to know how I landed The Today Show in 2011 off of my first book, A Belle in Brooklyn. I wanted to know how she moves millions of books. Trade! At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers.
"If you ever need anything..." she offered.
"I will take you up on that," I accepted.
Check out the article I wrote for The Root about our encounter:
More than a decade ago, Zane, then an unknown suburban mother of three, changed the literary landscape when she self-published her first novel, Addicted. It was the deliciously freaky (and fictional) tale of a woman in similar circumstances, a mom of three, but this one had an insatiable appetite for sex—with three men other than her husband. The book’s success put Zane on the map, and the New York Times hailed the author for “giving voice to a new type of genre fiction: post-feminist African-American erotica.”
Fourteen New York Times best-sellers and two TV shows later, the queen of erotica is headed where she’s never been before: the big screen. The first (but probably not the last) film based on one of her books is Addicted (based on the novel of the same name), which hits theaters Friday. The Rootcaught up with Zane to discuss the sex lives of black women, whether Fifty Shades of Grey bit her style and the lack of mainstream coverage for black writers—unless, in Zane’s case, she’s filing for bankruptcy.
The Root: You self-published Addicted, your first novel, in 2000. Fourteen years later it’s on the big screen. It’s been a long journey to get here. What was the process?
Zane: It’s been a nine-year process. [Film studio] Lionsgate first contacted me [about turningAddicted into a film] in February 2005, but things fell apart. They came back to me in September 2011 while I was filming Zane’s the Jump Off for Cinemax. I said I would do it if we start shooting within a year, and we did.
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TR: How involved were you in the writing of the film version?
Zane: I do write film scripts and all the scripts for the TV series, and I was originally asked to write the script [for Addicted], but I chose not to. Addicted, to me, is one of my babies, almost. The book is about 95,000 words. The script is 25 percent of the word count from the book. The way it ultimately got pulled off is great, but we had to lose a lot. I don’t think I could have accepted that vision myself and see losing what we had to lose and still keeping the overall premise.
TR: Do you have a favorite scene from the film? Anything that will make the audience gasp or laugh out loud?
Zane: There are a lot of good scenes. We really did an effective job making the entire film interesting. There is one scene when Zoe [ played by Sharon Leal] is in a nightclub and spots Corey [Tyson Beckford]. The first time she saw him, they made eye contact. This time she walks by him and just drops her panties in his lap and goes to the ladies’ room. I think a lot of people are going to get a kick out of that. He’s just sitting there drinking a drink, and then panties in his lap.
TR: Addicted pushed a lot of boundaries in its exploration of black women’s sexuality when it was released. How do you think the perception of black women’s sexuality has changed since Addictedcame out?
Zane: I think women are more open about their feelings; they feel more liberated. I’ve had many women in their 40s and 50s tell me that they had never had an orgasm. Reading my books has made them open up enough to say what [they] want. If you really want someone to fall in love with you, the real you, you have to be transparent about who you are. And that includes your sexuality. There is nothing wrong with having desires—everybody has fantasies.
Read the full article: here