Interview: Author Zena Livingston Proves the Writing Process Is Different for Everyone and There is No Real “Right” Way

Updated on April 23, 2020
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The Writing Process

Many writers are anxious with the prospect of being successful and may read tons of “how-to” books about writing or re-read classics in the hopes of being “influenced by greatness”. Zena Livingston, a seasoned author, doesn’t take that approach; she prefers tuning out the outside world while writing her material, so she doesn’t lose focus on her writing journey. Where do you land on this spectrum?

Zena Livingston’s writing style is more pragmatic than it is creative, but nonetheless, it produces interesting books. Here is an interview with her so you can understand more of this author’s writing process (see below).

Q & A With Zena Livingston

Tell us about your background and how it led to writing this book.

I am a wife, mother and grandmother, practice administrator, entrepreneur and world traveler. I am tough, strong and compassionate and a people observer. Being a people observer has led to the writing of this book. As a writer, I am best known for my character development and my characters mirror people whom I have observed.

Can you share with us a bit of your journey through the writing process?

When I start a new novel, I have a general idea of what I want to write. However, since I do not use an outline, my characters develop as the writing progresses. Often at the end, the characters are entirely different than the original idea.

Does the book title, “Now You Have It” have any kind of special meaning to you? Why did you decide to go with that specific title?

Donna, the main character, is in constant search for financial security and social position. Each time she advances, she believes that now she has it whether she is right or wrong. When someone reads the book, the title choice is evident.

What would you like readers to take away from reading the book?

I would like readers to take away the concept that it is important to live each day and enjoy life. People who let their greed rule them, miss life itself.

Which writers have influenced you the most?

I try extremely hard not to let other writers influence me. I am my own person and my characters are their own people. I have created a style that is easy to read and keeps the readers’ attention. As I said before, I am a strong person and that has influenced my writing the most.

You are also the author of two other books. Can you tell us a bit about both of those books?

My first novel was “The Money God”. That book started with me trying to understand what drove my mother to be the horrible person she was. I wanted to try to understand her and started writing a journal for my own purposes. Half-way through the process, I realized I had a good novel in the makings. “The Money God” sold out and was excellently received by the readers.

My second novel “Psychotic Skank” was inspired by a person whom I had observed. Vicki, the main character, uses her sexual prowess to get what she wants from men. There is a message in this novel which the reader gets and there is no denying that Vicki is an interesting character.

Are you currently working on other projects?

I am currently working on a new novel that in some ways parallels my life. It is too early to say what path it will take.


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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      I like the incisive quality of your interview questions. They produce rich rewards in the answers you get.


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