Addicted to Zane: The Queen of Urban Erotica
By Courtney Shepard
Zane has been dubbed the Queen of Urban Erotica for at least a decade. She began writing steamy, lust filled stories on AOL message boards in 1997. Since then, Zane has picked up a major following, written and co-written at least 30 books, including Nervous, Shame On It All, After Burn, and Sex Chronicles.
She has boosted the careers of more than 100 other up and coming authors, had two television shows including Cinemax’s Zane’s The Jump Off, documentaries and if that’s not enough, this phenomenal woman has added a major motion film to her long list of accolades.
Addicted, a movie based on her very first self-published novel of the same name, came in kicking down doors and stepping on glass barefoot (sorry, spoiler alert) on Oct. 10, 2014. An erotic thriller that is sure to have you squirming in your seat follows Zoe, portrayed by Sharon Leal, a successful Black business woman whose dark secret is threatening her family, livelihood and life itself. Pique your interest yet?
The movie also features Boris Kodjoe (I know, *swoon*), who plays her husband Jason, all of the chocolate deliciousness that is Tyson Beckford and the gorgeous William Levy. It is well worth the watch, but make sure you take a friend, because you’re going to need someone to share your complete shock with.
Zane has undeniably opened the doors for erotica authors, and paved the way for books and movies by others, but this will always be her territory. If you have ever picked up a Black erotic book, it is almost guaranteed that Zane has touched the work in one way or another whether just being an inspiration, co-writing, or editing and with her work, she has influenced women to be more in touch with their sexualities, freeing themselves through her characters. Characters who she builds on and writes backgrounds and histories to that most people never get to see and when Zane is done with that novel, she moves on to the next cast of characters.
“People always ask me what’s my favorite book that I have written and I always say the same thing. It’s whatever book I’m currently writing because that’s what I’m living and breathing at the time. I’m living my life as if I’m living with these characters.”
For all those wondering out there, no; Zane doesn’t write her characters based on her own experiences, but instead, aims to build an interesting but flawed person trapped between the pages of each novel. She said, “It doesn’t matter how great a story is if the readers don’t care about the characters, they won’t care if something happens to the character.”
Zane always aims to make that character relatable, that she wants to make each story better than the last so when asked how she felt about Addicted being the first of her novels to be made into a movie, I wasn’t surprised to hear her say how proud she was.
It made sense because it was the first she wrote, but now she’d moved on to greater and greener pastures; one of which being her newest released novel, The Other Side of The Pillow. The excitement in her voice was overwhelming as she described how she came to write her most explosive and bitter character to date. “There were so many women on my facebook page that whenever a man asked for advice on their marriage or relationship problems, the women would eat the men alive.
“I just found it so interesting that they would put a spin on the story and somehow it would always end up that the man had to have done something, and at the end of the day, no matter where the trail leads, it’s always the man who caused his woman to act a certain way.” She laughed as she recounted stories on her Facebook page, simply named Zane.
Her character, Jemistry Daniels, was born from the myriad of comments the women left behind whenever a man attempted to ask for relationship advice on Zane’s facebook page; needless to say, she leaks animosity.
“Can a woman that is that hurt, find love in spite of that fact and because I wrote this book a lot of women are like ‘Ok, now I feel like I may have some hope, because if she can find love… maybe there’s some hope for me yet. Maybe if I stop waiting for the other shoe to drop’ if there’s another shoe to begin with… I always have an underlying message that I want people to walk away with.”
And finally, soon to be released in January 2015, is Vengeance. With this novel, Zane boasts the greatest artwork to leak from her pen. She wouldn’t tell me much, only that the main character was the most complicated of all her characters from the past (yes, even more complicated than Jude/Jonquinette from Nervous.)
All in all, Zane still sits pretty on her Erotica throne. She’s still very unconcerned about the critics resting at her feet asking her to tone it down because in the end, she writes for her enjoyment and whether they like it or not is not of her concern. She aims to write the best story she can with the characters she has.
Don’t forget to catch Addicted in theaters near you and pick up Other Side of the Pillow!
Zane will be in town and is headlining at A Conversation with… Zane in Miramar, FL at The City of Miramar Cultural Center Friday, Nov. 7, 2014 at 7:30p.m. Partial proceeds from the event will benefit the Breast Cancer Awareness organization Save the Twinz. She will read from her latest novel, Other Side of the Pillow and do a Q&A with the audience as well as tell the story behind the hit film Addicted.
For more information and tickets call 954-602-4500 or visit www.Miramarculturalcenter.org.