It’s great being in the spotlight—the WFWA Member Spotlight, that is.
The Women’s Fiction Writers Association, with over 850 members, is featuring me and my work this week. I’m truly honored – especially because they have accepted me, a male author, into their ranks and recognized my appreciation of women’s roles in American society.
If you’re a WFWA member, you can see the feature here: WFWA Spotlight
For those of you who aren’t, highlights from their interview follow:
This week the spotlight is on the talented J.Z. Howard!
As a father, husband, professional counselor, and spiritual seeker, J.Z. Howard champions women’s equality and empowerment in every sphere of life. Currently he is writing the outline and synopsis for the sequel to his debut contemporary novel, All of Me Wants All of You. The series explores how each character’s faith (and non-faith) influences their love/sex/partner choices. In this first story, an unlikely friendship develops between a wife struggling in a stale 24-year marriage and a younger single mom of an mischievous teenager which revolutionizes both women’s lives.
What movie actors would you cast your story? The lead actors I’d like for All of Me Wants All of You are:
Kate, the wife Kate Winslet
Dean, the husband George Clooney
Larissa, single mom Jennifer Lawrence
Trevor, Larissa’s beau Bradley Cooper
The sequel builds on the ways that faith shapes these characters and their intimate relationships. As one book reviewer summed it up, “God designed us for love and beauty, and that includes beautiful sex.” A 3-layered, multi-generational tapestry of love, sex and spirituality develops—Boomer, Gen-X, and Millennial generations—that I describe as “sensual intimacy, sacred power.”
Where do you like to write?
In my home office when the house is quiet, day or night, weekdays or weekends, whenever I manage to carve out a few hours (sometimes minutes) to sit at the computer. I live in metro Minneapolis where the icy cold of winter cuts through you like a high-speed snowplow, and in the heat of summer mosquitos are considered Minnesota’s State Bird, so indoors often works best for writing. Hanging out at one of three favorite coffee shops also stimulates my creative juices. I love meeting people who are connected to their passions and actively pursuing their dreams, as well as folks like my readers who just stop by to say hi.
What are you reading currently?
I’m re-reading Steven Saylor’s epic novel of ancient Rome, Roma. It’s highly dramatic, rich in history, and intoxicating in its exotic storytelling. Saylor explores the full range of Rome’s power struggles and intrigues as well as the crossroads between love/sex, beauty/brutality, and aristocracy/slavery of that era. A favorite section portrays the forbidden love affair of a lovely vestal virgin who falls for a daring, highly charismatic slave that’s absolutely heart-rending in its surprises and emotions.
The super power of a Soul Healer.
What is that? While we fiction authors may tend to focus on the emotional, mental and social aspects of characters, I think fiction is ideally suited to the sublime nuances of the spirit—and that means what touches our souls. As a novelist, my first priority is to deeply and truly touch the souls of my readers through my characters. The damage and hurts which we all encounter in our lives need healing, and I believe fictional storytelling done right helps heal such wounds at the soul/spirit level. In particular, women’s friendships can show this especially well, as the camaraderie between the secular single mom and the church-focused wife in my novel aims to demonstrate.