Her millions of readers made her a NY Times bestseller 26 times and in terms of her book Addicted, let’s just say the Danish, Japanese and Spanish have had a taste of Zoe’s sexscapades – this romantic tale has been translated into many different languages.
Read how she overcomes the myths and stays inspired to encourage her fans.
How did you arrive at this career choice?
To be honest, I really did not choose my career. My career chose me in a sense. However, once I did make the conscience decision to pursue it, I was determined to be one of the best at what I do.
Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
For me, it was definitely a gradual and natural evolution. I never intended to become a published author but I have always had an immense passion and admiration of written words. Once the horse left the starting gate, so to speak, it really made no sense to try to call it back. So I embraced the blinders on the side of my eyes and embarked upon the journey full throttle.
What separates you from others in your field?
The most obvious response is that I also publish dozens of other writers. In addition, I have been able to crack the shield in other mediums like television and film, true blessings.
What is unique to the experience that you create?
While I have not read much work from my peers, I believe that my readers connect to and appreciate the elements of life that I tackle in my books, from incest and domestic violence to homelessness and multiple personality disorder, topics that you would not normally expect in books that also embrace sensuality.
For those considering entering this arena, what skill sets do you recommend mastering?
When it comes to writing, character development, storyline development, and smooth transitions are key. Those three elements together generally can make an impact with readers.
What traits are most conducive to success?
Passion, determination, patience, and doing it for the right reasons. Writing for money is the worst reason to do it. If you truly love writing, it would not matter if you are paid or not. Just my opinion.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I believe in continuing to be innovative and constantly going in a different direction. Part of the joy of writing, whether it be novels, nonfiction, screenplays or television scripts is the ability to think outside the box. I definitely think outside the box and I am truly a risk taker.
Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
There are huge misconceptions about what I do and it is truly sad. I change more lives and have more profound of an effect on people than those who want to crucify me. I help people overcome adversity, deal with abuse, and even talk them out of committing suicide, almost on a daily basis. Yet, some people still only see me as the woman who writes sex books. It makes them look pathetic; not me. I do not work to dispel them. My track record speaks for itself and as long as I understand my purpose and logic, that is all that matters.
How do you map out your goals?
Every three to six months, I do a SWOT analysis where I give deep thought to my Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The key is to add more items to the Strengths and Opportunities and eliminate Weaknesses and Threats each time.
How do you measure your success?
By the lives that I touch, the differences that I make, and the challenges that I overcome.
Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life and/or yourself.
The Bible, Roots by Alex Haley, and The Value in the Valley by Iyanla Vanzant.
Why do you consider continued learning important?
In my opinion, no matter what career path a person chooses, they should always be constantly trying to outdo themselves. Also, trends and opportunities change and it is imperative to stay informed about such things and take advantage of them. There is always room for improvement and the moment someone believes that they are perfect is the moment they start to slip. I have always had a huge thirst for learning so I often take courses and read books that have nothing to do with my field.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
1. Faith makes everything possible…not easy.
2. Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
3. The greatest weapon the oppressor ever has is the mind of the oppressed.
What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
Technology is about 95% of my daily life. The other 5% is writing in solace. Between emails, social networks, and conducting business online, it has truly changed the way that people do business. I have a massive Facebook presence and receive about 5,000 advice emails a month.
What software, app or other technological innovation has made the biggest difference in your life and/or career?
I would have to go with the innovation of the Internet period since I utilize it in so many ways. My initial popularity rose from having my own web site and not the social networks, although they are definitely a blessing to writers coming along now.
Please define your personal brand.
I am a liberator who is compassionate toward the plight of others and believe that every person should feel empowered, safe, and believe in their true potential. I try to help them achieve those things through various mediums and will continue on that path as long as I can.
What is your favorite vacation destination and why?
I do not take that many vacations but if I had to pick one place, I would say the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico. I love the fact that I can participate in things in the larger part of the resort and escape away to a private golf villa within a few minutes. It is the best of both worlds and it also provides easy access to other areas of Mexico that are culturally enlightening.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I would end racism, if I could. To me, it causes the most fear and confusion throughout the world and it stifles growth and potential. Racism is such a silly concept since no one chooses to whom they are born. To harbor bitterness or downright hatred toward another person based on skin color is a true travesty.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I still have an issue with delegating things to other people on my team. It can be stressful to be unsure whether things are being done when you can simply do them yourself and be sure that they are done. Over time, I have done a little better but there is much room for improvement.