Erin Zak blogs:
The first time I had my tarot cards read, I was super nervous and almost didn’t go through with it. My girlfriend’s daughter Cadie accompanied me to an evening of Tacos and Tarot for a fund raiser. Of course, I was not at all apprehensive about the tacos. But the tarot? Oh yes, I was the mayor of Nervous City.
My nerves didn’t stem from a place of worried about the higher powers or anything like that. I was more worried about what this reading was going to tell me about myself, my path, and all of that mumbo-jumbo. I’m a huge believer that everything happens for a reason. I may not always like the reasons, but I do completely subscribe to this principle. I think it’s easier to handle things such as heartbreak or the loss of someone when you believe deep down in your soul that everything happens for—say it with me now—a reason.
The reading happened and I found myself completely intrigued by everything. The energy, the transference of said energy, the easy banter with the card reader, the way he knew things I hadn’t told him. Everything was intriguing to me.
Cadie actually suggested that I should do a romance with tarot as a main aspect. I immediately decided that was an amazing idea. I also made the decision that the tarot card reader would be deaf and that instead of the tarot reader being the main character, the ASL interpreter would be the love interest and main character.
The best part of the whole writing process was being able to ask my wonderful author friend Aurora Rey for help with the tarot reading that takes place in the book. Aurora actually knows how to read tarot cards, and often uses the cards to help her with her own characters (which she has spoken about). When I sat down with Aurora the first time to have her read my own cards, she blew my mind. So I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to beg Aurora to help me with my scene. And she did, graciously. (Of course. Aurora Rey is amazing.)
Also, since I’m from the Chicagoland area and have performed improv at Second City, I wanted to bring those roots into the story. I thought it was an interesting idea to have an improv performer, someone who tries to subscribe to the teaching of Yes, and… as often as possible onstage, would be completely against a yes, and moment in her real life.
The other aspect I wanted to have in the story was a very large age gap. If you’ve read any of my other books, there is always an age gap. This one is the most significant, though, and also the least discussed by the characters. I wanted their main struggle to not be their ages, but their life choices that would ultimately haunt them. But their life choices are strapped to their ages: Bernadette is tied to her aging mother, and Stevie is on the verge of becoming a huge star.
One of the things I love about writing age-gap romances is there has to be amazing chemistry. These two woman, from two very different walks of life, are absolutely not going to come together if there isn’t a huge attraction. I know about chemistry. I’m sure we all do. But these two women had to have blazing chemistry, immediately, or their relationship would never be believable (especially because I vowed to make their age gap a non-issue).
Beautiful Accidents was written during a very strange time in my life. A lot of things were happening around me, to me, and within me that I couldn’t fight while writing. So a lot of the emotions in the book come from me, from my heart. I try to always put some of myself into my books—I think it’s unavoidable to a certain extent—because I really enjoy letting people know me in the tiniest of ways.
I do hope everyone who reads Beautiful Accidents enjoys the book. Not only was this one of my most favorite stories to craft, but honestly, it’s the most of me I’ve ever put into my characters. Tarot, fate, accidents, everything I love. Oh, and Chicago deep-dish pizza, of course.