Zena Livingston describes herself as a wife, mother and grandmother, but that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. She’s also a seasoned author whose new book, entitled, Now You Have It!, centers around a woman whose main focus is on acquiring financial security and social position. Through her journey, she discovers that there's more to life. The main character encounters a number of trials and tests, including relationship issues, financial difficulties, and health challenges. The book makes for a compelling read and reflects real and relatable situations we all face.
Zena’s previous books, The Money God and Psychotic Skank, have received rave reviews. She is currently working on a novel that is based on her own life experiences. Below is a Writer’s Life exclusive interview.
An Interview with Zena Livingston
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing?
I am a wife, mother and grandmother, practice administrator, entrepreneur and world
traveler. I am tough, strong, compassionate and a people observer. As a writer, I am
best known for my character development. My characters are mirrored after people
whom I have observed.
What was the impetus for writing Now You Have It?
Donna is the main character in this book. There are many Donna's in this world. They are people who put desire, greed and ambition above everything else. I wanted to tell
Donna’s story and show that she and others like her get so caught up in their desires
that they miss life.
How would you describe the book?
Now You Have It is a book about a teenage single mother who is deserted by her
boyfriend and his parents when she becomes pregnant. She has a terrible reputation in
the community in which she lives and is relegated to a basement apartment and a job in
a supermarket. While working there she meets her guardian angel who offers a real job
and a chance to make something of her life. Once given the initial opportunity, she
becomes fixated on achieving financial and social acceptance. Along the road of her life
she manages a medical facility where her greed adversely affects it. She marries and
divorces and remarries, each time advancing her social position. The effect of her quest
for security on her children, marriages and life provide interesting reading as they touch
upon drugs, child molestation, fraud, destruction of personal relationships and medical
What was your biggest challenge in writing Now You Have It?
My biggest challenge in writing, Now You Have It was dealing with Donna’s breast
cancer. On Long Island New York, breast cancer affects one in eight women. As a person
who has the disease, I am aware of the emotions it triggers and wanted them accurately
presented. It is hard to write about personal feeling and yet they provide the best
material for a writer.
What would you say the underlying message you would like the readers to take away from your book?
The underlying message is it is important to enjoy life and live every day to its fullest.
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and you need to be aware
of greed because it can make you miss the more important things in life. Donna’s greed
for financial security and social acceptance put her children at risk and led her to make
poor judgments and choices along the way.
You’ve written other books, were there any surprises this time around?
My first novel was, The Money Gods which was a more personal story for me to write as it was an attempt to come to grips with my relationship with my own mother. My
second novel was, The Psychotic Skank which I wrote with the underlying message
that any man can fall victim to a woman whose sexuality is her primary asset. Now You Have It combines the characters of Cel and Vicki into Donna who takes her quest for security further than the other characters and proves to be far less likable. The twists and turns of Donna’s life were surprising to me and, I think, may surprise the reader as well.
Are you working on another book?
I have started a new novel which is currently based on my own life’s experiences.
For more information on Zena please visit http://zenalivingston.com/
Now You Have It centers around a woman whose goals are financial security and social position. Donna starts out a teenage single mother who meets her guardian angel, Craig. Her life's journey takes her from a basement apartment in Freeport to a home in Brookville, an upscale community, and finally back to Freeport. The challenges she encounters along the way include relationships, financial challenges, health issues, and challenges with her children make for an interesting read. All along her life's road, Craig is there to bail her out while never giving her what she really wants; a relationship with him. There is an underlying message in this book which keeps the reader interested.