OTHER MILD-MANNERED suburban moms might think like Zane, but only she writes down every last X-rated fantasy, to the delight of legions of readers. Since self-publishing a collection of erotic short stories in 2000, the D.C. native has become a book-world wonder, with best-selling novels, a movie deal and a forthcoming sex-toy line. Her newest story anthology, “Caramel Flava” ($15, Atria), was released this past week, but she has a lot more up her nightie.
» EXPRESS: What’s the sexiest article of clothing you own?
» ZANE: I don’t dress like that all the time, but I have skimpy lingerie for around the house. For when I go out, I prefer the classic black dress.
» EXPRESS: What’s the sexiest possible thing a guy can wear?
» ZANE: Besides nothing? Probably a nice pair of silk boxers.
» EXPRESS: How do you like to set the stage for romance?
» ZANE: I’m a candle person. And scents. I have linen spray beside my bed and all of those plug-ins. I like soft music and nice bedding, like a fur bedspread.
» EXPRESS: You have a fur bedspread?
» ZANE: I do.
» EXPRESS: And the sexiest destination?
» ZANE: Moon Palace in Cancun. In my story in “Caramel Flava,” the main character goes there for a week by herself. She knows no one there, so she loses her inhibitions. It’s private and secluded — you get a bar with full bottles and a Jacuzzi.
» EXPRESS: So this is your first book branching beyond the African-American community. Every story has at least one Hispanic character, right?
» ZANE: I knew it was an underserved market. When I put out the call for stories, I got so many that I’ve already finished “Caramel Flava” 2 and 3. Passion is universal.
» EXPRESS: Do you ever have time to just stay home and cook?
» ZANE: I cook! I get up in the morning, take the kids to school and go to the office. But when I go home, I’m a mom. Cooking and cleaning for me is a stress reliever. I have 10 bathrooms and no maid. No one can believe it because I could easily get somebody else to do it. But to me, I’m supposed to do it.
» EXPRESS: Do you entertain?
» ZANE: Not as much as I used to before I moved two years ago. People would come and bring five or six people to meet me, and there were people showing up at my door every night at 11 p.m. to get me to sign books. I’m careful about that now. My current neighbors don’t know who I am.
» EXPRESS: What else are you up to?
» ZANE: My product line, Zane Sensuality, and my signature perfume. There’s going to be shower gel, bath gel and a liquid talc — you rub it on like a lotion. I’m narrowing down the scent. It’s like suede or leather, not too flowery or anything. I think it could be unisex. And I have the best people doing it. I don’t have anybody cooking this stuff up in a basement.
» EXPRESS: And you have a bunch of events coming up at Zanzibar on the Waterfront?
» ZANE: Yes. We’re having one where you have to dress up as your greatest sexual fantasy. I have a black velvet cloak but I haven’t decided what to wear under it. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.
Photo courtesy Zane