Saturday, July 5, 2014

JZ Howard Talks About Intimacy and His New Book: All of Me Wants All of You

J.Z. Howard's book All of Me Wants All of You is categorized as a Contemporary Inspirational Love Story, but it's a far cry from modern romance fiction. This is a seriously well-written novel that vividly paints four characters and thrusts them into situations that unearth and shake the foundations of who they are, what they really want and what they believe.

Howard spent ten years in Hollywood in the television industry before returning to the Midwest where he has produced award-winning videos and numerous books.

EN: You're a person who lives very passionately and one of your passions is writing. How did this come about?

JZH: Always been my destiny and calling, even possibly God's purpose, to write stories. My senior high English teacher awakened me to literature and fiction. I was also nurtured by great movies that (sometimes) changed how I viewed and approached life. I've always had strong and powerful emotions and I discovered fiction is a way (as a reader/viewer or writer/creator) to express and vent those emotions

EN: You've spent five years working on All of Me Wants All of You. Why has this project been so important to you?

JZH: It's about the struggles and strong emotions of living in (and staying in) a sexless marriage, which I've observed as a counselor over many years. Why stay in such a marriage? What does taking the vow "in sickness and in health, till death do us part" mean? When is a marriage not a marriage? Is divorce the only option? How long can you live a lousy compromise? What are God's views and perspectives (vs. the Church's) about bodily love? Is there anything holy or sacred about sex? About sexual intimacy and being one flesh?

EN: Everywhere I look I see single moms and other consequences of relationship challenges. Why is marriage such a difficult endeavor?

JZH: I just discovered a 2 page article about why there’s just such a misunderstanding between the genders. When you review this you’ll understand my entire book premise in two pages. Philosophers have tried to understand this for ages.

Male sexual energy is quick and outward. A female is slower and from the inside. So there is an outward movement in men that is built-in biologically, and there’s an inner energy women have that absorbs this energy.

EN: In the beginning you had a certain vision for the book. How did that evolve over the five years you worked on it?

JZH: First, I had only in mind what I would call a sexless marriage dilemma. As it evolved it became a story about marital intimacy, as opposed to the negative premise of sexless marriage. In the beginning it was about the basic things about marriage, but then it became a love story about long term relationship intimacy, which includes much much more. Instead of a romance, which has strict rules, it now has romance but is a love story. It now is two interwoven love stories, and ultimately became about faith and sex and intimacy.

When I started, the husband was frustrated and the wife was locked into her point of view, and the single woman had been a stripper, so she knew her body and understood the sexual part of her being. As it evolved it became about a single mom who had an awareness of her destiny. She’s an entrepreneur at a fitness business, and ultimately becomes good friends with Dean the husband and Kate the wife, but it fell away and became more about spirituality and being the person you are meant to be... about being a mother and the struggles she is going through in that regard. And the couple finds a path that heals them on multiple levels.

Another way to put it, it started in a carnal way, but became more about what is marriage… What happens in a marriage when intimacy turns cold? Anybody who has started a divorce has had to face that question. The next question is, Once intimacy between two people is godly… because God desires two people to have that connection… When and how does a marriage become the best it can be? When is a marriage not a marriage? That’s Dean’s dilemma in the book. Those two questions evolved as I wrote the story.

EN: Why is the subject of intimacy so difficult to talk about? Is this an American problem or a universal one?

JZH: Shame, shame, shame is why. The Christian church leaders for centuries and millennia have dictated that sex is sinful, dirty, degrading, shameful--did I mention "shame"? Whether you are a Christian or not, the Western cultures are saturated in this apostate creed. But that's not how God sees it! He sees sexual love as holy, divine, worthwhile, sacred. Basically, I think it has to do with the opposing (rather than integrated) spirit/body split in humans that we (any culture across generations) never manage to reconcile.

My book addresses this dilemma head-on. It portrays a path that seekers of God's plan can choose to take that reconciles these two supposedly opposites into an integrated union of shared vulnerability and intimacy through active 3-way sexual pleasure--the merging of the feminine, masculine, and sacred.

EN: Where can people find out more about it or purchase a copy?

JZH: and Amazon paperback or Kindle ebook.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like this book would be an enjoyable way to learn more about this important topic.203

Ellen Zebrun said...

This book was thoroughly engaging and deeply insightful. Each character's personal epiphany at the end was truly satisfying and believable; each had serious struggles that challenged their personal beliefs and faith. It was a pleasure to walk with them as they faced their past and began telling themselves new stories for a more fulfilling future.

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