This author is extremely talented and knows how to capture his readers with vast amount of emotion in his writing. He can paint a picture with his pen like a painter with his brush. I had the pleasure to interview John Zunski and read his new novel called Cemetery Street, who also wrote Shangri-La Trailer Park. These novels are available in several sites, like Smashword and Amazon. Now lets take a journey in getting to know the author and view his world in his eyes, also in writing.
- ::Author Interview:: ::John Zunski::
A) Hi Carmen, John Zunski here, and Zunski isn’t a pen name, though the name has penned a novel or two. I’m glad to have a semi-unique name as not to be confused with established authors. I know an author named Stephen King, no, not that Stephen King, so imagine the dilemma he faces. I think I’ll stick with my given name. Plus, my name has provided me with cool initials – JAZ.
2) At What age did you start writing?
A) I was introduced to the world with a pen in hand, before I could crawl I drew squiggly lines on my crib. When I could walk, I found my way to the typewriter, maybe it the noise of the keys, that rhythmic ratta-tat-tat sounded more magical than music, or maybe it was the bell that dinged after a bunch of ratta-tat-tats. Whatever it was, I found myself looking up, impatient to sit before it. When I finally did, I made lots of noise and a blizzard of scrap paper.
Okay, it didn’t happen quite like that, but, I write fiction and that sounded interesting.
In reality, I was anything but a prodigy. In my early years I struggled with reading, I couldn’t understand that sotp was pronounced stop or that gniht was pronounced night and that meant time for bed. Despite the confusion, something about reading seemed magical – that I could open a book and fall into another world. I wanted to be a magician, I wanted to create worlds people would enjoy.
3) What do you do/use for inspiration?
A) The flippant answer is life. Great characters and plots are all around, patiently waiting to harvested. That doesn’t mean I literary translate what I see to the page, but with a dash of embellishment and two pinches of creativity, the elements of a story are placed in the mixing bowl called a manuscript. Then the ingredients are spiced up and whipped into a delicious novel.
4) How do you manage your real life and your writing life?
A) I would like to say they’re neatly compartmentalized and they don’t bleed into each other, but that would be a lie. I guard my writing life very jealously – meaning, I make sure that time is set aside to both further my craft and promote published works. That being said, I own a small-town bar and the demands of business occasionally cut into writing time, which is dangerous, because I have a tendency to be cranky if I’m not writing. It’s as if the ideas accumulate within my mind and press against my skull demanding release.
5) What is the hardest and the easiest part of the writing process for you?
A) I’ve found that my creativity is sharpest in the wee-hours. So the hardest part of writing is pulling myself out of a warm bed and sitting before my computer. The easiest part, is when the muse slips from the moonlit shadows and reveals what it has in store. It’s also the most joyous part of writing.
6) Do you have any plans for your current book and any upcoming books?
A) Cemetery Street is about to be released in paperback by Orangeberry Publishing. Shangri-La Trailer Park was recently released as an e-book and will be released in paperback in 2013. My third book, Nightwatching, which is a ghost story, will be released later this year as an e-book with the paperback tentatively scheduled for 2014.
7) What kind of genre do you classify your writing style?
(A) Life can’t be encapsulated into a single genre, neither can my work. The novels range from stories of impossible love to forays into the darkest recesses of the mind. In short I enjoy exploring the human experience. My stories aren’t for the faint of heart. A reader may laugh, cry, feel repulsed and rejoice within a chapter. Creating engrossing fiction entails weaving a web of elaborate lies and presenting them to the reader in a believable fashion. It’s my job to lie to the reader – but to do so in such a manner that the reader is appreciative of being entangled in that web of embellishment.
8) Are there any characters in your books (published or unpublished) based off real people?
A) Of course. But very rarely do I snatch one without tweaking or combining personality traits with other ‘inspirational sources. I’ve been blessed in life with incredible voyeuristic opportunities, I would be discarding that gift if I didn’t mix real people into the fray. I’ve met some characters, that if I simply dropped them into a story, wouldn’t be believable. That’s the curse of a fiction writer.
9) Are there any events in your books based on real events? If so, What inspired you to use them in your novel?
A) In Cemetery Street I used news events of the 80’s and 90’s to lend relatability to the storyline. The most obvious example is the Gulf War segment. A ton of research went into the sub-plot to give it authenticity. As a reader, nothing turns me off more than a plot line based on real events that has historical errors.
10) Is there a certain person who has either influenced or inspired you in writing?
A) I’ve cited three major influences: John Irving, Stephen King and Carl Hiaasen. John Irving because the depth of his characters, Stephen King because it’s all about the story, and Carl Hiaasen because, for me, he makes the absurd seem plausible.
11) Do any of your books have any hidden messages for the readers? What is it?
A) Of course they do. But if I told you, or a reader, I would rob everyone involved of discovering my intent or worse yet, obscuring meaning that a reader assigns to any given circumstance.
12) Do you have any advice or tips to new writers?
A) Never, ever, give up. Honor thy craft as if it is a sacred part of thyself. Despite the difficulties and frustrations the process brings, it’s all worth it. Cemetery Street took ten years from the completion of the first draft to it found the light of publication. Seeing it published was one of the greatest joys of my life. Don’t be guilty of denying yourself such an accomplishment or worse yet, don’t deny a potential reader the uniqueness of your creativity.
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