Interview: Behind the Scenes With Author Zachary Aneiress
Dive Into a Fantasy Unlike Any Other
Zachary Aneriess is a unique author in the sense that his background is rather marginalized and he uses this to create desired effects on his literature. He recently released a book, Athens Ophelia, which you can read to lose yourself in a most interesting adventure. Here are some questions and answers from the author:
Is this your first book? If so, what was your impetus for writing the book?
This is my first book. Self-love had a lot to do with writing it. If I didn't love myself I wouldn't have written this book but because I love myself, I know it's needed in the world and I want something like this in the world that shows as a black child, that growing up has no rules, we're all human. Sexuality is for you, emotions are for you and uncertainty is part of the human experience in a world that can make you feel like you’re a blank canvas and they have right to create you to their liking. And that's not true.
How would you describe Athens Ophelia?
Some people have told me from basic description that it's like Wonder Woman meets Harry Potter. And that's a high compliment in itself, as both are great entertainment of fantasy and empowerment on good versus evil, and Athens Ophelia sure has those themes in it. But for me, Athens Ophelia is its own thing. It's a not every day we get to experience something like this where an African American teenage male is lead and not being a magical negro and dying as soon as they get there. But instead being the focus of it and going through such taboo experiences that don't get spoken about in literature like sexuality and being more than just displayed as an uneducated thug. He's very much real.
The subtitle is “the Misadventures of Growing Up Extraordinary,” could you elaborate a bit on that?
In the first volume, it’s pretty clear Aneiress is extraordinary as he tries his best to grow up and he's in a new place that's basically an adventure to him. But it’s also twisted because of all the things he has to deal with, like racism, homophobia, sexism and people telling him he's not supposed to do certain things based on him as a person and that's a misadventure in its self, isn't it? People suppressing you for their own personal benefit.
What were some of the key challenges for you when writing this book?
Like many authors my challenges or struggles are very common like storyline, characters and place with settings but mostly it was truth. It's like watching ROOTS in a white classroom, and you're the only different variety. You have to view the uncomfortable things in order to learn. So, writing Athens Ophelia was a challenge because I had to view the truth instead of lying to myself.
What do you feel you learned from the process of writing the book?
Representation is important. Because we'd all do things differently than the other. Me being black has a tremendous effect on how I handle things versus if I was white or Hispanic.
What would you like your readers to take away from the story?
That's a tricky question because I want them to come back and read more; but I hope they take away a sense of fantasy, if comparisons are correct I hope that they feel the way they feel when they read Harry Potter and watch Wonder Woman. Fun, adventure and excitement.
Are you working on any other books?
The first book was split into two books; Athens Ophelia Volume One : The Misadventures Of Growing Up Extraordinary & Athens Ophelia Volume Two : Night Of The Festival so now I'm working on the third book and few other ideas. So, fingers crossed.