Zachary Ryan grew up in a black-and-white box in Maryland, before moving to Chicago to start a new life. There, he found that he was accepted for his misfit status—and learned that it’s perfectly normal to spend your twenties feeling lost and confused.
After a disastrous sexual encounter, Ryan stumbled on a group of true friends, or “soul cluster,” that he connected with. Through his writing, he hopes to help other broken souls out there find comfort amid the chaos.
What inspires you to write?
Music!! I think music is the biggest inspiration for me. It puts me in the right headspace for me to be able to write. Silent Screams was inspired by a line from Katie Turner's song Prom Queen.Waiting for an applause never meant for me.
What is your writing process? So, I'll start with an idea for a book. It might be a character, an event, or the ending of a novel. I'll build off that buy creating other characters surrounded by that main character. I'll try to do 4-5 characters and their arcs. Then plan out all of the chapters and start writing.
If fiction, do you actually “talk” to your characters?
I don't talk to my characters, but they piss me off more than they should. I actually talk about them like real people. My husband jokes and reminds me that I created these characters and can change them, but sadly, it discredits who they are.
What advice would you give to other authors?
My biggest advice is that you need to be in love with what you're writing. You have to be its biggest cheerleader because no one will love it as much as you do. Also, be open to criticism. You need to accept not everyone is going to like your work.
What do you think about the future of publishing?
I honestly think that it's getting harder. We have so many people producing novels that it's harder to get your novels noticed. You have to hussle!
What drove you to the field of writing?
I've been writing since I was six years old. I always wrote stories and such. I wrote my first novel at 17. I wish it was some profound experience that made me want to write, but it's something I've always done.
What do you think makes a good book, fiction or non-fiction?
I think when the author is very authentic to themselves and novel. I don't like when novels are similar to other novels. I like reading something that's completely different. I want to be kept entertained.
What is the hardest part about writing?
Editing. I honestly can't stand editing. I just think it takes all the creative fun out of writing. I know it's extremely important for a novel, and you have to do it. I'm like a little kid throwing a fit when I have to edit a novel.
What does the word creative mean to you?
I think it means whatever you want it to be as long as you step outside of yourself. I always fall in love with people who have creative side either music, art, and different styles of writing.
How do you hone creativity?
Practice and being true to myself. I wrote novels that weren't my favorite because I wasn't true to myself. You find a great rhythm for your writing, and it's a damn joy I found mine. I love being able to do two different styles without getting bored.
What is the title of your own book and the synopsis?
My personal novel would be called Dumpster Fire. My friends will get the joke. It's all about me laughing at myself, having a good ole drunk time, and being there for my friends.
What compelled you to write this subject?
I wanted to write a good ya coming of age novel. I added the shooting aspect because there are so many shootings in the United States. No one talks about the trauma after the shooting and how their lives are. We always focus on the political instead of the emotional. I wanted to write a novel based off those feelings.
Are you releasing anything else? If so, what, and when is the release? I have a new novel called Cutthroat Cheerleader. It will be out in late September early October. It's a campy murder mystery. It's a lot like my High School Queens trilogy.
How do you research for your projects?
I'll look up people on Instagram to use as characters in my novels and use them as descriptions. I'll also look up small towns to place my characters. Other than that, I don't do much research.
What are your goals as an author? I think my number one goal is for people to find comfort in their lives with my novels. I've been through so much in my life, and I want people to never feel like their alone in this world. I want to always reach as many people as I can with my novel.
What are your favorite books? Fan Girl by Rainbow Rodwell. Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin. Poor Little Bitch Girl by Jackie Collins.
Who are your favorite authors or self-help gurus?
John Green and Rainbow Rodwell are my favorite current authors. Fitzgerald and Baldwin are my two classic authors.
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