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Interview with Zachary A. Pieper

Zachary A. Pieper 
The Garden of Lies

He is a big city man with a country boy heart. An eccentric creative with eclectic tastes. He loves being exposed to new things, learning new things, going on adventures, and making new friends. Hobbies include fitness, gaming, anime, hiking, and outdoor activities, and howling into the abyss.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
As a kid, I started a journal/storybook I called ‘The Zack Files.’ A few months later, a TV show of the same name began.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books?
 Yes, The Garden of Hope.

Q.3 When did you decide to write The Garden Saga series?
February of 2019, after a terrible heartbreak.

Q.4 How do you come up with the names of your books?
I think about the central themes and plot, then throw a poetic spin on them, then shorten to appropriate title length.

Q.5 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t pay upfront for contract work without a written contract.

Q.6 How do you select the names of your characters?
I dream them up on the spot. I like inventing names; I find it intensely entertaining

Q.7 What do you find the most challenging about writing in general?
 Trying to one-up me.

Q.8 How long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote the rough draft of G.O.L. in ten months. The Sequel, The Garden of Hope, took me about 8.

Q.9 What were your feelings when your novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
When I saw the final cover…I had a moment of pause because it was like I was looking at a memory.

Q.10 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What is one stereotype dead on?
I think I am the wrong person to ask; I ignore what people say about other people. What stereotypes exist? I assume there's an assumption we are all basement-dwelling, soggy D&D nerds. That’s obviously not true. I live on the ground floor and have abs. But if you told me all fantasy writers are a bit strange, I’d probably buy that.

Q.11 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
I incorporate all kinds of memes and obscure references in my narrative. The only way you could catch them all is if you literally lived my life.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Not really. I think 95% of the time or more, it's just procrastination. That last genuine 5% is when your trying to figure out how to write something. And for that, you just have to begin attacking the issue from different angles until you solve it, much like practical problems in life.

Q.13 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
The Lycans as depicted in the Underworld movies. Why? Are you kidding me? Superpowers, eternal youth, and a BADASS bestial form. Sign me up yesterday.

Q.14 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
Hard to pick a single book; so many have moved me to tears and inspired me. But for the sake of the question. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s a truly epic original setting, a great story. And a tragic romance into a redemption. Its calls to my hopeless romantic nature.

Q.15 How do your family/friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
They are all very supportive. I am blessed in that way.

Q.16 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No formula, I let my mind wander, I imagine them, I let myself feel them. Then I write down my feelings and refine them.

Q.17 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
A. 1:
Be passionate about what you write. 
2: Be open to critique and constructive criticism. 
3: Don’t take critique from someone you wouldn’t ask for advice from. 
4: Don’t sweat the details too much. That’s what God made editors for.

Q.18 What is the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I think it's hard to understand how a woman sees the world. Our sex determines how we relate to the world around us and how we interact with it. And how it interacts with us… So I think it’s a true challenge to a writer's sense of empathy to write the opposite sex well.

Q.19 Who designed your book covers?
Highly recommended, by the way: great art and excellent customer service.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
Like in general? Positive. Challenging. Enriching. Not for the unserious or casual writer. When your trying to make a novel of the same quality that traditional publishers release, by yourself. It’s a monumental undertaking. But for me, it has been worth it.

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