If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
-The overconfident, pretentious, aspiring Michelin-star chef in me wants to choose a high-society author who would be accustomed to, yet nevertheless impressed with, fine dining. I’m thinking Fitzgerald would appreciate a tasting menu of consommes, canapes, perhaps a honeydew and mint granita served in a clear glass bowl atop a green lamp... But in truth, I’d want my dinner companion to be a conversationalist, so probably Mark Twain. No matter what I made, there’d be jokes. And bourbon.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
-I think I suffer the same human fear that most writers do -- that I’m not good enough. I suppose I combat this by hiding behind symbolism, double-entendre, and as often as I can, humor. Though, I’ve learned with Advent that being honest about my experiences and emotions allows me to ignore the ‘good enough’ question and present myself as is for anyone who can relate. That’s the goal, anyway: to make a connection with the reader.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
-Sofia from How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents has always been an alluring character for me because of her wild, passionate, impulsive nature and her deep love for those around her. Plus, she seems like a lot of fun.
What books are on your nightstand?
-John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
-Well, for Advent, becoming a father to my (first) daughter was the most remarkable and changing experience of my life thus far. Anyone with kids can attest to the evolution a person goes through when they become a parent for the first time. When I couple that love and responsibility with my vision for my own, personal future -- my passions, my goals, my fears -- I find that this is the stuff of life that connects all of us. Why not explore it?
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
-I’m a sucker for an em dash -- I find the emphasis it creates striking. Besides, it’s so versatile, when I’m not sure if I should use a comma, a colon, or parentheses, the em dash is always there to cover up my lack of grammatical sophistication.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I read the first chapter, and hated it. The exposition, the creation of a new, futuristic society, was so foreign and odd that it made me uncomfortable. Interestingly, as a high school English teacher, I had to teach the book recently. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I recall, but -- no offense to Mr. Huxley -- it was still difficult to swallow the futuristic tale from the past.
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
-I’d like to thank the internet, not for its endless access to infinite knowledge, but for its constant role as a distraction when I need distraction (not to mention when I don’t).
Why do you write? The first 5 words that come to mind. Go.
-To allow myself to be.
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
-You’re not going to find yourself in here -- go discover yourself in others.
ADVENT by Zachary Collins is a poetry collection of subtlety. Collins depicts family life, love, and nature without a kitschy moment. The collection is ripe with imagery and melody.