Hey, guys! It’s time to reveal the cover for the A.C. Cross’s new novella, Zoo!! Before the reveal, though, we’ve got a bit of a Q&A!!
So what is the pitch for Zoo?
Imagine if you could take a tour through someone’s mind and view the things that make them unique. Now imagine you were on the tour with a peppy tour guide and that all the exhibits are mental illness, regrets, and other things that weigh a person down. ‘Zoo’ is simply me writing what a tour through me would look like.
What is your favorite thing about this story?
I think I love how open this book is more than anything else. When you read it, you’re going to see me. Warts and all. Things you may not want to know, in fact. But it’s honest and that matters to me.
What were your biggest influences on this book?
Well, my cover designer Luke has a similar sort of thoughtful memoir-ish thing out and it struck a chord in me while reading it. But anyone that is open and willing to share parts of themselves online and publicly have impacted it even a little bit.
How did you get the idea?
It’ll sound strange, but it just…came to me. At the time of writing, and even now, I was (am) wrestling with some significant events and aspects to my life that just thinking about won’t fix. Having it written down was, in a way, kind of purging things. Not like in a gross way, but in a cleansing way. It came out because it needed to.
Do you have a favorite line or any dialogue you’d like to share?“If the zoo reaches the milestone of being a Movie Reference in about four years or so, we may be receiving a giant specimen of Shame, but negotiations are on-going.” – This only works in context and is meant to be both funny and sad. Hopefully that comes across.
What was your favorite part about writing this? And do you have a favorite scene?
Normally, writing is one of my favorite things to do. This wasn’t something that was ‘enjoyable’ so much as it was ‘necessary’. That’s not to say I’m not proud of it – I definitely am – but this wasn’t a laugh riot to write. It was kind of like sweating blood at moments. Favorite scenes though? Definitely the last two chapters. Those hit the hardest and were the toughest to write, but the most cathartic.
Were there any challenges to putting something like this together?
The main challenge was figuring out exactly what to do with it! Should I post it on my blog? Should I keep it to myself to avoid potential embarrassment? Ultimately, going forward and publishing it was the best move, I felt. It gave me a reason to keep going with it.
How did writing this compare to Where Blood Runs Gold? Was there any overlapand/or differences in your approach or process?
This was almost entirely different! For Where Blood Runs Gold, I took my time, tinkered with it, sent it through extensive edits, and worked to create a cohesive world for the characters. It was laborious but enjoyable and exciting for me to see what came next. Zoo was…I couldn’t do anything else while writing it. I mean that literally. It was like all the other pieces I’m working on ceased to exist and the only thing that could be written was this. It took me about a week and when it was done, it was like a leash had been taken off the other books and I could write again. I’ve never had a book take my full attention before and it’s a strange feeling. Not necessarily bad, but it’s something that sticks with you, even when it’s over.
Were there any unexpected rewards or difficulties to writing something this vulnerable?
Offline, I don’t regularly discuss the things within the book. Sure, if someone asks me about them, I’ll tell them, but I don’t typically volunteer information about myself. Certainly not some of the more sensitive topics that Zoo touches on. There are things that I’m not proud of in the book. Things that I’ve done and haven’t done that aren’t ideal and aren’t things about myself that I particularly like. But the story deserved nothing less than total openness, so I had to set my ego aside and let the story be what it was going to be. Even now, I have some apprehension about putting it all out there, but what the hell, right?
How do you think writing this has shaped your approach to your work, and do you thinkit will influence anything you put out going forward? Is there anything we can look forward to coming down the line?
There are things in the book, especially near the end, that are absolutely going to affect my work moving forward. There are some things that I touch on that are never going away and have profoundly affected my world. So, yeah, there will definitely be some themes and ideas in future books that will cut deeper to the bone than I expect I’m intending! In a way, I’m excited to see how it all works moving forward. I’d like to think that my writing becomes more mature, although there will never NOT be dick and alcohol jokes because there has to be some humor in everything.
As far as future work, I actually have a noir thriller that’s in the middle of edits right now! I’m also hard at work on the Where Blood Runs Gold sequel, another story set in San Dios that is a reinterpretation of the Labors of Hercules, and a cyber-punk-ish story that has a neat family element to it that I didn’t expect. If you like what I write, you definitely will have options coming at you over the next few years (hopefully decades).
Synopsis and Cover Reveal
Welcome to the Zoo!
Inside, you won’t find tigers or lions but Anxieties galore.
You’ll crawl through the Depression Caves and gallivant through the Regret Gardens.
You’ll see wondrous creatures that will tug at the very heart of you.
And at the very end, amidst it all, we offer you one more surprise.
Join us for a tour today!
Zoo by A.C. Cross
Genre: Dark Memoir
Expected Publication: November 23rd, 2022
Cover Artist: Nightcafe Studio
Cover Designer: Luke Tarzian
A.C. Cross is a doctor, but not the kind that you want treating you for kidney stones or pneumonia or anything. That’d likely make your situation much worse.
He (currently) lives in the Great White North of the United States as a bearded, single man.
He’s a lover of words, many of which you have just read in this very book.
He’s an admitted scotch whisky and beer snob and his liver would not argue with him.
He has written four books now, including this one, but the other three (in the Roboverse) are funny and not nearly as sweary or violent.
You can find more about him as well as some neat little free stories at www.aaronccross.com.
Find him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/daneatscatfood