You can check out the Anatomy of Fear Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hltinsley/the-anatomy-of-fear
Zamil Akhtar is one of twelve authors lending their talents to the upcoming Anatomy of Fear horror and dark fantasy anthology. The collection features original short stories by award-winning indie authors, former SPBFO finalists, and semi-finalists. Merging influences from the horror, grimdark, fantasy, and gothic genres, the Anatomy of Fear asks what we fear and why we fear it.
The team behind the anthology hopes to fund publishing through their Kickstarter campaign, currently running until the 21st of February. You can find a link to the Kickstarter at the bottom of the page if you want to find out more.
To give readers an insight into the thoughts and inspiration behind their stories, the authors have completed interviews detailing their Anatomy of Fear journey – some of which will be posted on blogs and some of which will be exclusive to Kickstarter backers.
Here, Zamil gives us a glimpse into the process of writing his story based on the theme of ‘Skin’.
Can you tell us a little about what inspired your Anatomy of Fear story?
When I was a child, I suffered from severe eczema. I know what it’s like to fear my own skin, so much that there were times that I wanted to just scratch it all off. Because it was so resistant to the typical treatments at the time, I had to endure more serious treatments that were often uncomfortable, which inspired some of the strange memories the main character of my story is repressing.
What themes did you want to address in your story and was this difficult?
The theme of trying to live a normal life while dealing with trauma is a big one. I think that’s pretty universal and something we all struggle with to varying degrees. We also hope we’ll find supportive people to become our friends or even family, but sometimes this can be a double-edged sword, as the main character in the story learns.
Why do you think understanding fear/horror is such an important element of storytelling?
Fear is the most visceral and primal emotion in all life forms, including us. All storytelling involves fear – though we call it “tension” in other types of stories. In the best horror, that tension is simply unbearable. There’s also a background tension – a more subtle sense of dread – that accumulates slowly and gives the best horror fiction multiple layers of fear.
Do you have any phobias you can tell us about?
Like the character in my story, I have trypophobia – fear of clustered holes, like honeycombs. My brain is just so repulsed by it, that whenever I come across a picture that triggers this phobia, it has the potential to sour my mood for a few hours.
How have you overcome or how do you deal with fears in your life?
When I was in my twenties, I had resolved to face all my fears and break out of my shell – live a fearless existence. For example, I have a fear of heights, so I went skydiving. And it was awesome! But now in my thirties, I’m comfortable having certain fears and simply living a life that avoids them. Thankfully, most of my fears aren’t irrational like my trypophobia, so I’ve found that this strategy works.
Are there any writing projects you are working on now you can tell us about?
I’m working on Elder Epoch, the third book in my Gunmetal Gods series, with the release planned for April. It’s packed with cosmic horror!
About the Author
When Zamil was fourteen, he moved from the dry, dune-spotted Arabian peninsula to the hilly, arctic wasteland that is Western Massachusetts. He despises the cold, isn’t very fond of the sun, and prefers spending all day indoors mashing the keyboard in the hopes something great will come of it. When not dreaming up dark and fantastical journeys, he enjoys binging horror movies, wasting precious time arguing about international relations on Reddit, and occasionally traveling somewhere exotic. He currently lives in Dubai with his loving wife and his badly-behaved pet rabbit.
To check out Zamil’s books, please visit: https://zamilakhtar.com/