Meet the author: Zac Gorman


– When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

I did! Like a lot of kids in the 90’s, I remember reading a lot of Goosebumps starting maybe around first or second grade. Early on, I was mostly into fantasy and horror stuff, as well as comics. Lots and lots of comics! I loved superhero stuff, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side. It was also around that time that I first read The Hobbit which really started my love of reading longer books.

What was your favorite author or book?

The first adult novel I read when I was about your age was Jurassic Park and it was a revelatory experience. I loved the book (although, in retrospect, I think I like the movie more) but the thing it taught me was that I could read pretty much any book I wanted! I still loved kids books—and I still do!—but the realization that I could read essentially any book in the library really opened up the world of reading to me, so it was very special for that reason.

how do you get your story ideas?

Everything is a mash up of the stuff I love. Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain has a lot of Dungeons & Dragons in it, a lot of Terry Pratchett, and little bits from all the fantasy and comedy that I enjoy. I think that you learn about telling stories by absorbing stories, then you take what you’ve learned and mix it all up in the blender of your brain. You analyze it, think about it, sleep on it, and hopefully a delicious book smoothie comes out the other end.

is it hard to write a book?

Yes and no! I’d have to assume that it’s hard to write a good book, which is why I recommend that most people instead try to write something that they enjoy. Writing a “good” book is next to impossible but writing something you enjoy isn’t nearly as difficult! It does still take a while though.

what authors do you like right now? Any lesser known ones you can recommend?

He’s not unknown but I always wish I’d gotten into Terry Pratchett when I was younger. Currently, I’ve been reading a lot of China Miéville and Clive Barker. Barker’s known for his adult horror writing but he also wrote a very underrated YA series called The Books of Abarat that’s packed with a ton of cool, imaginative ideas.

what is the best part of being an author?

Spending your days writing, reading and researching and getting to call it work!

What do you use to complete your illustrations?

I draw almost entirely digitally, on either my Cintiq or iPad. I usually draw in Clip Studio or Procreate but occasionally I still use Photoshop too.

any advice for a kid who wants to be an author?

The obvious advice is to write a lot but I hate to be too obvious, so I’ll say that you also need to consume a lot of stories. And I don’t mean just reading either! Obviously, if you want to be a writer, you need to read a lot, but also you need to watch TV and movies, play video games, read comics. And when you do, don’t just consume these things passively, think about what they’re trying to say, about how they’re saying it. Think about what works when you watch or read something. Think about what you like about it and what you didn’t like and how you’d do things differently.

– If you could portal into any of your works, which would you portal into?

This is probably the most boring answer ever but I like where I am! I put too many monsters into my books and if I’m being honest, I’d much rather write about monsters from the safety of my comfy office than have to confront them in a dark alley.

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