WOODROW WILSON HIGH SCHOOL Alumni
2007 GRAD'S FIRST BOOK
Wilson High 2007 grad Zach Richardson will be reading from his book: Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Revenge, Everything is Nothing on December 9, 2009 in the Wilson High School Library during lunch. You are invited to come and hear Zach talk about his book, how he wrote it, and how he published it.
After graduating from Wilson, Zach attended the Art Institute of Portland, studying Digital Film and Video. He tells us that his intention from the beginning was to not only, "publish Chronicles of the Apocalypse, but also to write and direct their feature film adaptations." While at the Art Institute, Zach kept working on his book and began exploring various publishing avenues. He decided at the end of winter term last year that, "I could either write full time, or go to school. I couldn't do both. Ultimately, I chose my writing. It was much more important to me, and I don't think I could have stopped writing even if I'd wanted to." It was during that period that Zach learned about self-publishing, and decided to pursue this option with Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Revenge, Everything is Nothing, using an online Print on Demand company called Lulu. Zach said that, "after another year or so of work, I finally published Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Revenge, Everything is Nothing (COTA: REIN for short) on April 29, 2009." As he begin work on marketing his book, he has found that getting the word and building interest in his book is no easy task. He is currently working on getting COTA: REIN stocked in Borders bookstores.
We learned that Zach has been writing since the age of 11. "It started in 6th grade when one of my teachers assigned a creative writing assignment one day, and for whatever reason my mind just ran with it," states Zach. "After that, I started writing fan fiction, and it was then that I realized that I really loved writing." By 8th grade, he was working on a piece that would end up being a 300 page piece based on the Japanese anime, Mobile Suit Gundam. "Though it was based in that show's universe and used its technology, the characters and story were my own. Once I finished that, I tried my hand at writing wholly original stories," adds Zach.
It has taken Zach over five years to write COTA: REIN. In the beginning, he just called it Revenge, Everything is Nothing. He remembers that, "Chronicles of the Apocalypse didn't exist yet. But for some reason, when I finished writing chapter 4 of REIN, I hit the worst writer's block I've ever suffered. Nothing I did could break it. So, after a while, I moved on to writing another story. I got to chapter 7 on this one before writer's block struck again. Finally, I moved on to one of my first original pieces. I'd already gone through several versions in my head, and the only thing that remained consistent was the idea of a demonic invasion and a main character with pyrokinesis. It was around this time that I realized all three of these stories had something in common. They all dealt with demons and demonic powers. I had an epiphany then, and spent an entire day weaving all three of those stories together into one cohesive tale. Thus, Chronicles of the Apocalypse was born. After another three years, three drafts, and setbacks galore, the book evolved into it's current form."
Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Revenge, Everything is Nothing is a story of revenge and redemption. The main character is a 36 year old man named Jin Sakai. Five years before the book begins, his wife and two children were murdered and Jin has spent those years living in a self-imposed exile. But when the same people who killed his family try to kill him as well, Jin takes up his sword and sets out on a furious quest for revenge. But what he doesn't know is what's going on behind the scenes, and the instant he sets out on his mission, he unwittingly makes himself one of the key players in a war that's brewing just beneath the surface. We asked Zach about who should be reading his book. He tells us that "COTA: REIN is a dark, brutal story and my age recommendation for it would be a minimum of 16."
As for influential teachers at Wilson, Zach recalls that Ms. Botula would be one of his favorites. Despite the positive and negative fluctuations in his life as a student, "she was always understanding of things and encouraged me to keep my head above water and keep working." He also found biology teacher Mr. Relampagos' attitude refreshing. "He was always fair, but didn't put up with all the loudmouth shenanigans from the other students. That made me realize that it was okay for me to not have much of a tolerance for that myself."
Zach's mother, Lucinda Richardson, was a special-ed teacher at Wilson his senior year. "That was interesting, to say the least." says Zach. "Never could slip any unwanted homework by her, but that doesn't mean I ever actually did it. *wink*."
As far as advice for current Wilson students, Zach reflects back on something that happened at Jackson Middle School. He tells us that "Back in middle school, we had this motivational speaker come talk to us once. I don't remember who he was, what he did, or just about anything else that he said. The one thing that I do remember was a piece of advice he gave us. A piece of advice that has been at the heart of everything I've done over the last five years."
"To be truly happy in life, find something you love doing, and then find someone who'll pay you to do it."
"Those words have been my motto ever since I knew I loved writing. And if I had to add any of my own words on top of that, I would tell the current students at Wilson that if there is something they want, or something they want to do, I would ask them to remember this: If you set your mind to it, and don't let yourself get discouraged, nothing is ever a question of if, only when."
To schedule a book reading with Zach, he can be reached at: email@example.com.