Friday, May 24, 2013

Its Official!

The People's Republic Of Nowhere 
Maxwell Zachs
ISBN: 9781301763931

Imagine a world where laughter is forbidden, where colours are banned and even the sunshine can kill you. Such is life in The People's Republic, a country cut off from the rest of the world, imprisoned by its own walls and sustained by paranoia. 

Surrounded on all sides by a chemical wasteland it's population exists only to serve production, drugged on the propaganda that they are the last people left on earth. 

Set against this bleak landscape is Sixth Born Son, at odds not only with society but his own family he must find a way not just to live but also to love- the most dangerous crime of them all.

'The People's Republic Of Nowhere' is the first novel written and published by Maxwell Zachs, well known for his role on Channel Four's 'My Transsexual Summer' his latest offering comes not on the screen but the page. Here's what he has to say for himself. 

What's your book about? 

Max: I guess I have always been a political person so its no surprise that left to my own devices for a year with little more than a pen, paper and truckloads of snow (I've been in Sweden!) I would write a novel that looks so critically at society and the way it functions. My narrative is set in 'The People's Republic' which is an entirely fictional place- however I think my readers will recognise much of the familiar within its borders, albeit slightly changed. 

My book is about a young person who lives in a world that he doesn't quite understand, a world that certainly doesn't understand him, in which he struggles to find a place for himself. I guess in many ways it's a story about what it often feels like to be me, I realise that now its finished! 

Is this a 'gay' novel?

Max: I have to think pretty hard about this question because my protagonist is pretty unsure about his gender and sexuality and 'The People's Republic' is a society where the concept of sexuality is simply non-existent. However, the book does explore the acts and consequences of love that isn't 'straight' so I guess in that sense it is a gay novel. There's also a fair bit of man-on-man action so that might be a giveaway..! 

What inspired you?

Max: Actually it was a charity called Iranian Queer Railroad that supports LGBTQ people, who have escaped the brutal regime in Iran, build news lives as asylum seekers around the world. I really felt a strong kinship with these people who had survived pretty harrowing experiences only to come out the other side stronger and more determined but also desperately in need of a helping hand. I also spent some time in Korea with imprisoned gay men and drew a lot of strength and inspiration from their fierce dedication to being themselves regardless of the price they had to pay.  

Where can we get a copy? 

'The People's Republic of Nowhere' is available for download for all e-reading devices from the Smashwords website here: 

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Very pleased to be entering the final stages of self publishing. On sunday my lovely editor Missmandu sent me my manuscript and I spent all day monday looking at little comments that said "Consider Revising: use grammar" and berating myself as to why I just didn't do that in the first place.  

However, I got it done with her help and the use of my flatmates old but trusty laptop. I love my ipad a whole lot but its actually not so good for editing large documents. One day when I am somewhat less poor I am going to invest on one of those little net books and use it just for word processing and document formatting. One day... One day... 

On the subject of formatting, as soon as I finished editing the last of my manuscript I sent it off in the nick of time to the probably masochistic person who formats ebooks. I keep promising myself that I will learn to do this myself (I will do it, I promise!) but in the mean time there's someone else to do that particularly onerous task. I expect to get it back tomorrow and then it sonly a short while before the product of an entire years not watching television is available for you to read for the princely sum of £1.99. 

This morning I tallied up what I have written so far and I am almost a quarter of the way through the sequel which makes me very happy. It is coming along much quicker. I am a fast but painful learner, the first time I do anything is usually horrific but I generally only need to make a mistake once to learn (unless it has to do with romance but that is another blog entirely!). Its exciting despite my intense laziness and procrastination to think my book(s) will be out there in the world. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Closer and Closer

This week the final draft of the cover designs came back so that is all done and dusted. Tomorrow the final text edits come back and my book will be 100% typo free. I don't have a high attention to detail and I tend to get completely wrapped up in putting words on the page as opposed to putting words correctly on the page. That's why the help of my text editor has been invaluable. It's kinda amazing how you can be staring at your own text for hours and there are mistakes staring you in the face but you can't see the wood for the trees. When she sent me a annotated version of my first chapter with all the typo's highlighted in yellow I nearly died of shame- I have a degree in English so I should know how to use apostrophes and colons but evidently I need to go back to first year and relearn the grammar of the English language. 

Once the edited typo free text is back I can send it off to the formatters. Formatting was the thing I was most dreading. Ebooks have to be submitted in a special format that allows them to be magicked by the computers so that they display properly on all the worlds different e-reading devices and like I said above- attention to detail is not my strong point, I'm more if an ideas man. Not only that but I'm using a tablet computer which I love but they're not so great for layouts etc... You can imagine I was over the moon when I found a professional formatting service who said they could format my whole book for just $25usd. Lets hope that all goes smoothly because the next step is worldwide distribution! 

Sample Chapter

Chapter One

Everything is dry in the People's Republic, even when it rains. The People are slaves to production, they eat it, they sleep with it, production reigns supreme. Everything is done with the utmost efficiency, the straight line is our God- nothing bubbles or gurgles or giggles or explodes here. Everything that is not production is reduced to its barest minimum. Communication is an act of he unnecessary and so it was been boiled down to curt nods, a slight lift an an eyebrow, a flick of a finger, these dehydrated movements are such subtle indicators of more expansive expressions that half the time I can only imagine what people are talking about. I never got the hang of pretending I knew what was going on and sometimes I wondered if everyone was just playing along to some ridiculous game. Perhaps no one in the People's Republic ever knows exactly what anyone else is saying. It seems we have rendered communication pointless. 

A Cover

I'm very excited that the cover design is finally finished, I'm starting to feel like a real author now! It looks great, I'm not a big fan of clutter so I really like how clean it is. Grey is actually my favourite colour so I was really pleased that Eve used so much of it! Its come along way from the original ideas versions and I am left astounded by the skills of my designer friends who can make an image out of me sitting there waffling 'its sort of dystopia, like chemicals and pollution but kinda anonymous so you don't know where it is and bla bla bla' and then voila! 

Thanks to Eve Penfold ( and Elliot Foxprince for their time and patience!