My best friend asked me the other day why I chose to self publish Autumn in Carthage. Isn’t self publishing for lazy and untalented hacks who haven’t had the gumption to go through the traditional process?
Here’s why: I have a fondness for artisanal wares—painstakingly handcrafted items whose flaws and blemishes only highlight the organic beauty of the whole. With this book, therefore, I wanted to have final say in every stage of the creative process. I had a lot of help: as was proper, editing and interior design were left to professionals; the cover reflects the artistic genius of Scarlett Rugers. But the vision embodied in theend product is mine alone.
There was, however, a deeper reason. Self publishing carries enormous and largely untapped potential for shining light into dark spaces. Large publishing houses tend to avoid genuinely bold, transgressive fiction—unless it comes from big name authors. In unshackling writers from corporate oversight, the self publishing revolution has allowed them to reclaim their status asnovelists. To speak truth to power, tilt against some orthodoxies, to reach beyond the boundaries of mere entertainment and dig deep into the human condition. Offend some people, perhaps. In other words, to once again be socially and politically relevant. Thus far, the potential for transgression has largely been exploited by erotica writers. Nothing wrong with that, and more power to them. Indeed, some work in that genre (especially “dark erotica”) runs astonishingly deep and true. But there is a vast range of social and political issues that could do with similar boundary-pushing.
This book, then, seeks to make a little trouble.
"Autumn in Carthage" Review:
On a review continuum commencing at "Yes, I liked the book," "Autumn in Carthage" comes in at "much loved-definitely a re-reader." Compelling, literate, enterprising my written and conceived, author Christopher Zenos is unafraid to explore new and primarily unexplored, undiscovered territory in this novel that refuses to be set aside. Mental disorders; the uglier (greed and ambition-driven, competitive) aspect of Academe, and yes, even the seemingly impossible Supernatural: you shall find it here. Engaging individualized characters, poetically descriptive settings, and always, always, that imminent sense of implacability: of the narrator/protagonist's universe, of the inexplicable lost of his boon companion, of the strange and twisty Supernatural elements poised along the backdrop like a Greek chorus waiting to emerge....