Who is on the plum tree?
Meet & Greet John Zunski on the OB
Life can’t be encapsulated into a single genre, neither can John Zunski’s novels. From stories of impossible love to forays into the darkest recesses of the mind, Zunski explores the human experience. We all know life is often wondrous and at other times challenging, sometimes horrifying – John’s characters are not immune, often thrust into situations a reader wouldn’t wish upon an enemy. A reader experiences the richness of the character’s feelings, understands their fears, celebrates their triumphs, shares their joys, joins them in laughter and in tears. Like friends, his characters may find a place in a reader’s heart.
Characters are but one element in John’s work. Like a rollercoaster, his stories aren’t for the faint of heart. His stories elicit reactions from the reader as they’re whisked through the twists, turns, and loops of his novels. A reader may laugh, cry, feel repulsed and rejoice within a chapter.
John believes that creating engrossing fiction entails weaving a web of elaborate lies and presenting them to the reader in a believable fashion. “It is the job of a fiction writer to lie to the reader – but to do so in such a manner that the reader is appreciative of being entangled in a beautiful web of embellishment.”
John’s first novel, Cemetery Street, is a glimpse into the happiness and tragedy that accompanies us as we navigate our way through the minefields of adolescence into the indecisiveness of early adulthood. The following is from novelist Daniel Shortell’s critique: “Cemetery Street has several themes, but, at its core, it is a tale of love that never bloomed in a manner befitting the protagonist. The story is told from the perspective of James Morrison and begins with him, as an adult, reflecting on the loss of a childhood friend-cum-confidant-cum-lover. The story quickly takes root in James’ past where Zunski pieces together the trials and tribulations of the teenage years, as experienced by James and his close knit group of friends, growing up in the shadows of a cemetery. A cemetery which, throughout the story, provides a constant reminder of the fragility and sometimes abbreviated nature of life.”
Zunski’s storytelling strong hand lies in his suppression of the reveal, choosing instead to focus on character development – diving deep into their thoughts, troubles, and challenges. It is done with a certain finesse that allows the reader to become a witness to events rather than merely a page turning machine.
Zunski’s second work, Shangri-La Trailer Park is a gritty, yet humorous look into the underbelly of society. At its core it is a tale of redemption, in which the protagonist is offered a second chance to prevent a needless death. Rooted in rural culture and sprinkled with Blackfoot mythology, Shangri-La Trailer Park challenges one’s social mores while taking the reader on a wild ride into the dark side of the mind.
In his writing, John challenges his own believes and morals. “If something I write elicits a personal reaction, I know I’m onto something; I take a deep breath, hold it and continue down that path, trusting the muse will not lead me astray.”
John’s worst fear? “To one day wake up a character in one of my stories.”