S. Atzeni – Championing Diverse Voices in Literature

S. Atzeni discusses their journey as a multi-genre writer, academic, and literary activist, highlighting inspirations behind their works and the editorial mission of Read Furiously Publishing.

S. Atzeni is a multi-genre, award-winning writer whose work spans prose, comics, and academic scholarship. With a B.A. in Professional Writing and Journalism and an M.A. in English from The College of New Jersey, Atzeni brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to their craft. As an adjunct professor specializing in ethnography, sequential art studies, and trauma theory, Atzeni combines their academic pursuits with a deep commitment to literary activism. Co-founder of Read Furiously Publishing, Atzeni plays a pivotal role in fostering an independent literary community, advocating for voices often overlooked by mainstream publishers.

In this enlightening interview, S. Atzeni shares insights into their multifaceted journey, from the inspirations behind their graphic novel series The MOTHER Principle to the editorial ethos guiding Read Furiously. We delve into the themes of their upcoming work in the One ‘n Done series, explore the intersection of their academic and creative endeavors, and gain valuable advice for aspiring writers navigating the complexities of the publishing world. Join us as we uncover the mind and mission behind one of today’s most dynamic literary figures.

Can you tell us about your journey into writing, particularly what inspired you to delve into prose, comics, and academic scholarship?

I started my journey in college as a journalism/professional writing major where I was lucky enough to learn from very talented journalists, authors, and playwrights. When I went back to graduate school, I became very interested in ethnography and carved out a niche for myself in comics scholarship and trauma theory. I’m very lucky that I get to spend all day learning, researching, and reading because I constantly find inspiration.

Your graphic novel series, The MOTHER Principle, explores complex themes. What drove you to tackle these subjects, and what do you hope readers take away from it?

In this story, I wanted to express the complicated themes of motherhood, family dynamics, and the heaviness of generational expectations. In this case, the Sisters all carry the weight of the famous women they are based on, but they also struggle with their place within their family dynamic/hierarchy. In writing this, I wanted readers to take away that our past and present may become complicated, but there is always an opportunity to create a future on our terms – even if it’s one that we aren’t expecting.

As the co-founder of Read Furiously Publishing, could you share some insights into your editorial process and what you look for in submissions?

We started Read Furiously with the intent to support and publish authors who are often overlooked by the Big 5. Too many authors are rejected because larger publishers don’t want to take a chance on niche or specialized writing, so we look for authors who believe in the indie spirit of community and collaboration. As a smaller publishing house, collaboration is essential not only for the editorial process, but for book promotion as well. We are also a press that believes in giving back through literary activist efforts, so it’s important for our authors’ value systems to align with our mission statement.

Your upcoming volume in the One ‘n Done series, W(h)ine and Cheese, seems intriguing. What can readers expect from this work, and what themes does it explore?

I wanted to write my own version of a campus novel. The beauty of our bestselling One ‘n Done series is that the author and reader get to take a chance on a genre they’ve never written or read before. W(h)ine and Cheese is a tribute to those awkward, pseudo-adult moments in college where you wish you were more mature, but classes, roommates, relationships, and immaturity get in the way. As a college professor, I see a lot of my own college experiences in my students and this story is a reflection of that universal college experience.

You teach a wide range of subjects, from postmodernism to superheroes. How does your academic background influence your creative work, and vice versa?

My experience has taught me to focus on the throughline in my work, whatever genre it may be. With academic writing, you spend so much time in your niche and you build scholarship around snapshots of a larger discipline. Teaching academic writing and writing in this discipline has taught me balance and the importance of following through on your overall purpose for the work. As a short fiction writer, keeping this balance in mind helps me understand what the story needs.

The Legend of Dave Bradley is one of your works. What inspired this story, and what challenges did you encounter in bringing it to life?

The Legend of Dave Bradley came about because I was trying to make sense of the unbelievable chaos that is customer service (I still haven’t made sense of it. Oh well). A customer like Dave Bradley is everywhere which I think adds to the story’s appeal. It’s also a story that I have been writing for twenty years. The first version came about in a college fiction workshop and over the years, it has been performed and revised many times. This version that you read in our One ‘n Done series features an older narrator looking back at the social and cultural nuances that create people like Dave Bradley.

Your involvement in Connections Magazine and other platforms showcases a commitment to community engagement. How do you see your role as a writer and educator intersecting with community outreach?

Read Furiously was created to push back against the mainstream mold that serves as a gatekeeper for many talented writers. Our goal is to be inclusive in both our authors and the subjects we publish. With every title we publish, Read Furiously donates 5% of our net proceeds to various literacy programs and book-related charities. Our authors support us in this effort as well and it allows us to establish a sustainable reading journey through the joy of reading and literary activism. As an educator, my work mentoring students, tutors, and aspiring writing professors continues to remind me of the importance of collaboration and community in order to level the playing field for the next generation of writers.

Finally, could you give aspiring writers any advice based on your own experiences and successes in the publishing industry?

The best advice I can give is: do the work. Publishing is a very unpredictable, tricky industry. It can be challenging to make a place for yourself and once you finish writing, the real work begins in promoting and finding your readers. If you are thinking of working with a publisher, make sure their values align with yours and consider how much support they are willing to give you. Doing your due diligence, researching your genre, writing every day, and building your author platform will help you carve your niche in the industry. I promise you – the effort is completely worth it.

Verified by MonsterInsights