Entrepreneurship. It’s not a word that most authors associate with themselves. However, in this age of independent publishing, authors are increasingly taking on the role of small-business owner. This week’s installment of the Weekend Name Drop features someone who has embraced the role as well as anyone I know. Meet Z. R. Southcombe.
Name: Z.R. (Zee) Southcombe
Creative field: Author, Artist, Blogger, Maker of Stuff
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
My connection: Like our mutual online friend, Cat Connor, I have yet to meet Zee in person. We first found one another via Facebook posts related to the NZ Book Festival. I had attended the inaugural festival in 2014 (when it was known as the Auckland Independent Book Festival). In 2015, I was considering attending again and, even though I didn’t, I followed along with the event and saw some of Zee’s participation in it. In Zee, I recognised another new author who was marketing her books in similar ways to me, participating in multiple online platforms and appearing at local markets. Since our first correspondence, we have had conversations via Twitter and Zee has read and reviewed my novel, The Chain.
Inspiration for this writer: For me, it’s not so much that I am a fan of Zee’s writing as much as I am intrigued and inspired by her dedication to her career as a writer. She embraces all aspects of this pathway as an independent writer: illustration, blogging, marketing, social networking, school visits, market appearances. Her enthusiasm for all these aspects is infectious – just when I can feel intimidated by the enormity of it all, I witness yet another project Zee is working on, and I am reminded how much I love this journey I am on.
Why you should check her out and share with others: Zee’s creative portfolio is ever-expanding. She writes children’s books, has published adult colouring books, produces a zine for women writers, collaborates with illustrators and blogs regularly about all of her activities. Her efforts were rewarded this year as she was named a finalist in the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for Best Youth Novel (Two of Zee’s books were shortlisted: The Caretaker of the Imagination and Lucy’s Story: The End of the World). Again, it is as much her blogging that I want to draw my readers’ attention to as it is to her books. Zee is highly transparent about her creative process as well as with her feelings about reviews she has received, and her struggles in terms of motivation or decision-making. She shares these in digestible, articulate posts that will engage anyone interested in creativity and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, Zee is clear about her purpose in all this. In reference to The Caretaker of Imagination, she writes, “I wrote to re-inspire wonder and imagination in readers of all ages, and to remind children that no matter how much more ‘control’ adults have – children have got so much to offer to us.” It’s a mission statement worth noting.
Sample of work:
You can’t cure a witch’s curse with ordinary medicine. That’s what they all said, in the end.
At the start it was all rainbows and sunshine, every doctor claiming to be the best in the world, and
all insisting they could do what none other was able.
And, of course, they would say that the false art of witchery died a long time ago. We are living in the
age of knowledge now; of science, not hokery pokery, they would say.
But when the fever persisted and the sweat did not run dry; when the
shivering continued and the hot
flushes refused to go away; when Jack’s body lay bedridden still ‒– the
(also sweating) doctor would
inevitably say, “You can’t cure a witch’s curse with ordinary medicine.”
Then they would pack up their instruments and leave, muttering their
excuses, faces redder than
Jack’s. Sophie and her father would be left alone, helplessness hanging in
the air, almost-but-not-quite
After the thirty-seventh doctor (Sophie kept count in her journal), she
was fed up.
It was time to find a witch.
Here’s Zee, herself, in an interview with NZ author, Shane A. Mason:
The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.