A Pennsylvania transplant, Zachary Barnes is a fantasy author who has been self-publishing since 2007. Barnes, an avid reader and artist all his life, first ventured into the world of storytelling by competitively co-writing short stories with his equally-bored sister, Rachael. Only in 2005 did Barnes’ interest in writing become serious when the substantive worlds of Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin inspired him to create his own version.

Photo Credit: Kassandra Hoffmeister
Photo Credit: Kassandra Hoffmeister

Barnes’ next development as a writer came during his senior year of high school, after a sports-related injury ended his wrestling season two months early. Finding an abundance of structured free time that had once been taken up by practice, Barnes was able to focus his energy on fleshing out a story that began as a Scholastic Writing Competition piece but quickly evolved into something much lengthier. Over a feverish six months, this piece became Barnes’ most recently published novel, Winter’s Throne, which debuted just before his 2010 graduation and received high accolades from his school friends and, of course, his mother.

Although Barnes went to college at James Madison University for Music Education, he was eventually called back to writing in the form of a student-taught class on novel writing, which Barnes proposed, developed, and then facilitated with the guidance of his education professors. Both buoyed by the zeal of his writing peers and caught within the social upheaval of an impending graduation and the subsequent move and job search, Barnes found inspiration for Avengarde in his final weeks at JMU.

Over the following three years, Barnes secured a position at the Annandale Campus Reading and Writing Center within the Virginia Community College system. It was through this opportunity that Barnes met his publishers at PandaMonk and began the publication process of Avengarde. This novel marks Barnes’ debut in traditional publishing and will be released November 15, 2016. Currently, Barnes is the assistant manager and lead tutor at the Reading and Writing Center at Northern Virginia Community College and is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing–Fiction at George Mason University.

When he’s not writing or tutoring, you might find Zachary and Lani–his partner in crime (for life)–trying new recipes, hosting board game parties, and travelling the globe, in that order.