Cut Reality: Behind the Scenes


by SOPHIA GARCIA '21


Writing a book takes time and effort, and the process behind it brings more than the readers might think. For today, we’ll go behind the scenes of Zachary Hacker’s book, Cut Reality: A Novel, about Jason Debord, who tries to find what really happened to a TV co-star from competing in a show called Beached.

Mr. Hacker is a well-known teacher at Saint Ursula, teaching Literature Genres, British Literature, and even the elective Creative Writing. And one day, he decided to write a novel, because of his love of portraying stories. “I like telling stories, and I like hearing others tell their stories. A lot of my favorite writers also are or were English teachers, so I think it's natural.”

Unfortunately, since Mr. Hacker is a high school teacher, he had to use every bit of free time to write his book. But even when there’s a huge load of grading and revising papers, he made it work when cooking up ideas for his novel. “I was definitely gathering any free scrap of time I could: writing or editing while I ate lunch, working late into the night, waking up early on weekends. Summer and winter break was big catch-up points for me.”

And on top of his teaching his English classes, Mr. Hacker also is in graduate school at Xavier University, adding to one of his complications of writing his book. Even so, he still finds many ways to make sure his novel comes true.

There were early difficulties when it came to releasing the book to the public, which included “the anxiety of not knowing what people will think of the book.”

In the end, Mr. Hacker's best feeling has been finishing the book and having people receive it so positively. “The best part was getting to host an event at Joseph-Beth and have a big turnout of people who asked really profound questions about the novel. It's crazy to have such a strong engagement with something that I created.”

Mr. Hacker has learned a lot from writing his first novel and is currently writing a manuscript for his next book. “The next book is the beginning of a coming-of-age fantasy series that opens with a recent college grad dealing with her father's death and making surprising discoveries about his magical past that lead her on a quest to finish what he started.”

So whether you read Mr. Hacker’s book Cut Reality or not, or maybe in your near future, you could be hooked on his fantasy novel series.

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