Local authors create a bond with the community


Alyssa Clark

Two local authors, John Green and Phillip Gulley, have their book on display at the SHS library.

Madison Gomez, Reporter

Finding a good book can be a difficult task when there are numerous works of literature that start off well, but fail to capture a reader’s attention. Books are stopped in the middle and even forgotten about at times, but a local Indianapolis author, Francesca Zappia, wrote Eliza and Her Monsters, a young adult fiction book. The book captured attention and brought out different opinions from a student and english teacher at SHS. Senior Hairo Rivas says the book is very well written and just knowing she’s a local author made him want to read it.

“I feel like (Zappia) has so much potential,” Rivas said. “I feel like (the book) is so open and it’s quite a different kind of writing then anyone else I’ve read.”

Rivas gave the book a 4.5 out of 5, saying it wasn’t a five because there were times which flow issues caused him some confusion. Although, the unique type of writing found in the book made it seem open and well put together to him. He felt as if the writing was raw and brought to light good morals, and the story made a way that Rivas could identify with the characters. Potential is another thing Rivas sees in Zappia, saying she has as much of it as John Green, another Indiana author who wrote The Fault In Our Stars.

Zappia said that hearing compliments like that about her books means a lot to her, especially “Eliza and Her Monsters” because it’s very close to an autobiographical story to her. She hopes that one day she can be as well known as John Green, but just knowing that people believe in her and read her stuff feels good. She says the compliments translate into encouragement to keep writing, but she would still write if wasn’t shown to other people.

“It’s very helpful when you know there are people out there who you know want to read stuff from you,” Zappia said. “Especially with ‘Eliza,’ which is so personal, when they read it and they connect with it, that’s very encouraging to continue doing that.”

Her books have come out in foreign countries, but she’s been able to connect locally through events on her books, and seeing her work be read and liked was nerve-wracking for her. More so with “Eliza and Her Monsters” because of it being a personal story, but according to Zappia the first reactions from readers were amazing. They said they could see themselves in the main character through emails and other messages that say that her story and characters have helped them not feel so alone.

English teacher Julie Breeden had met Zappia while taking a course at UIndy, and at the time, Zappia was in the process of writing Eliza and Her Monsters. When Breeden learned about this, she asked Zappia to speak at Breeden’s book club about her work. The members of her book club were not the intended audience, they were mostly 30 to 60 year old women, but they all still seemed to enjoy the story, showing the book is a very approachable read for all ages.

The story takes place in Indiana in a made up town called West Cliff. Even being fictitious, Breeden found the setting and the author familiar because of Zappia’s midwestern background.

“(The characters) are easy to believe in and get your brain around,” Breeden said. “It’s like ‘okay, I can see that.’”

Overall, having local authors creates a type of glue that makes readers want to read the story more. Whether it be for familiarity of the setting and characters, like Breeden said, or the excitement of knowing that the author is local, like Rivas said. Eliza and Her Monsters provided familiar locations and characters because they knew Zappia came from around their community, that she isn’t just some random celebrity.

“We think of writers as far off people, in another place and time,” Breeden said. “She’s alive and lives on the South side of of Indianapolis, I think that it’s kind of fun to read her book.”