January, 30, 2014 † By Justine Vanderbilt
Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn College grad student Alexander Nixon (BA, Fine Arts and Latin American Studies, Stanford University, 2000) is raising money to self-publish his fantasy novel, tentatively called The Rise and Fall of Apassionéa (ah-pah-c-yo-NAY-ah).
Illustrated and written by the multi-talented Nixon, the story was inspired by Nixon's Peace Corps experience in Guatemala (2008-11).
“My book is The Alchemist meets The Little Prince,” Nixon states.
Nixon quickly points out that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince in Guatemala while recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash. The volcanic landscape of Nixon's story does bear an uncanny resemblance to Le Petit Prince's three fire-belching volcanoes. On a side note, Saint-Exupéry's drawings are currently on display at the Morgan Library in NYC.
In August 2008, a coffee cooperative of some 150+ families located in Huehuetenango (Way-way-ten-AN-go), in the Guatemalan Highlands, invited Nixon to spend two years, or two coffee seasons, working for them. In addition to seeking niche gourmet coffee markets, Nixon produced YouTube videos that told the story of the coffee farmers and their families. He also produced videos to help raise money following the devastation left by Hurricane Agatha. Perhaps the most “fruitful” of Nixon’s Peace Corps projects, and literally so, was a successful grant he wrote to the State Department requesting funds for reforestation in the aftermath of a destructive hurricane.
“When I left, we had built the nurseries, started organizing capacity-building workshops, and planting macadamia, avocado, mahogany, and mango.”
Seemingly, the fruitfulness of Nixon's Guatemala experience continues.
According to Nixon, "My story was inspired by Guatemalan mythology, as well as aspects of contemporary Guatemalan society, as well as my own life. My novel starts in NYC, flashes back to Guatemala, and blurs the line between fantasy and reality."
Nixon is seeking Kickstarter investors to contribute to self-publishing "Apassionéa."
“Why contribute?” Nixon asks. “I think once you take a crack at the introduction to my book, which is available for reading online, you will not hesitate to invest. It is funny, fresh, and full of life, just like its author."
Nixon's vibrant illustrations for the book are a major draw, pun intended. Depicting scenes and characters from the story, they do much more than hint at Nixon's unflagging inspiration. This is no sophomoric effort by the Brooklyn College graduate student in Art History.
Nixon was the recipient of the Nathan Oliviera Award for painting from Stanford University (2000), where he studied painting, digital media, and collage.
After successfully completing his Peace Corps service, Nixon put his creativity and imagination to work on a fantasy novel.
Check out Nixon's Kickstarter page and see for yourself.
Nixon asks that you start by pushing "like" on his Facebook page for "Apassionéa."
Justine Vanderbilt is a New York City-born, Los Angeles-based, writer for Art Slant.