Last winter, Tyler and I developed a weekly tradition to while away the long, dark evenings with our good friend, Jenna. We'd lounge in front of her computer with a few ciders, and watch a horror movie—not the bloody kind, but the creepy, paranormal ghost-y kind. After the movie was over, we'd watch something light and funny as a "chaser," and then Tyler and I would make our way home through the mist and the moonlight of Washington County, New York.
My favorite movie night moment was when a dramatic pause in the climactic scene lasted a little too long, and we began wondering aloud if the power had gone out. It was hard to tell, because nothing much in Jenna's house had changed. The fire in the wood stove still warmed us; the lanterns and candles still flickered and shone as brightly as they had before.
Once we realized what happened, we laughed heartily and then sat by the fire to make up the rest of the movie's plot. To this day, I don't know how the film actually ended, and I don't care. Our version was better, and Jenna was the reason why. She's captivating and endlessly imaginative, with a piercing wit, and an impressive way with words.
This is why I am excited about her next book: The Legend of Birchthorn, a kickstarter-funded self-published novel and community-driven writing venture. The story exudes Jenna—it combines her love of rural life in historical Washington County, with her palpable adoration for an earlier, simpler time. That, along with her giddy appreciation for good old-fashioned hair-raising horror in the vein of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
Birchthorn is a mystery and paranormal thriller. A widow and her small farm in the winter, her community of eccentrics and farmers alike, and the strange resurgence of an old legend coming back to life in a small town.
The most interesting part of this project is that Kickstarter backers will get to read the book chapter by chapter as it is written. Throughout the fall and winter, we'll get to weigh in, offer advice, and see the birth of a novel in its rawest form. It may be August now, but with each day that passes, I am reminded of just how quickly Winter is coming. Jenna's mystery is sure to keep us entertained as the days grow darker and colder.