Five Faculty Members Join to Publish "Shadows over Banshee Ridge"

It took just one year for five Eastern Kentucky University faculty members to write and publish “Shadows Over Banshee Ridge,” their first collabo-novel about a fictional eastern Kentucky county beset by corruption – and rival tribes of bigfoots.

That’s right: bigfoots, as in sasquatches.

“The kinder, gentler Appalasquatches that have been around for centuries are in a territorial dispute with their newly-migrated northern cousins, the Rockysquatches, who have anger issues and don’t want to share the land,” explained Charlie Sweet, co-director of the Teaching & Learning Center (TLC).

“And that spat is wreaking havoc with the pill pushers, prostitution ring, marijuana growers and local moonshiner who are trying to make a dishonest living, with the support of a crooked judge/executive and apathetic sheriff,” added TLC Co-Director Hal Blythe.

“Other colorful characters shake things up even more, like an egotistical reality TV star, the Quapanog Indian tribe that demands more respect, a U.S. Senator seeking a Legacy Project to immortalize himself, and a fake minister who leads his congregation astray,” said Richard Givan, retired professor in the College of Justice and Safety.

The 366-page novel didn’t require a lot of research thanks to another of the authors’ obsession with the Animal Planet show, “Finding Bigfoot.” Mason Smith, a senior lecturer in the Department of English and Theatre, has actually met James “Bobo” Fey, one of the TV bigfoot hunters. “I sent Bobo and Cliff Barackman a copy of the book,” Smith said. “Maybe they’ll return to Kentucky to investigate since we’ve managed to do something they haven’t after four seasons – actually find not one, but dozens of bigfoots.”

“It’s amazing how the book came together with three separate teams of authors writing amok with no clear outline, plan, or clue about characters, plot, or resolution at the start,” said Marie Mitchell, adjunct instructor in the Department of Communication, who compiled updated chapter summaries so the authors could keep track of everything that was going on.

It helps that all five authors have, in various combinations, also published scholarly works, detective fiction, thrillers, and middle grade Kentucky-based novels under their own names. They chose the pen name, Quinn MacHollister, as the listed author of “Shadows Over Banshee Ridge.”

“Quinn is short for quintet since there are five of us,” Givan noted.

“And MacHollister incorporates MACHO, our writing group’s name, which stands for Madison Artistic and Creative He-person Organization, that’s been around since the 1980s,” chimed Sweet.

“Shadows Over Banshee Ridge can be ordered on Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle.

When they’re not lounging around reading Maserati and Lear Jet catalogs, the five writers are already working on their next collabo-novel, also set in fictional Clement County, but with a new cast of characters, “because we killed off a bunch of the originals in the first novel,” said Blythe.

The second, yet unnamed book, will be filled with intrigue surrounding suspicious activity at a U.S. Army depot. “Your guess is as good as ours what will happen,” Smith admitted.

Published on December 08, 2014

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