You’ve got to admire those who are determined to be writers on their own terms. As someone who’s tried and tried again to break into even indie presses, I know few established publishers will even consider fiction from someone who’s not already established. As my regular readers know, I’ve been reading a lot about the Legend of Sleepy Hollow lately. So I came across Austin Dragon’s Hollow Blood. Part of a two-volume novel set, the story takes a creative approach while retaining several of the original characters, even having clever nods now and again to the wording in the original. Although clearly self-published, Dragon is able to let his imagination go on this one. Julian Crane, Ichabod’s nephew, is out to avenge his uncle’s death.
In Sleepy Hollow he confronts Brom Bones with the crime, but wrongly. It turns out that the Marshal—there are elements of the old west in this too, with cowboys and showdowns—knows where Crane has settled and offers to take the nephew to him. So unfolds a story that feels a bit more like a western than a horror story at points. I don’t want to give away too much since Dragon, like most of those who make their living by writing, needs to move copies to stay solvent. The thing is, Sleepy Hollow seems to be an evergreen subject. America keeps coming back to it. Many writers try to take it on as the basis for more modern reboots. Of course, I have to read the second volume to find out how it really ends.
I can’t help but think that the internet has made it difficult for writers by allowing anyone to establish him or herself as one. If you can build a fan base, you can make a living at it. The publishing industry faces problems of its own, of course. Paper shortages are a problem. Not only the pandemic, but the assumption that ebooks were going to spell the death of print led paper mills to cut production. Funny thing—print has been seeing a resurgence of interest. Large media seems surprised, scratching its metaphoric head and saying “People like actual books—who knew?” But I digress. The simple tale of a love triangle in the 1790s with a ghost on the loose has spawned a great number of offspring. Some published the traditional way, and others on a writer’s own terms. It’s a story worth the retelling.