Two years ago, I wrote an article in the jonestown report about White Night, a then-incomplete novel, a work-in-progress, other hyphenated descriptions of a book not yet done.
With a sense of both pride and apprehension, I would like to report that the novel based on the Jonestown tragedy is finished and I will be offering it for publication in the coming year.
The words “based on” are important: it’s not a novel about the catastrophe, but a fictional story written around it and leading up to the final horrific climax. The main character is a Guyanese journalist who happened to be living near the Jonestown site and decides to investigate.
As this is fiction, I have taken quite a bit of literary licence, including creating a right-hand-woman for Jim Jones, a partner in crime; someone pretty evil, but, unlike Jones, perfectly sane and drug-free. I’m hoping that those personally connected with Jonestown will forgive me this departure from the story as it really happened; this is fiction, after all, and we novelists do like to create own stories, and not just cling to the real ones!
I would, however, by delighted to find two or three so called beta-readers among the Jonestown community; people who know the story inside out, maybe lived there for a while, and would be willing to read and critique the manuscript. Anyone who is willing to read my work with the challenge to see if I got the story right without always being factually accurate is invited to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Sharon Maas’ other article in this edition of the jonestown report is Running Away. A contemporary account of the deaths in Jonestown and their impact upon Guyana – written by Sharon Maas’ mother Eileen Cox – is here. Sharon may be reached via email at email@example.com. Her website – which will include updates on the book – appears here.)