Borderland was a “labor of love,” as they say, from the start. FE Feeley, Jr. (henceforth referred to as “Fred”) proposed we work together on a horror novel over two years ago, and we tossed ideas back and forth until we settled on a ghost story set in a haunted inn in Vermont.
So much time has gone by, it’s now impossible to sort out who thought of what, but I recall Fred being interested in Vermont, because he wanted to visit New England. I’d never officially lived there, but they don’t call Vermont and New Hampshire the “twin states” for nothing. Jump in the car and you can reach anywhere in either state in a few hours. I’ve spent a lot of time there, especially near the border. It’s a gorgeous state: heavily forested, mountainous, and dotted with old farms. It’s about the same size as NH (but “upside-down” ;-p ), and the population is just over 600 thousand—half that of NH, and we’re not exactly struggling for elbow room.
Fred can also be credited with the idea of working the flu epidemic of 1918 into the story. I want to be clear that he thought of this years before the COVID-19 pandemic. Frankly, we might have veered away from the topic, if we’d known about the pandemic, since so many readers have had family affected by the virus. Instead, one might call it a bit of prescience. The story had already been submitted to our publisher by the time the pandemic hit the USA.
Writing with another author was a new experience for me, and it didn’t always go smoothly. We wrote scenes and showed them to each other, usually liking what we were piecing together, but as the order of the story was rearranged, some scenes had to be tossed and others extensively rewritten. One scene was simultaneously written by both of us, leaving us with the decision of which to keep. In final edits, we noticed that the music box was somehow upstairs in a bedroom and on the fireplace mantel in the living room at the same time. And who the heck was Meghan? Oh, that’s right. We changed her name to Grace…
But under the guidance of our wonderful editor, Debbie McGowan, at Beaten Track Publishing, we hammered the novel into something we’re all very proud of. And the reception has been wonderful. Here are some quotes from our favorite review sites:
“I very highly recommend this ghost story. It is one of my favorite reads in a long time. If you have Amazon, one-click it now. You won’t be sorry.” — Dan at Love Bytes Reviews
“If this is what a story becomes when FE Feeley and Jamie Fessenden collaborate, then sign me up for more. These two have put together an amazing combination of mystery, thriller, and horror, and then intertwined within all of that darkness, is a sweet, poignant romance that will stick with you long after “the end”.” —Melissa Brus at the Paranormal Romance Guild
“It was with great expectation I awaited this book…..I am a longtime follower of these two authors and expected nothing less than perfection….I received it hands down!!” — Gloria Lakritz at the Paranormal Romance Guild
“Yes, there is a sad element to this book. But there’s also hope, as well, and that’s deftly written by FE Feeley and by Jamie Fessenden, as well. I really enjoyed this book. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. It won’t necessarily be that way for everyone, although I would imagine that most people that read this book will have a definite visceral reaction to it. So, for me, Borderland is a lovely piece of writing. I thoroughly… I’m just really glad that I got to read it, and I’m giving it five stars.” — Kazza at On Top Down Under Reviews
I’m very proud of the work Fred and I did on the novel. Perhaps in the future we’ll collaborate on another one, and hopefully our process will go a bit smoother from our experience with Borderland. In the meantime, I hope readers enjoy their visit with the hotel and it’s residents… both benign and evil.
George and Jason make arrangements to travel back to George’s home state of Vermont so he may pass away in the town where he grew up, but a terrible storm diverts the couple into the gates of an out-of-the-way hotel called Borderland.
Sure, the employees are well dressed and polite. Sure, the food and entertainment are old-time fare. But it’s all a schtick, right?
Or is there something far more sinister at work here?
Welcome to the Borderland Hotel, where you may check in, but you’ll never, ever leave.