Woodstock author celebrating re-release of work

HOULTON, Maine — A Woodstock, New Brunswick, author who has weaved experiences from both his own community and the Houlton area into his work is celebrating the re-release of his book. 

Jim A. Shaw is the creator of the gothic horror “Secrets of the Damned” series, which was first published in 2009. The books, complete with updates, will be distributed once again in print and audiobook format.

The second book in the series is titled “Forbidden Dreams.” The novels are set in the Woodstock area, and Shaw said that many of his influences growing up in the region are featured in the book’s plot, along with a number of other Carleton County and Houlton area legends and tales that he incorporated into his work.

Shaw said he is excited about the latest developments in his career, which were sparked after he took a creative writing course while attending college in Woodstock.

“I wrote this story about two kids who explore a haunted house, and it ended with them hearing people in the woods dancing around a fire,” he said. “So I took it to class and during peer review, people were like, ‘Where is the rest of it?’ That got me thinking, and I decided to sit down and write a chapter a week and finish the work.”

In “The Kirk,” the main character, Jack Stephens, works to reclaim his life after the death of his beloved wife, who died at the hands of local vampires. Shaw said that his writing was heavily influenced by the master of horror, Stephen King.

“Stephen King was a big influence on me, so how could I not write something scary?” he said.

Shaw said it commonly takes him more than a year to research a novel.

He also has wanted to revise “The Kirk” for some time.

“The original version, I always felt was unfinished,” he said Friday. “But my publisher at the time would not let me make the changes I wanted. The rights to the work have reverted back to me, so I decided to relaunch the series with the changes I felt were necessary.”

The first novel in the series, “The Kirk,” is available as an audio book, e-book and in paperback. Nora Agha, a voice actress from Ontario, Canada, created the audiobook, which is available on iTunes, Audible and Amazon.

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