New twist on old classic: Charlotte author sets Frankenstein tale in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2023

By Karen Kistler

KANNAPOLIS — It’s not a trick, but instead, a treat for those who love science-fiction books as Kathleen Hannon of Charlotte has published her second book, one geared for young adults and with a Halloween-flavored story-line.

Inspired by Frankenstein, Hannon’s newest book titled “The Confession of Hemingway Jones,” was released in September. Hannon shared it was planned and “we were determined” that the book would make its debut around Halloween.

Set in Concord and Kannapolis, the book features many local spots in these two cities that residents will recognize including, she noted, Danny’s Fried Chicken in Concord and all of Union Street. Additional area settings are Reed Gold Mine and Gold Hill Road, which she said is heavily featured. 

The story begins, Hannon noted, with Jones, “a 17-year-old genius who makes a bad decision and wrecks the car and kills his father” thus opening the story with a modern day twist of cryogenic preservation. 

Jones hijacks the lab where he is an intern and works to bring his father back to life, which happens but not the result hoped for, leaving his father as not entirely human.

In addition to the science-fiction and fantasy aspects, a love story is also woven into the work.

In developing the character, Hannon said that it “just came to me. This character just came up in my head one night” after reading various articles in Tech Talk which dealt with research on people who were bleeding out and if they could be put in suspended animation.

The storyline was being worked on during a time when vampire and werewolf stories were quite popular, leading Hannon to question, “why isn’t anyone dealing with Frankenstein, the beginning of science-fiction?”

Starting as early as the age of five, Hannon said she dreamed of being an author. Her career journey took her to working in Hollywood as a development executive with writers for quite some time.

“I never had the courage to write myself,” Hannon said, until the writers’ strike in 2008, which forced her to take a different route. “There’s not going to be something to edit unless I write it.”

“The Confession of Hemingway Jones” had been in the works for several years and was put on the shelf during a difficult time in her life. An old friend, who had become a publisher, wanted her work and the book was pulled off the shelf, she sent pages to her friend and in just a couple weeks, received an offer.

“The timing and delay in publishing the book worked in its favor,” Hannon said, as “so many ways people are contemplating how to extend human life.”

Hannon pointed to artificial intelligence, cloning and other clinical studies as examples. 

A debate is going on with these studies, she shared, “of what defines life and should we have that control which all goes back to Shelly and what he opened up with Frankenstein.”

Hannon said, here in this AI age, there would be these ethical discussions, and said she wanted to offer young people something more to read than just a love story and “just a debate about how to be nice.”

Hannon added, “I wanted to open that up to them and at least start the conversation in a way that is engaging and exciting.”

The author anticipates additional books to come along in the future.

For those wishing to purchase a copy of this second book, they can be found online on Amazon as well as bookstores, including Park Road Books in Charlotte, Main Street Books in Davidson, and Books-A-Million locations. 

She also anticipates them being available at South Main Books in Salisbury.