'Chasing Shadows: Genesis' weaves together spiritualism, mystery

‘Chasing Shadows: Genesis’ weaves together spiritualism, mystery and the 1920s

“Chasing Shadows: Genesis” by Zachariah Jones.

All his life, Zachariah Jones has found escapism through novels.

If he wanted to travel, he’d open up a book and immerse himself for a few days.

Flash forward to today and the Minnesota resident has made the leap back in time to 1924 with his debut novel, “Chasing Shadows: Genesis.”

“I’ve always wanted to write a full novel over a short story,” he says. “During the pandemic, everything shut down and I had more time on my hands. It was nice to just take the time and put forth the effort.”

“Chasing Shadows: Genesis” follows the case of Sarah O’Connell, a socialite and spiritualist, who is brutally murdered.

Zachariah Jones

The local authorities in St. Paul, Minnesota, do not have a single suspect.

After receiving an anonymous letter, Jarek Videni, a young intuitive from New York City, travels to the American Midwest to help solve the case.

However, Jarek learns quickly that there is no single suspect in the case because everyone in the house is a suspect – even the spirits.

The unsolved case is surrounded with mystery, horror and a dark presence that fills the family’s home and calls out to Jarek.

He must use his gifts to read the cards, reach beyond the veil, uncover the many secrets that haunt the O’Connell mansion, and find the killer before they strike again.

The novel is currently available online.

Prior to beginning writing, Jones researched what life was like in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1924.

He also knew that he wanted to write a trilogy.

“I knew for me to mitigate the changes of having writer’s block, I wrote the end of the trilogy,” he says. “I knew where my end point was.”

As he wrote the beginning of book one, he knew where he wanted it to end.

“It was more constructed like a research paper,” he says. “I needed to get to each point. I would write a little here and there. Each day, the goal was to write a page or two.”

Jones has also been fascinated with the 1920s.

“It was the height of spiritualism and America was going through a massive change,” he says. “With it taking place in St. Paul, I researched the area. I was able to pull factual data and history to ground it in reality.”

Despite it being set 100 years ago, as he wrote, he found many similarities.

“This was a time the nation was in turmoil,” he says. “We’re still there today. One hundred years ago, people were coming out of a pandemic, and here were are. Time passes, but people and circumstances don’t change.”

Jones enjoyed the research because it offered him a chance to travel back in time.

“There was one instance in chapter one when Jarek gets to the train depot,” he says. “I was doing research and found a menu from one of the old restaurants that was popular in 1924 in St. Paul. I was able to use that to add more to the story. It was meant to stay realistic.”

Not to be one to rest, Jones is already two-thirds of the way finished with the second novel. He expects to have the first draft completed in less than two months.

“I’m deployed until later this year,” he says. “We’re trying to figure out the best time to have the second book out. Hopefully we can get it done by the early fall.”

Jones is a longtime lover of books, lover of mysteries, and lover of everything that has to do with the world unseen by most. He lives in Stillwater, a small historic town in eastern Minnesota with his husband and dog. Visit him online at thezachariahjones.com or on Instagram @the_zachariah_jones.

‘Chasing Shadows: Genesis’

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