By Amy Moshier
“Behind life’s thin veil of the knowable, into a fissure undefined by time and its constructs, lies a place where souls move about freely, without detection. A place where ghostly encounters meet angelic challenges and a desire to alter the foreseeable future is of paramount concern.
Stark changes that threaten all of mankind and what it means to be human, are set into motion by a time when profit and greed outweighed concern for the future. But none of this is known to Jay, a 14-year-old boy, living in a town in 1947.”
So begins the cover of Shadows of December: Illusions of Time by Beech Grove native Mary Ann Senft. From the cover, we learn that Jay is a mischievous child whose life is upended when an angel and her companion interrupt his life and show him the future and the horrors that it brings.
Senft first wrote Shadows of December while living in California when she was 10. She entered it in a sixth-grade writing contest and won first place. Years later she retold the story to her grandchildren, including Jay, who requested a written expanded version of the original tale. He wanted to read it to his children someday.
Shadows of December is based on a lost Reno Brothers Gang treasure from 1896. “They were the first gang to rob a moving train,” she said. The book has already been published and is being sold in a number of locations online, including Amazon, Goodreads and other retail stores. Most recently, bookstore giant Barnes & Noble informed Senft that it will begin selling Shadows in their stores.
Sometimes inspirations comes as a sudden surprise, as with an upcoming book, titled The Unseen Player. “This story came to me out of thin air,” Senft said. “A murder mystery ghost tale, with a lot of twists and turns. One night about 4 a.m., the entire story just popped into my head. I see characters as real people and events as they are taking place. No outline, no notes. It practically wrote itself.”
In The Unseen Player, her father Walter Johnes is taking a pivotal role. “He is taking the first pass at editing,” said Senft. “My father, who lives in Beech Grove and will be 98 in October, is a huge source of inspiration. In World War II he was assigned to General MacArthur’s unit, but when they learned how fast he could type, he was moved to Australia. He was singled out and reassigned to Australia because of his administrative abilities.” The Unseen Player will be published later this year.
Her father will be 98 in October and used to write stories for his children. “I have followed in his footsteps,” Senft said.