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Book: ITCHIWAN by J.J. Cunis

Book: ITCHIWAN by J.J. Cunis

categories: Book, Pukwudgees, Local Historical Fiction, Horror, Coming of Age, Time Travel, Romance, Pukwudgies, Suspense, Thriller, Beach Read, Humor, Wampanoag Indian Legends


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J.J. Cunis

Author J.J. Cunisabout this book: Itchiwan! I worked at a resort development in the eighties. The owners, (a famous old blue blood yankee family) liked my writing style and had me do the copy for their 25th anniversary magazine documenting the history of their development and the surrounding area. Doing this I found a book written in 1934 called "The Narrow Land" by Elizabeth Renyard. Part of it chronicled Wampanoag legends as told to her by a Chief Wixon. She also spoke of the Screecham sisters, Witch Pond and Sam Bellamy to name a few. Through her I found Pukwudgees and asked "What if … ?"

Thus … diminutive evil beings of Wampanoag legend are mistakenly unleashed on present day Cape Cod through a mysterious orb in the ground, discovered in the woods by four 13-year old boys . The boys and their future adult selves are tasked with dealing with four highly skilled homicidal Pukwudgees, hell-bent on mayhem ... now with access to any point in time. They must close the Pandora's Box they opened before the unimaginable happens in God knows what year, while protecting the orb, ... the time portal, from inquiring minds.

I was asked by a reporter "How did you develop your characters and their back stories? - Young Amos, Vern, Timmy & Brett and grown up Amos, Vern, Timmy & Brett, Pomarat and his braves, Sarah?" I told her, they were mysteriously conjured out of cans of Bud Light and tins of Captain Black. I was kidding … sort of. The boys were an amalgamation of the dynamic of cultures I found through working and living in Mashpee in the eighties and the type of kids I grew up with in the late sixties. Once I gave the characters a name and saw their face in my head, they were alive and seem to chart their own course based on my lifetime of human experience.

Pomarat and friends? Again life experiences. The fear Pomarat evokes is not from his size or appearence but from his confidence, swagger, his personality … he's that person you start feeling uncomfortable around the moment his eyes meet yours or when he speaks, even though his tone gentle. You just sense danger and want to get away. The dynamic of Pomarat, Hysko, Massot and Sarkem personality-wise is one that people have probably experienced at one time or more in their work environment.

Sarah is a real legend. I tried to craft one possibility as to why and how such a legend came to be. Who was this woman supposedly living alone in a forest? What would it be like? I imagine many of the women labeled witches back then (and even today in many places in the world) were labeled such and their stories crafted as a result of men being caught in a lie.


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