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Linda Jencson

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Linda Jencson is a cultural anthropologist.  She is the daughter of a WWII soldier who survived everything from Omaha Beach to the Battle of the Bulge.  She's the daughter of a Cleveland city cop who worked under Eliot Ness.  Mom's side of the family emigrated from Transylvania.  You could say she inherited a flair for drama.  Growing up in Cleveland, stories of the notorious Burning River, the mob, the Torso Killer, massive industrial disasters, ethnic color and ethnic violence all left their influence.

She graduated with a BFA from the University of Akron and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Oregon. Unlike many anthros who study the third world, Linda applies her anthropological knowledge to cultural things much closer to home.  Her dissertation was on Neopagan witchcraft.  She has written on Native Americans, regional folk tales and folk arts, disaster response, and primarily, on the ways in which popular culture influences individual lives and society at large.  All of her work has the unifying theme of investigating how people use symbols (be it television icons like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, powwow dress, or inspirational symbols of survival in a flood) to motivate one another to take collective action.  She wants to know how to motivate people to solve the world's problems.

That is, when she is not painting or writing novels. 

She is about to finish her first novel, working title Ghost Shirt, and has already begun its sequel.  She describes Ghost Shirt as a “Gothic Western,” and the story incorporates themes of both genres.  It is very (very!)  loosely based on her own experiences with the Lakota, as well as the proud descendants of pioneers and the incredible things to be found in the small town museums of the Dakotas. 

In Ghost Shirt, the heroine, a young museum specialist, comes to a dying town in the barren prairies of North Dakota, where she is hired to catalogue and update displays of a world-class collection of Native American artifacts for the town.  Here, with devastating winds howling across the stark landscape, she finds love, murder, deception, friendship and treasure, amidst a variety of unforgettable characters, spirits, and helpful mice.

She teaches part time at Appalachian State University, and she is the owner-operator of an educational tourism, speakers bureau business called High-Minded Entertainment. She is working to expand into book illustration as well;  she would like to talk to you about doing your cover or illustrating your book.

Artist of an award-winning oil portrait of her pet turtle, Willie, Linda also lives with her basset-mutt mix, Xander.  Her current home is the Appalachian Mountians of North Carolina.   Contact her at lindajencson@att.net

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Joss Whedon fan? read Linda's latest publication on Firefly/Serenity

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Copyright 2008-09 Linda Jencson