The picturesque streets in Andersonville reveal historic 2-flats, independent small businesses, and a tight-knit community that make it a very desirable place to live. One area author however has teamed up with local sugar experts Candyality to unearth a more sinister side to the neighborhood.
In his latest work, author David Collins not only uses the Andersonville’s Summerdale Ave. as the setting, he also made it the title of the book. Creating a chilling look into the world of some of the street’s residents, the book explores the lives of of four Gay men, four addictions and what Collins likes to describe as a landlord from hell.
Collins, who is a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, believes the legendary storyteller’s most striking, impactful and terrifying works are those that take place in absolutely gorgeous places such as Bodega Bay in The Birds. So it only seems fitting that he used one of the peaceful, tree-lined streets in Andersonville as the backdrop for a darker side of the neighborhood.
When Summerdale first came out one year ago, Collins looked for ways to help promote the book as an independent publisher. He tackled the process of developing his own social media, establishing an email list and arranging his own appearances and events. As he continued to seek promotional opportunities, he turned to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC).
“When I met with ACC very early on with Summerdale, I told them that I’m writing a horror story that takes place in the Andersonville neighborhood and I really did not know what their reaction would be,” explained Collins. “Well they could not have been more supportive. They have been wonderful to work with by helping me partner with another small businesses whether that is a consultant or a retailer.”
That support not only led area businesses such as Raygun, Transistor, and Women and Children First Bookstore to begin carrying Collins’ novels, it also produced a unique partnership with Andersonville’s Candyality (5225 N Clark). He approached the store’s owner Terese McDonald about doing a special candy blend that contains a little bit of horror.
They worked together to develop Summerdale Crunch, a mixture which has a caramel corn base with mini Kit Kats, Oreos, chocolate-covered pretzels, and a chocolate drizzle. Most importantly though are the spooky candy eyes that are strategically placed in the front of the bags so they can keep watch on unsuspecting customers.
Bags of Summerdale Crunch were first sold Fall of 2019 for the Halloween season. There were also special gift packs that included the candy accompanied by signed copies of the Summerdale novel. They were such a hit last year that it was sold through the Holiday season. The special candy blend will return again this year at Candyality in Andersonville for $5.99/bag starting Sept. 25.
“Candyality has been a part of my life for years,” Collins added. “They have such a great mix and you can walk into the store with just a couple dollars and leave with a bunch of great candy. I am so excited that they are bringing Summerdale Crunch back this Halloween.”
Though being an independent publisher means sometimes pounding the pavement to get your book noticed, Collins said that it has been a rewarding process as well. It has given him the opportunity to meet new people, be in control of his marketing and enhance his own creativity. In fact, he has hinted that there may be a new book in the near future.
You can purchase Summerdale by John Collins in Andersonville at Raygun (5207 N Clark), Transistor (5224 N Clark), and Women and Children First Bookstore (5233 N Clark). You can also find the novel as a paperback or e-book at davidjaycollins.com.