Local author’s novel unfolds on your iPad

Kate Lynch’s “The Birth” is a multimedia novel-in-progress

An enhanced e-book, "The Birth" combines prose with videos and music. Credit: Submitted image

WHITTIER — What is “transmedia fiction”?

That’s the digital-age storytelling form taken by “The Birth,” local musician and performer Kate Lynch’s unfolding multimedia novel. Lynch has released two sections of the enhanced e-book — an interactive mix of prose, music and video — through Apple’s iBooks Store, and it remains a work in progress.

“The Birth” is a work of historical fiction, with a story that begins in 1795 and traces five generations of a German family that emigrates to the U.S. and eventually produces a (real-life) key figure of 20th-century science, one whose innovations had unforeseen but devastating environmental consequences.

Lynch started writing what she thought was a screenplay about five years ago and said she was surprised when it turned into a novel. But it wasn’t done evolving. Already onto the idea of “transmedia fiction,” Lynch came across iBook Author, an app that allowed her to translate some of her multimedia ideas into an iPad novel.

Accompanied by musicians Chris Beaty and Ken Chastain, Lynch will perform songs from the e-book Monday night at a new Whittier neighborhood co-working space. She’ll also show some of the short videos that are included with the iPad version of her book.

“This is a big experiment, but also unveiling something while it’s still becoming,” she said.

Lynch also plans to have several chapters available in chapbook form — the only way to access the work without an iPad, for now. Several of the chapbooks are available at Birchbark Books in Kenwood.

Minneapolitans might know Lynch from Clementown, her kids’ music project with Beaty. She is a dancer, choreographer and composer.

She’s also a first-time author, but one unafraid to dive into the research required for a work of historical fiction. On a family vacation to Europe, she took a solo side trip to Germany, where she stayed in the home of one of her characters.

The multimedia aspect of “The Birth” not only allows Lynch to use her talents for music and performance, it’s a way to capture the interest of new readers.

“If it were a [prose] book, it would never have come into their world,” she said.


“The Birth” sections one and two release and performance

When: 7 p.m.–9 p.m. Nov. 18

Where: 16 W. 26th St., Suite 200

Info: “The Birth” e-book can be purchased through Apple’s iBooks Store

Below, an example of how “The Birth” uses interactive features like pop-up text boxes, to enhance the narrative.



Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the online store where “The Birth” is available for download.