The Pumpkin Man: Sowing the seeds of terror, one pumpkin patch at a time!


With the best time of year upon us, most of you will begin searching for the perfect pumpkin over the next few weeks.  Should you be at the right place at the right time, you may get more than you bargained for!  For The Pumpkin Man is trudging through the patches across the country, delivering scares and selfie photo ops to all of his Halloween loving children!

The Pumpkin Man is one of the most recognizable horror hosts in the nation, delivering up classic horror films on his show Fright Night Theater, which debuted in 2011.  He is also a regular on the horror convention circuit and loves nothing more than spreading the dread all year round!

Recently, I had a chance to catch up with the fun-loving, walking gourd and chat about the spooky world of The Pumpkin Man!


MANGLED MATTERS:  You’ve been a horror icon since the Pagan era.  To what do you attribute your vitality and youthful exuberance for terror to?

THE PUMPKIN MAN:  Scaring keeps me youthful!  I find such joy horrifying people!


MM:  What is a typical Halloween night like for The Pumpkin Man?

PM:  A typical Halloween night for The Pumpkin Man is unlike any you have ever seen!  I lay in wait for all those who would dare carve my pumpkin minions!  I always say “One of these days, we are gonna carve back”! (laughs)


MM:  Has there been one episode of your show in particular that is especially memorable for you?

PM:  All my shows stand out to me one way or another.  The Pumpkin Man enjoys showing the worst, I mean the greatest, horror movies of all time!


The Pumpkin Man and Svengoolie!

The Pumpkin Man and Svengoolie!

MM:  Let’s play a round of this or that..

  1. Freddy or Jason? Freddy!
  2. trick or treat? Trick!
  3. remake or sequel? Sequel!
  4. Universal or Hammer? Universal!


MM:  What are you cooking up for this year’s Halloween season on Fright Night Theater?

PM:  The Pumpkin Man can’t wait for his new Halloween show!  I’ve got some really cool things to show the kiddies!  Some really cool announcements are coming in October, as well, so stay tuned!


MM:  Spill the pumpkin seeds a little bit- what is one thing that most people would be surprised to learn about The Pumpkin Man?

PM:  I’ll spill the seeds just this once!  I guess what would shock my fans the most is my love for classic Three Stooges and Boris Karloff Thriller episodes!  I can’t get enough of them!  The Stooges are pure genius and Thriller still creeps me out late at night and I’m The Pumpkin Man!  I also have a deep love for Kung Fu flicks!  Nothing like watching Bruce Lee kick ass!

Art by Brian Maze

Art by Brian Maze

MM:  If you were hosting an all-night horror movie marathon, what movies are you picking and why?

PM:  If I was hosting a movie marathon, I would show the classics- Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man,The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Abbott Costello Meet Frankenstein!  Reason?  Because these movies are pure awesomeness and I think the little kiddies should know who laid down the foundations of horror!  If not for these horror heavyweights, there would be no Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Chucky, Jeepers Creepers, or Victor Crowley!


MM:  Where can fans see you over the next few months?

PM:  Fans can see The Pumpkin Man this October roaming the pumpkin patches throughout the country, so beware! Also you can catch me over on Youtube.  Plus The Pumpkin Man will be attending Nightmare on Chicago Street in Elgin, Illinois on October 24th and Days of The Dead: Chicago, on Nov 20th through the 22nd!




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The Halloween Life: an interview with Gwendolyn Kiste


Whether she’s combing through a mountain of works in progress or creating a new Halloween decoration to showcase on her 60 Days of Halloween blog, Gwendolyn Kiste isn’t one to be in one place (or art medium) for too long.  The blog is a daily project for Gwendolyn and showcases DIY Halloween decorations, delicious autumnal recipes and Gwendolyn even goes on a field trip now and then!  Gwendolyn is the type of lady that makes a mockery of the twenty-four hour day clock, a Halloween enthusiast who manages to squeeze every last drop of creativity out of every second of the waking day.

Gwendolyn also is a huge fan of Ray Bradbury, a man I am quite familiar with.  Having lived in the non-fictional Green Town all my life, I find it particularly comforting to see and feel a lot of similarities between Kiste’s work and Bradbury’s masterpieces.

Most recently, she’s proudly unveiled an anthology that celebrates the Halloween season, as she contributed a tale to the collection as well as edited A Shadow of Autumn.  The anthology is a true labor of love for a woman who has had Halloween in her blood since birth.  She’s also got a number of short stories available, including a new one in both Nightmare Magazine and the September edition of Flash Fiction Online.  You will find a link to her story, Ten Things To Know About The Ten Questions, later in this interview.  If you feel like a good old-fashioned creepy story, give it a read immediately.

Fittingly, on the day I gave Gwendolyn a call to chat, it was the first day of the year that actually felt like autumn.  The slightest chill was in the air and the sun highlighted leaves that aren’t quite as green as they were two months ago.  It was the perfect time to chat about writing and anointing the Martha Stewart of Halloween.


MANGLED MATTERS:  You are literally all over the literary landscape. Care to share where readers can find some of your latest work?

GWENDOLYN KISTE:  Well, right now, I am in Nightmare Magazine, with my short story Ten Things To Know About The Ten Questions.  I’m really excited about that one.  I also have a science fiction work of flash fiction in Flash Fiction Online, which came out earlier this month.  Of course, my biggest thing right now is A Shadow of Autumn, which just came out on e-book and paperback as well.  It’s been a really crazy month!


MM:  Regarding Ten Things To Know…, without any hyperbole, that story almost immediately became one of my favorite short stories I’ve read in a long, long time.  There is definitely a Bradbury feel to the story.  It’s got a really nostalgic old school feel and I just loved it.

GK:  Well thank you so much for reading!  Bradbury is always in my writing.  I always feel like Bradbury is looking over my shoulder while I’m writing (laughs), I’m such a big fan.  I even got the name Tally from Bradbury’s The Lake.  There are so many stories, and that one in particular, that really made me think about this- about girls who vanish.  They either die way before their time or simply disappear.  And that’s what really got me thinking, about how many great stories there are out there like that and why is that?  How can I play with that idea and do something different with it?  That was a major part, and starting point, of this story.

MM:  You also have a pretty strong background in psychology.  I thought it was really awesome that this is a very interactive story, complete with the test throughout the story and the point tally at the end of the piece.  It certainly added to the creepiness of the story! (MM note: I got a 28 on the test, so I am at moderate risk of disappearance.  If I come up missing… )

GK:  Well, thank you!  I was in psychology for a very long time and saw that as, really, my career.  But I always loved horror and writing.  So, in my mid-twenties, I started asking myself if a career in writing was practical and I finally said, “I don’t care if it’s practical- I want to be happy!”

I always hoped I could use psychology in a really direct way in one of my stories and kind of have fun with the things I learned and know about the topic.

MM:  Not many stories give me the genuine creeps, but this one did.

GK:  (Laughs) Thank you!  I tried!

MM:  A Shadow Of Autumn was a big project.  You contributed to the collection and did the editing.  How did this project come up?

GK:  I’m kind of crazy and I always like to give myself new challenges, so I figured it was time to do something really challenging and this is what I came up with.  I get bored really easily so I wanted to do something different.  It was the middle of July and I was thinking, “there’s some great Halloween anthologies out there but we could always use more!” and I know so many amazing writers, so I started to contact a few that I knew were big Halloween fans.  It started to really come together very fast.  It all came together in like two months.  My husband is an artist and did the illustrations and cover, so we were able to do a lot of stuff in-house, as well.  I also had help with copy-editing.  My dad is Yale-educated and he helped with proof-reading.  A good author friend of mine, Scarlett Algee , was able to help me with editing, too.  It was a really fun experience.

MM:  With the project coming together so quickly, how did you get the group of writers together?

GK:  Scarlett was the first person I contacted and she was super excited about being a part of it.  So I started reaching out to people and they had thirty days to get me a story!  I asked on July 15th and their deadline was August 15th (laughs)

It was asking so much from people and every single person who agreed to do it got great stories in, on time!  They deserve so much credit.  Halloween gets horror writers really excited so I think that helped a lot, too (laughs)



MM:  You were born and raised in a household that really embraced the macabre.  What does horror mean to you as a person?

GK:  I often describe it as the feeling of coming home.  It feels like home to me, like comfort food.  That’s really strange to say about something when there’s blood and guts everywhere and all that, but that’s absolutely how I feel about it.

MM:  You cite Bradbury, Jackson, Matheson as big influences on you as a writer and you can certainly feel their vibes coming through your stories.  If you had to pick a favorite piece of work from each of these writers, which would you pick?

GK:  The Lake by Ray Bradbury.  I love everything in The October CountryWe’ve Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson.  It’s not quite horror but I love that it lives in this strange space where it’s so many genres at once.  For Matheson, I’d have to go with The Faces/Day of Reckoning.  It’s been released under several different titles.  I read it as Graveyard Shift, the letters back and forth about the woman who has died and the child left behind.  That one really disturbed me.



MM:  The short story art form is so beautiful and certainly my favorite writing form.  Stephen King once said, “A short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger”.  What is it about short stories that intrigues you, both as an author and as a reader?

GK:  I love that quote, because I think that really gets to the heart of how so many short story writers feel about the form.  People think you have to create an entire universe in a novel and you can’t do that with a short story, but I would argue that.  It’s surprising how much you can fit into a short story.  For me, in particular, when I talk, I really like to talk (laughs) With short stories, it’s taught me how to par down my language and have it so there’s as few words as possible.  When I eventually go back and write a novel, my writing will be so much more honed because I’ll be so well-versed in the short story form.

MM:  You tend to write long-hand and then transcribe.  I do that, too.  I find it to be very therapeutic.  Do you keep all of your hand-written manuscripts even after they’ve been published?

GK:  Oh yes.  I keep it all!  I have journals, pieces of paper, index cards.. I feel bad for whoever is going to inherit my estate when I die because they’re going to be like “what is all this? That crazy lady kept everything!”

MM:  I’d like to envision we have trunks full of yellowed notebooks somewhere in our house, but in reality, it’s always that- just stacks of papers and notebooks all over the place!

GK:  Exactly!

MM:  Who gets to read your stories first right after you finish them?

GK:  It’s usually my husband who reads them first, just to make sure there’s no huge plot holes.  Then I give it to my dad, who is a great proof-reader and then Scarlett usually gets them third.  Then I’ll go back, edit again and send them off.

MM:  What are you currently reading?

GK:  Oh boy, I have piles of books that I’m somewhere in.  Every year I read The October Country by Bradbury and then I’m always reading anthologies.  I also always go back to the Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural, it’s from the 70s and it was the book that got me hooked as a kid, so I always keep a copy around.  That’s where I first read Matheson, I believe.  Theodore Sturgeon, that’s where I first read his work.  There’s a bunch of others but I have no idea right now!

MM:  Do you follow a firm schedule as a full-time writer?

GK:  I try to let it flow organically.  So while I try to keep some sort of schedule, I try not to think of it as a set schedule, or else I feel like it loses a lot of the creativity and freedom that I think you need to have as a writer.  If I haven’t written for a day, I can feel it.  I try to write six to eight hours a day.  Sometimes it’s less, a lot of times it’s more.  Sometimes I’ll be up until 11pm writing.  It really all depends on how things are rolling that day.

MM:  60 Days of Halloween is a really fun blog.  What made you start that project up?

GK:  I had been saying for years that I wanted to do a sixty days of Halloween celebration, because you can never have enough Halloween! (laughs)  So a few years ago, I had some extra time around the fall, and I figured I might as well finally do it.  Keeping a blog on it kept me accountable- it would force me to write every day, which is what I really wanted because I wasn’t writing as much, every day, back then as I do now.  It really did help and I think that’s why I’m able to keep such a strong schedule right now.  The blog just came to life out of a true love for the holiday.


MM:  You’re like the Martha Stewart of Halloween!  There are recipes, Do it Yourself projects, there are little historical stories and field trips you go on.  It’s a really fun blog to keep up with.

GK:  Well, thank you so much!  I write seven days a week on it, so there’s always something new going up.

MM:  Do you have any special Halloween traditions you stick to in your household?

GK:  Well my parents got married on Halloween, so we usually always have a little anniversary/Halloween party every year, so that’s a lot of fun.  Beyond the fact that I feel every day is Halloween, there isn’t much we do special on the actual day!

MM:  What are you currently working on?

GK:  I have a whole bunch of flash fiction pieces that are just about done, so hopefully those will be going out in the next week or so.  I also have about a dozen short stories that are just about finished, so it’ll be interesting to see which ones make it to the finish line and which ones don’t, so hopefully I’ll have a few more things done by the end of the year.  I’m also going to be helping out with a podcast that will be launching next month, called The Lift.  I’ll have one or two stories featured on it over the next few months.  Once I finished A Shadow of Autumn, I thought ‘this is good! Even if I take a few weeks off, I’ve accomplished my big goal so I’m OK with that!’ (laughs)

MM:  Regarding short story writing, you mentioned you have quite a few in the home stretch of being finished but you acknowledged they may not all make it to the finish line.  Are you really strict on finishing every project you start or are you OK with sometimes just putting something away?

GK:  It happens sometimes, but I try to put them in a folder and maybe come back to them in a few months and see if something clicks.  But I don’t tend to work from one end of the story to another.  It usually starts with an idea or a paragraph and then I build around that.  It’s not a direct path every time so there are some stories that just don’t ever really finish up and I’m OK with that.






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Jill Gevargizian: inside the mind of an independent horror filmmaker

photo by Maggie Dolecheck

photo by Maggie Dolecheck


Creepy perverts and creepier call girls.  Grandmas who have gone off the deep end.  These are just a few of the things that Jill Gevargizian loves to showcase in her films.  As a filmmaker, Gevargizian has pushed the boundaries of low-budget filmmaking as well as her creative resources each time she’s gotten behind the camera.  She’s an incredibly outgoing and enthusiastic person to talk to, so it’s little surprise she was able to recruit Tristan Risk (American Mary) and Laurence Harvey (The Human Centipede II) to star in her awesome short film Call Girl, which just so happened to be her directorial debut.  You can watch the short film here and I highly recommend you do!


Caught up in the whirlwind that is the film festival circuit and working on big news regarding The Stylist, a short film that Gevargizian says is her most personal yet, the blossoming director and all-around horror fanatic was kind enough to chat with me recently.

MANGLED MATTERS:  Who or what got you into the horror scene, per say?

JILL GEVARGIZIAN:  For as long as I can remember I have loved to be scared.  It started with the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books.  I also loved the TV series Are You Afraid of the Dark?.  One of the first horror films I remember watching- at 10 years old- was Candyman and that is still one of my favorites.

MM:  You’re a huge presence in the horror convention scene.  What are a few of your favorite aspects of the horror convention?  For me personally, it’s just meeting new friends, like-minded people who you can feed and feed off of creatively while you chat!

JG:  I agree with you!  To me, it’s like going away to summer camp when you were a kid.  I enjoy going to see friends and make new ones.

MM:  As a filmmaker, you’ve created quite a resume in a relatively short amount of time.  What has been your most proud moment as a filmmaker so far?

JG:  Thank you.  I feel I’m just getting started.  I’ve directed only four shorts so far!  I do, however, also love to be involved in other filmmaker’s work.  I always learn a lot and meet great people within the industry.

My proudest moment.  I’m not sure.  The thing I’m most proud of making so far is The Stylist.  I feel deeply connected to it on a level I can’t really explain.  I feel this film will truly show people what I am capable of.


Louis Wong (camera operator), Robert Patrick Stern (director of photography), Gevargizian, Sarah Sharp (production designer) and Najarra Townsend (actress). Photo by Ryan Housknecht.

Louis Wong (camera operator), Robert Patrick Stern (director of photography), Gevargizian, Sarah Sharp (production designer) and Najarra Townsend (actress).
Photo by Ryan Housknecht.

MM:  As a fan of the genre, who are some of your directorial or creative influences?

JG:  Well, this isn’t a horror director, but one of my biggest influences is David Fincher.  His work is very stylish.  That is one thing I strive to be as an artist, stylish.  Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil)- also a very stylist filmmaker.   When I met him, he was speaking about filmmaking and he said something I’ll never forget.  He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “People these days are too concerned with making their movies look and feel ‘real’- but it’s not supposed to be real.  It’s art!”  I really love that idea and have held it close to my heart.

MM:  Is there a topic or subject that you would personally consider taboo as a director?

JG:  No way!  I personally love very confrontational and disturbing films.

MM:  Call Girl is a fascinating project because you have two big name horror actors in Laurence Harvey and Tristan Risk showcasing an independent short film.  How exactly did this project come to be?

JG:  It was quite an intimidating project because it was my directorial debut.  It started with my good friend Eric Havens, who wrote the film.  I asked him if I could direct it.  I met Laurence at a convention years ago, sent him the script for advice and he offered to be in it!  We announced casting for the female lead and Tristan responded- thanks to her desire to work with Laurence.  We crowd-funded the project through Kickstarter.  It was a wild experience and still is!  We’ve been touring festivals for a year and a half – screeened over 60 times so far- and still going.  An artist in Japan, Daiju Kurabayashi, did a full comic adaptation of the film. It’s unreal.

MM:  Personally, what was it like to see your directorial debut make its premiere at one of the coolest horror conventions out there at HorrorHound Weekend?

JG:  It was a very awesome moment.   Only a year prior I couldn’t have imagined it.

MM:  Your latest project, Grammy, is another awesome project because it makes one of the most loveable people in a child’s life someone to fear.  I love it!  What was it like directing children in a horror film? How exactly did you maintain the horror without scaring the kiddies?

JG:  (laughs)  Grammy is about a little girl who wakes from a sleepover at Grandma’s to find out that there’s more to her that meets the eye.  It is super short- not even two minutes long- and will be premiering on Eli Roth’s Crypt TV.  Our young star, Hala Finley, was a blast to work with.  She is only six years old and very talented.  I feel pretty comfortable around kids, but it was all new to me directing one.   Her mother, Somyia, helped me out and told me to be very serious on set and to treat Hala like an adult.  She has quite a bit of experience for being so young.  I learned a lot from her.  And she’s tough!  She told me she wasn’t scared of anything except clowns.  (laughs)  I agree with her.


on the set of Grammy, with Marilyn Hall. Photo by Maggie Dolecheck

on the set of Grammy, with Marilyn Hall. Photo by Maggie Dolecheck

MM:  What makes for a truly upsetting horror film in your eyes?

JG:  What disturbs me most in film is sexual violence.  I find it very hard to watch.

MM:  What upcoming horror conventions or events can fans meet you at in the near future?

JG:  I don’t have any appearances scheduled, but my films are showing at a lot of festivals this fall!

Call Girl is screening at the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Fest, Ax Wound Film Fest in Vermont, and Twisted Horror Picture Show in Oklahoma.

Police Brutality is screening at Scream in the Dark Film Fest in Omaha and Days of the Dead: Chicago.

Look for Grammy this fall on Crypt TV– they post all their content on Facebook and Twitter, so give them a follow!

And I hope to premiere The Stylist in the spring at a prestigious festival.  Details to come when I can share them!



on the set of The Stylist. Photo by Ryan Housknecht

on the set of The Stylist. Photo by Ryan Housknecht

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Homemade Horror: an interview with Katie Tucker

Most horror fans have the exact same dilemma that Katie Tucker has- there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything she wants to get done!  Whether your goal is to binge watch the entire Saw catalogue or you are working on your first (or thousandth) novel manuscript, twenty-four hours is simply an insufficient amount of time to waste on things like sleep, eating and, oh you know, holding down a steady job that actually pays the bills!

Katie is doing something very cool in her spare time and hopes to make it her full-time job one day soon.  She has created a horror subscription box project that is already starting to rival some of the bigger subscription boxes out there these days.  Subscription boxes have become very popular within genre cliques these days, with everything from arcade video games and comic books to good old-fashioned horror being delivered to doorsteps each month across the country.

What makes Katie’s so unique is the fact that she supplies her subscribers with homemade items, things that will never be found on a Walgreens shelf or in a dollar store clearance bin.  Katie hand makes every piece of merchandise she sends out.

So it was a small wonder that she had time to accept my invitation to chat about her project and her passion for horror because, again, there’s only so much time in a day!


box mask

MANGLED MATTERS:  Tell us a little about yourself.

KATIE TUCKER:  I am one of those people who have always had an interest in a million different things!  I have always had a love for the arts.  I was really able to expand upon that starting in high school.  In high school I was in chorale, swing choir, pom-pon squad, theatre, art and took piano lessons.  I still continue to play the piano and participate in community theatre productions as time allows, however lately time has been a precious commodity.

I told myself that this year was going to be my year for opportunity, so I started a YouTube channel for various types of videos as another hobby.  I also launched my Etsy shop earlier this year.  I enjoy all types of crafting including painting, drawing, jewelry making, wreath making, and making my own home décor, but my most favorite is painting.  I prefer painting with acrylic, and I would like to eventually branch into watercolor.  I love knowing that pieces of my artwork are able to go all around the world and bring happiness to someone else who likes the same things I do!

Also, I am in love with Harry Potter and the TV show FRIENDS.


MM:  Who is your favorite horror film monster or villain?

KT:  My favorite horror film monster has always been Michael Myers.  I am not sure why, but I have a weird obsession with him.  I have also always been very fond of Chucky.  I would have to say that my favorite movie from the Halloween series was H20.


MM:  Where did the idea of the Killer Crafts Subscription Box come from?

KT:  The idea for my box came from a mixture of my love for crafting and scary movies, and also seeing the popularity of subscription boxes on YouTube.  I thought this could be a fun way to share my art with people who share a very specific interest with me.  I wanted to offer a very unique box with items that cannot be found elsewhere.  I love the idea of creating collectible pieces that can’t be mass-produced on the levels that the other boxes are able to.


box movie


MM:  Having seen an unboxing of the Halloween themed subscription box you are preparing, I have to imagine these boxes are quite the time-consuming labor of love for you.  With the items being hand-made, is there a maximum limit to the number of boxes you will make available each month?

KT:  These pieces are indeed a labor of love!  I have thought about this question a lot lately.  Right now, I work full-time while also running my Etsy shop and launching Killer Crafts on the side.  While I am still working full-time, I will probably have to limit the set at 150 per month, however if there is a great amount of interest shown, I would love to be able to get into the 400-500 per month range.  I do not know that I could physically make any more than that since it’s just me!

MM:  How long do you estimate it will take you to complete a full month’s worth of boxes?

KT:  Since everything is handmade, it will take me hours and hours of time every month to make these.  I am very passionate about my art, and I always strive for the highest quality of the work on each item.  I would estimate that it takes roughly two to three hours to complete each individual box.  On the Halloween box, for example, once I get the logo painted on cup, which takes 2 coats of paint, I then have to bake it in the oven to cure it so that it is washable without damaging the artwork.  The canvas painting on the tote bag is tedious because I have to wait for certain areas to dry before I am able to continue and finish the logo on the bag.  And for this box there are two possible canvas designs, one of which is extremely detailed and time-consuming.  The more detailed canvas – the 1978 movie poster replica – takes me about three hours by itself, which is why it was going to be a rare item in the boxes.

I am also planning to randomly select two subscribers for this month’s shipment to receive a special edition box.  There will be a few extra items in these boxes still within the Halloween theme!  I am hoping to be able to do this each month that Killer Crafts is around.


box items

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Writing Horror Whenever He Can: an interview with Glenn Rolfe


Glenn Rolfe has had an incredibly busy fifteen months.  Having published five books during that time, Rolfe has claimed he will be slowing it down a bit for 2016.  However, pardon me for saying- I’ll believe it when I see it.

Rolfe is one of the hardest working authors on the scene today, consistently publishing novels while also submitting short stories to publications by the boat load.  With over twenty author credits on his Amazon author page, Rolfe simply does not stop writing.  Which is a really great thing for us horror fanatics out there- because Glenn brings the goods each and every time.

With a full-time job and as the proud father of three young children, it’s a wonder Rolfe even has the chance- or energy- to pick up a pen, let alone create a library that has garnered him national attention.  Fellow author Ronald Malfi, an award-winning writer in his own right, called Rolfe “a rising star in the genre”.

Fresh off the release of his latest novel Blood and Rain, Rolfe took a few minutes to chat with me about his career, his inspirations and what to look for in a, ahem, slower 2016.

MANGLED MATTERS:  One of the coolest Facebook posts I’ve ever seen was the one where you were able to announce that you were signed on to Samhain Publishing.  It really hit home for me, a fellow indie author, as inspiration that with hard work and a dedication to the craft, you can achieve your dreams.  How long have you been writing professionally?

GLENN ROLFE:  Well, let me first say, Samhain has a great team of writers and Don D’Auria, along with a fun team in the office, but it is still a very small company.  I work full-time at my hotel job.  Writing is still just a loving hobby.  Would I love to get to a full-time writing place?  Hell yes, but as of right now, most of us at Samhain are still full-time regular job folk.

As for how long I’ve been writing, I started late.  I used to play in bands.  I was usually the main songwriter/lyricist.  I made the switch to author in 2011, when I scribbled the first draft of Blood and Rain, and I loved it!  I dove in the short story world of constant rejections.

I got my first deal with Samhain in March of 2014 for my novella, Abram’s Bridge.  That came out this past January.  That moment when you get a “I’d love to offer you a contract if you’d be willing” email from Don D’Auria…pretty sweet.

MM:  Who or what were inspirations for you as a youngster that really pushed you into the world of the macabre?

GR:  For me, I was exposed to a lot of horror movies via HBO.  My parents had cable for like a year in the early-mid-eighties.  I saw The Exorcist, which still unnerves me, Terror Train, Happy Birthday to Me, and April Fools Day when I was really young.  Totally scared the shit out of me.  I couldn’t sleep in my room for months.  My parents ended up getting rid of cable.  When I hit twelve or so, I finally got to see A Nightmare on Elm Street, there was a fear still there, but suddenly I also wanted to see the again.

I was a big reader as a kid, but swapped books for magazines in the hair metal days.  When I was 17 or 18, a friend gave me a copy of Stephen King’s The Dark Half.  Horror was the only thing I was interested in reading from then on.

MM:  Talk us through a typical writing day in the life of Glenn Rolfe.

GR:  I work 40 hours a week at the hotel.  I have a beautiful wife and three kids, aged two to eight, so I write when I can.  Luckily, two of my shifts at work are the overnights.  I get some clear writing time and try to make the most of those nights.  Home writing, that’s trickier.  I do it where and when I can.  I’d love to make a schedule and stick to it, but my life’s a bit too all over the place.

MM:  What is your writing area/office set up like?

GR:  I have a Wolfman toy.  I hung up the Samhain Ad featuring Abram’s Bridge and the other Janz, Shea, James books that came out with it in January that was on the back of HorrorHound Magazine.  I also have some drawings from my kids and a painting by a former co-worker of mine.



MM:  Your latest release, Blood and Rain, is infusing some much needed new life into the werewolf genre.  It’s an exceptional read- a very fun and gory tale that is good old fashioned horror, plain and simple.  What was your inspiration behind this novel?

GR:  My brother, who passed away in 2010, got me into werewolves.  He rented Silver Bullet and The Howling, he talked a lot about An American Werewolf in London.  He was a werewolf for Halloween one year and his masked scared me.  When I started reading a lot of horror, I decided to snag a copy of King’s Cycle of the Werewolf.  When It was over I remember wanting more.  I started thinking about the werewolf book I’d like to read.  That was 2004.  In 2011, I started writing the first version of that story.

I knew when Don asked me for a full length novel I wanted that to be Blood and Rain.  I re-wrote the novel last summer and Don took it.

MM:  Is there a specific horror subgenre that you’ve yet to write on that you’re dying to get into?

GR:  Not really.  I love almost all monsters.  Zombies are my least favorite, but I’d write almost anything if the right idea hit me.  I love ghost stories, vampires, aliens…


MM:  You are also a musician, firmly established in the punk rock scene.  Do you ever envision your music playing as the backdrop to one of your stories, or vice versa- do you ever write a song with a story of yours in mind?

GR:  Punks and horror fans seem to mix quite well.  I think I’ve used some of my lyrics in certain stories.  I wrote a song called, “If Jewel were a Zombie”.  That was based off one of the zombie stories that I loved.  “The Rising” inspired the line If Jewel were a zombie, then we could make dead babies.  That totally came from the scene at the front of that novel.

MM:  What is the best piece of advice a fellow author has ever given to you?  That being said, what advice would you offer someone who was committed to making their writing a career?

GR:  Two things I was told have really stuck with me.

Rena Mason told me that I had a good ”writing” voice.  We were talking at the Horror Writers Convention 2013 in New Orleans and I mentioned that I was in school for Creative Writing.  She warned me not to let them change my voice.

The other was Ronald Malfi.  He read the first chapter to my original manuscript for Blood and Rain and told me that even if a character has a small part, if I’m going to kill them I have to bring them to life first.  Even if it’s just a kill scene, otherwise it reads like a cheap kill, something from a horror movie.

My advice would be to write without fear.  If you don’t dare to let a scene or character be who they want to be, that character or scene will fail.  The readers can sense when you cop out.  I did a post on Jonathan Janz’s page about this subject.

MM:  What is the Halloween season like in the Rolfe household?

GR:  We always dress up and o trick or treating, of course.  My kids are exposed to all sorts of monsters.  They see what I’m writing and what I watch.  They drew me a picture of Alice Cooper without being prompted.  I try to up my horror film viewing in October for sure.  My kiddos love howling at every full moon we have.  That’s the Rolfe tradition.

MM:  What are you currently working on?

GR:  I’m always working on multiple pieces.  I always have a number of short stories going.  I also have two novellas at work and have four novels  in various stages of completion, which are all unrelated—well, except for my Boom Town follow-up.  Two of the novels are at around 12,000 words, just a start for me to pick up when I get the other two completed.

For stuff that is finished and coming next?  I have a novella with Samhain called Things We Fear, coming in March.  I also have another novella in the hands of another publisher and there’s no word on that yet.

MM:  If you could collaborate with any fellow artist for your dream project, who would it be and why?

GR:  Collaborations are a funny thing.  Writing songs or fiction is such a private thing for me.  If I had to choose, I’d love to write a ghost story with Ronald Malfi.  I love his style.  Very atmospheric, very beautiful descriptions that come across just right-not too overdone, yet a level above what a lot of my other favorites are doing.

Musically, it would be awesome to co-write a tune with Tim Armstrong from Rancid or Billie Joe from Green Day.  Those two guys have written some of my favorite songs ever.  I’d say Bruce Springsteen, but I don’t think I’d be able to function in his presence.


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