AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kevin Lucia

Meghan: Hi, Kevin! Happy early Halloween! Thanks for stopping by today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Kevin: Definitely the atmosphere. There’s something about September and October that I adore. The changing in the seasons and the leaves. The pleasant crisp air. I watch and read horror year round, of course (and write it!), but during the Halloween season, mystery hangs in the air. I know that sounds terribly dramatic, like I’m trying to channel Ray Bradbury, or something. Even so, it’s true. You feel like a kid again, when anything is possible.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Kevin: As a family, we always go and get pumpkins for Jack o’ Lanterns, and then cider and donuts at our favorite cider place, a few weeks before Halloween. I always read something Halloween-oriented on the the way.

For the past five years, my daughter and I checked out Spirit Halloween soon as it opens, and take silly pictures in front of the all the animotronics.

Last year, I started my own Halloween-movie-marathon September 1st. Doing it again this year.

My pastor and guys from my church (you read that right!) have been going to Reaper’s Revenge, the past few years, in Pennsylvania. It’s absolutely astounding. The size of the exhibits, the pageantry of it all, the communal sense of being startled with friends. Even after going several times and “knowing” what to expect, it’s an absolute thrill.

And of course, Trick-or-Treating as a family! I love seeing some of the displays folks put up.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Kevin: Pretty much for the reasons I listed above. When you’re out Trick-or-Treating, that night seems like it could go on forever. It’s slightly chilly but comfortable, maybe there’s a mist rolling around the streets, and everyone has dressed up as their favorite things, or their favorite scary things. There’s also a communal sense in the town we Trick-or-Treat in; everyone’s walking the sidewalks to and fro, and it’s quite a to-do.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Kevin: Nothing much, really. Sorry, it’s a boring answer, I know. Although, I’m STILL a little nervous about open closets at night…

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Kevin: I think it’s a toss-up between Pennywise (from King‘s novel It, though both cinematic renditions are pretty powerful), and honestly, Michael Myers of the Halloween franchise. In the novel It, Pennywise knows exactly what haunts us and hurts us the most, and knows how to use that with surgical precision, and his very presence brings out the worst in us. Michael Myers is an unrelenting force of nature, for some reason, far more imposing than Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Kevin: To be honest, I’m not much interested in these, so I don’t really have one.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Kevin: Well, I can tell you this: I’ve never, ever, been tempted to say “Bloody Mary” three times in a mirror. And I can pretty much guarantee I’m never going to touch a Ouija board, ever.

The one about the truck shining high beams into the back of your car – either because they’re stalking you, or trying to warn you about the killer in your beak seat – is also pretty impactful.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Kevin: Again, this isn’t really an area of interest for me.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Kevin: I saw my first horror movie completely by accident, and for the longest time, I couldn’t remember the title, just images. I was at my Uncle’s, flipping through channels, and I came across the movie involving mannequins, in which some guy gets impaled by a pipe, and the blood comes trickling out of the pipe. That image stayed with me, for some reason. The idea this guy’s blood was gushing out of a pipe in his gut. Also, the ending was disturbing, (I’ll avoid spoilers), because it called into question my perception of what was happening in the movie, and my perception of simply being alive and volitional. Years later, I realized the movie was Tourist Trap, starring Chuck Conners.

Not counting the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, I came to horror late. I didn’t read my first horror novel until I was twenty-one. It was Desperation, by Stephen King. I was astounded at its depth. How it pondered the meaning of good and evil, on both a human and spiritual level. It pushed me over the edge into become a horror and a Stephen King fan.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Kevin: In Silent Graves, by Gary Braunbeck. I’ll still never forget my experience reading that. It’s about a man who loses his wife and his unborn child in a terrible circumstance, and the nightmarish horror he’s pulled into. My wife was away at the time while I read it, and her absence was exacerbated by this story.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Kevin: Believe it or not, most horror movies don’t scare me, in the whole sense. I can tell you movies which made me profoundly uncomfortable, however. One of them was 8 Millimeter, staring Nicolas Cage. Maybe it’s not considered a “horror” film, but its deep-dive into the dark underbelly of the porn industry is truly horrific. And I felt like a strung piano-wire all through Sinister.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Kevin: Believe it or not, I don’t really have one. I think my enjoyment has always been the creativity of OTHERS, and their costumes, really.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

I’m not sure if I have one, but I can tell you during the Halloween season I have the Halloween and Phantasm theme songs running through my head all the time.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Kevin: Hershey Kisses! Disappointing: Candy corn. Ugh.

Meghan: This was great, Kevin! Before you go, what are your top Halloween books and movies?

Kevin:

Books:
Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
October, by Al Sarrantonio
Usher’s Passing, by Robert McCammon
The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury
The Narrows, by Ronald Malfi (although this more takes place during October, rather than being explicitly a “Halloween” novel)

Movies:

List #1
Tales of Halloween
Fright Night
Haunt
Trick ‘r Treat
The Witching Season
Night of the Demons
From a Whisper to a Scream

List #2
Halloween
Halloween (Rob Zombie edition)
Halloween III
Halloween 2018
Hack-O-Lantern
Dark Night of the Scarecrow
Pumpkinhead

If you’re interested, I briefly discussed these movies last year on our Youtube Channel:


Boo-graphy:
Kevin Lucia’s short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, most recently with Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Bentley Little, Peter Straub, and Robert McCammon.

His first short story collection, Things Slip Through, was published November 2013, followed by Devourer of Souls in June 2014, Through A Mirror, Darkly, June 2015, and and his second short story collection, Things You Need, September 2018. His novella, Mystery Road, was published by Cemetery Dance Publications in 2017.

For three free ebooks, sign up for his monthly newsletter on his website.

October Nights
Halloween is a night when anything seems possible.

This is true everywhere, but nowhere more so than in the small town of Clifton Heights. October nights here are long and strange, filled with both dread and transformation, and in these four shared-world tales of small-town Halloween horror, you’ll encounter things both wondrous and terrifying, in equal measure:

-A priest hears a ghostly confession on Halloween night which will mark him forever.
-A young man is offered a supernatural chance to remake his fortune, at the risk of losing everything.
-A pastor fleeing the death of his daughter comes to Clifton Heights to face his fears, but finds himself living a nightmare instead.
-Two people with supernatural talents face-off with an engine of darkness and pain on Halloween night.

Four connected Halloween tales, evoking echoes of Ray Bradbury and Charles L. Grant, taking place in a town where every day is All Hallow’s Eve. Spend the Halloween season in Clifton Heights… if you dare.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Sue Rovens

Meghan: Hi, Sue. Welcome to Meghan’s Haunted House of Books. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Sue: I’ve always loved “the feel” and “the atmosphere” of the season. Fall is my favorite time of year; October is my favorite month. The movies, the pumpkins, the spooky things, the trick-or-treating – all of it. I would totally go trick-or-treating now (if Charlie, my husband, would go with!) I think it would be a gas.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Sue: Trick-or-treating the old school way. Get dressed up, grab a pillowcase, and run house to house for hours.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Sue: I don’t know if I’m superstitious, per se, but I also don’t see the need to tempt the fates. If I spill salt, I’ll throw some grains over my left shoulder. I won’t walk under a ladder (if I can help it). I’ll try not to open an umbrella in the house. I DO have a black cat, though. Noodle is adorable and not scary at all. 😊

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Sue: I don’t really have a favorite villain, but I do have a lot of respect for the originals – The Mummy (the real one, not the Brendan Fraser mashup), Dracula, etc. So much was built on those characters, it’s hard not to have some reverence toward the ones who came before.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Sue: I imagine if I had to pick, I would say anything revolving around Ouija Boards. Even after writing an in-depth scholarly article about them (and knowing that they were created for parlor entertainment), I still think that there’s SOME way they can invite “evilness” into a house. And why in the world would I want to do that??

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Sue: The question is a bit of a misnomer as I don’t have a “favorite” serial killer (and, thinking about it, I don’t know if ordinary folks should). BUT having said that, I find Ed Gein one of the most interesting/character studies, probably because of the time period in which everything took place. The 1950’s were generally seen as such an idyllic era (no, not socially forward thinking, but we’re not addressing that here) that discovering what types of activities Ed Gein was actually engaged in was a complete and unconscionable shock. Eventually, the powers that be had to have his house torn down because people continued to be drawn to this “house of horrors” (for a variety of reasons).

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?

Sue: That goes back pretty darn far! LOL. I can’t say I remember what my very first horror movie was, BUT I do recall watching parts of The Mummy (1932), The Crawling Hand (1963), and Dracula (1931) when I was a kid (my brother would be watching these and I’d be in the same room). A little later (probably 9 – 15), I’d watch Made-for-TV “horror”. Those were the best (1970s).

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Sue: When I was around 15, 16, I read ‘Salem’s Lot (Stephen King). That was the main impetus of me wanting to become a writer. I found it really scary at the time.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Sue: Hmmm. Well, this might not be the kind of answer you’re looking for, but there’s been a few “extreme” horror movies that I wish I could unsee (for a whole host of reasons). Cannibal Holocaust is certainly one. I refused to watch the “animal scenes” because that’s where I draw the line. Plus, it’s basically just a poorly made slaughter-fest which, to me, isn’t “scary” or “horror”, but simply disgusting and grotesque.

Salo (120 Days) is another movie that I couldn’t come to terms with, no matter how I tried. If there are any redeeming qualities to this film, they’re beyond my capacity of understanding and critical ability. Yes, it’s created to provoke emotions and feelings, but the only feeling I retained after having witnessed it was that of nausea.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Sue: When I was 17, I dressed up as Richard Simmons. 😊

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Sue: I didn’t know there were actual Halloween songs! LOL.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Sue: Reese’s are perfection in any size, but I’ll take a Milk Dud or Butterfinger any day. Oh, the “fun size” they sell now? Scam. Total scam. Fun Size USED to be about half (maybe a third) of a regular bar. Now? Forget about it.

Neccos are beyond disappointing. They’re just evil and wrong.

Meghan: One more thing before we go: What are some Halloween movies you think we should definitely watch?

Sue:
Pontypool – Trust me. This is a brilliantly made Canadian film which doesn’t rely on special effects, excessive gore, or goofy one-liners. One of my favorite movies.

Burnt Offerings – Sure, it’s from 1976, but it’s fantastic. Spooky, great story, and some really scary scenes. Very little gore – doesn’t need it. The characters and story drive it home.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Campy, but insane, all at the same time. I love revisiting this one. If you can overlook the “smarminess” of the main character, it’s a great romp and features an additive melody.

The Sentinel – Again, another old school one. This movie is so trippy, though, it’s a delight to behold. If you’re looking for weird jump cuts and Burgess Meredith reveling in his scenes, give this one a try.

The Thing (1982) – Pure, unadulterated horror. Scary. Shocking. Intense. Great all around.


Boo-graphy:
Sue Rovens is an indie suspense/horror author who hails from Normal, Illinois. She has written four novels and two books of short horror stories, with her latest book, Rage, having “hit the shelves” in July 2021.

Track 9, her second novel, snagged a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly (May 2018), her short story, “Coming Over”, from her book In a Corner, Darkly (Volume 1), was turned into a screenplay and short student indie film by the theater department of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and another short story, “When the Earth Bled”, won 2nd place in the Support Indie Authors short story contest earlier this year. Her two most recent books (Buried and Rage) are under Plump Toad Press.

Sue owns a blog which includes interviews with authors, musicians, podcasters, and artists. She is an Executive Producer for an indie (short) horror film which is currently in production called “Let’s Do Things that Make Us Happy”. Sue is also a co-host and story writer for the new horror podcast, Ye Olde Terror Inn.

Sue is a member of The Chicago Writers Association and the Alliance for Independent Authors (ALLi). 

Blog/Website
Email
Amazon

Rage
Weston Cross is a bullied and abused man who wants nothing more than to escape from his agonizing mental anguish and excruciating misery. After a harrowing brush with death, he discovers a better way to twist his depression and self-despair into something different…something sinister.Lindsay Yager, the therapist assigned to help Weston with his internal battles, is fighting her own demons. On the verge of a nasty divorce, she finds solace at the bottom of a bottle. Her anger and vitriol take no prisoners, even when lives are at stake – including her own.Depression sets the stage, but RAGE will have the final say.