AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Chad Lutzke

Meghan: Hey Chad!! Welcome back to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. Thank you for joining in our Halloween shenanigans once again. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Chad: Probably that for a short time, my tribe widens, meaning that even those outside the tribe acknowledge horror by way of the décor in every store, front lawns, films released in theaters, and even TV episodes dedicated to spooky, making us monster kids feel a little more at home.

Meghan: Do you get scared easily?

Chad: Not from movies or books, no. From the possibilities of experiencing legitimate trauma that comes with living on this planet? Yes.

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

Chad: The Exorcist. I’ve seen it several times, and it still makes me feel uneasy.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

Chad: When they all stab the kid to death in Bully. That got to me. Another one would be the guy’s wife in the shower at the beginning of Terrified.

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

Chad: No, though there are some I won’t watch because I’ve heard a lot about them. One of those being A Serbian Film. I have no interest in watching stuff like that.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Chad: The Greasy Strangler. Hanging out with those guys would never get boring.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

Chad: Mike from Phantasm. I mean… he’s like 13 years old and works on cars, drinks beer, drives a Cuda, and has brass balls.

Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

Chad: Does Michael Myers count? As far as creature, either The Thing or the monster from The Ritual.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Chad: When I was young, it was trick or treating, of course. Now that I’m older and the kids are too old for that, it’s watching a horror movie. But I do that nearly every day anyway.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

Chad: The entire soundtrack for John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Chad: Communion by Whitley Strieber

Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

Chad: Technically, I wasn’t alone, but my wife was asleep. About 25 years ago we were renting a place that had the bedroom windows facing a little one-lane alley that never had any traffic. It was a hot summer night and those windows (which were directly behind the head of the bed) were open. Just as I was falling asleep, I could hear footsteps in the alley, then I smelled cigarette smoke. The footsteps stopped right behind my head, and my dog looked out and started growling with his eyes on the bushes under the window. I was too afraid to look behind me, so I slid off the bed as quietly as I could and called 911, whispering in the phone. After the footsteps stopped right at the windows, I never heard them again. I was terrified.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

Chad: I can’t think of anything crime wise, but I get a kick out of Bigfoot and alien stuff.

Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

Chad: My son’s girlfriend showed me security camera footage of a woman in their house wearing a nightgown, walking off camera to the corner of their room for an hour, then coming back into view and leaving the room. They have no idea who it was, but it happened while they were sleeping.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

Chad: Samurai sword for sure

Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
Chad: Vampire
Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
Chad: Zombies… far less threatening.
Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard? Chad: Won’t zombie juice turn me undead? If so, give me the body smothered in nacho cheese.
Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
Chad: 112 Ocean Avenue, here I come.
Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
Chad: You almost had me with the cheese, but I’ll take the melon.
Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?
Chad: Depends on what’s in the cauldron. I love frog legs, so I’m cool with that.

Boo-graphy:
Chad has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He’s had dozens of short stories published, and some of his books include: Of Foster Homes & Flies, Stirring the Sheets, Skullface Boy, The Same Deep Water as You, The Pale White, The Neon Owl series, and Out Behind the Barn co-written with John Boden. Lutzke’s work has been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, Richard Chizmar, Joe Lansdale, Stephen Graham Jones, Elizabeth Massie, and his own mother.

Slow Burn on Riverside
When 18-year-old Jex moves into a new apartment, his roommate’s descent into drugs paves the way for mental illness, while Jex deals with their sexually assertive landlady. But when her teenage son shows up, things take a very dark turn.

The Neon Owl 1: When the Shit Hits the Van
Jinx is a record-collecting, middle-aged minimalist whose dreams of becoming a detective are waylaid by love and laziness. But when he inherits his late aunt’s rundown motel, The Neon Owl, his passion for investigative work reignites while he searches for answers as to who keeps shitting in the bushes. His findings lead to a full-blown murder mystery where he and new-found friend, Roddy, the elderly, one-legged handyman, set out to find the killer.

A crime noir-ish whodunnit rife with humor, grit, and ranch dressing.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Clay McLeod Chapman

MEGHAN: Hi, Clay. Welcome to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. We’re happy to have you here today. Let’s start with an easy one… What is your favorite part of Halloween?

CLAY: I love taking my kids trick or treating… I loved it as a kid and now I get to relive vicariously through their candy-snatching as their chaperone.

MEGHAN: Do you get scared easily?

CLAY: I do. My flight-or-fight response is permanently flipped on to flight flight flight…

MEGHAN: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

CLAY: It’s impossible to narrow it down to just one! The original Black Christmas is a top contender. The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is profoundly upsetting. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death haunts me.

MEGHAN: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

CLAY: Two pop into my mind. The opening double-homicide that kicks off The Last House on the Left is excruciating to me. I’ve only ever watched that film once and I never want to watch it again. And then there’s the closing moments of Martyrs. That’s such a tough one for me, I can’t do it again.

MEGHAN: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

CLAY: I’m pretty sheepish around extreme violence for violence’s sake, so there are certain films that I just know are not going to be for me… If they’re films that make it to the multiplex, I can usually take it, but there are those underground movies (I’m looking at you, A Serbian Film) I just know to avoid.

MEGHAN: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

CLAY: A nice one? Twilight, perhaps? I always wanted to be one of The Lost Boys… Maybe that one?

MEGHAN: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

CLAY: Flatliners would be fun, the original, just so I could go to med school and get free therapy.

MEGHAN: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

CLAY: Gill Man from Creature of the Black Lagoon immediately leaps to mind. You can’t go wrong with the alien in Alien/Aliens. But I have a fondness for the “space herpes” creature in Ice Pirates.

MEGHAN: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

CLAY: Carving pumpkin! Every year we host a pumpkin-carving party. BYOP (bring your own pumpkin)!

MEGHAN: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

CLAY: My son got obsessed with Monster Mash, so that was on heavy rotation in our house for a while…

MEGHAN: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

CLAY: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Hands down my favorite. There are more disturbing books (I’m looking at you, Jack Ketchum), but this book took its unsettling storyline and elevated it to something heartbreaking, which I absolutely love.

MEGHAN: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

CLAY: Solo parenting can be pretty creepy…

MEGHAN: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

CLAY: I’ve been obsessed with the Alaskan Triangle… Where did all of those people go?!

MEGHAN: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

CLAY: Not the spookiest, but for me, the campfire tale that had the most impact on me as a child was the story of Taily-Po. It’s an Appalachian folktale about a hunter who stumbles upon something that he probably shouldn’t have. When I first heard that story around the campfire as a kid, it changed my life forever. I’ll always go to bat for the Wendigo, the folktale behind it.

MEGHAN: Okay… let’s have some fun:
In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?
CLAY: Something long and stabby.
MEGHAN: Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
CLAY: Vampire.
MEGHAN: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
CLAY: Zombie?
MEGHAN: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?
CLAY: Ewww… Why?! Dead bodies in the graveyard, I guess.
MEGHAN: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
CLAY: Poltergeist house!
MEGHAN: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
CLAY: Bitter melon!
MEGHAN: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?
CLAY: I love the idea of cotton candy made of spider webs! That should make its way into a story…

MEGHAN: Clay, I can’t wait to read your spider web cotton candy story so… yeah… you should get to writing haha. Thanks for stopping by today. It’s been great!

Boo-ography:
Clay McLeod Chapman is the author of the novels Whisper Down the Lane, The Remaking, and miss corpus, short story collections nothing untoward, commencement and rest area, as well as The Tribe middle grade series: Homeroom Headhunters, Camp Cannibal and Academic Assassins.

GUEST POST: Glenn Rolfe

When Fall Comes Around…

What’s not to love about Halloween season? If you’re a beer lover you probably have a favorite pumpkin flavored adult beverage (Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead), coffee and latte lovers are in pumpkin spice Heaven, and we horror fiends get to binge our movies and shows with slightly less crooked stares from everyone else. With the annual arrival of the Spirit of Halloween stores, we can shop among our brethren and those that maybe want to join the congregation but aren’t normally as comfy with the idea of standing out. All are welcome as the horror community infects the sweetest and the most innocent.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a summer guy. I freaking love and cherish the heat and sun and the waves of our short summer season here in Maine. That said, no one can deny the magic of a Maine fall. The cooler nights, the leaves beginning to change color, the sun setting earlier giving us more time with the darkness before winter arrives to kill any reminders of warmth. It is truly the best time for horror movie watching and in my case and the case of a bunch of my friends, the best atmosphere for writing our cold, dark tales.

We see devils and ghouls, witches and werewolves, vampires and demons decorating houses and storefronts, and we writers go to work. I mean, yeah, we still write horror in the summer, but I like to immerse myself in the chilly nights and use them to add that tangible spine-clenching frigidness into my works. Cold November rain anyone?

Whether I’m caring the bejesus out of me by watching The Exorcist or reliving the coming of age glory of The Monster Squad or It, Halloween always evokes the best vibes for creating and really connecting with horror stories.

Personally, I’ve written some of my best short stories and books around the holiday:

“Halloween Worm” from my collection SLUSH
“The Land of Bones” from my collection LAND OF BONES
My novella Chasing Ghosts
My novels The Haunted Halls and August’s Eyes

August’s Eyes is my latest and though it takes place in the summer, the vibe is not so sunny. The story carries a lot of darkness. It follows a man who has suppressed a horrible memory from his youth, but his dreams are coming for him. And so is a monster called The Ghoul of Wisconsin. While there are some warmer moments in the story, the majority of it will make your flesh crawl. As the dreams begin to bleed into reality, I ended up leaning on the Wes Craven films A Nightmare on Elm Street and Shocker to sort of plan out the supernatural aspects of the book. By the way, if you haven’t seen Shocker in a while, that’s another great 80s horror flick to add to your Halloween watching. In the end, I think I brought desired effects I had hoped for to life in August’s Eyes. Despite the horror, I think it also succeeds in dishing a couple sides of heart. I hope you’ll consider adding it to your TBR pile soon.

I hope you all had a safe and wonderfully macabre fall and Halloween. Be good to one another and stay positive!


Boo-graphy:
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He has three children: Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood & Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, and Slush.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Glenn Rolfe

Meghan: Hey Glenn! Welcome back to our annual Halloween Extravaganza! Let’s jump right into this: What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Glenn: Having NO excuse not to watch horror movies every freaking day!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Glenn: Trick-or-treating with my kiddos.

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

Glenn: For one day a year being a weirdo is completely normal! What’s not to love about that?

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Glenn: When things are going really well, I always think “this has to end soon”. That’s really my only superstition.

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

Glenn: In general, werewolves, but in movie/books: Barlow from ‘Salem’s Lot. Another villain I love to loathe because he is the most evil one ever created was Dale from The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White. So damn evil.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Glenn: The Zodiac Killer. It was/is such a fascinating case and if they almost had him, that makes it that much more frustrating.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Glenn: Feels too weird to say I have a favorite. None of them are favorites. But I find the cases of Bundy, Gacy, Ramirez, and the Zodiac as my top “can’t shut this off” in regards to any doc or podcast.

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

Glenn:
Movie: The Exorcist (scared the shit out of me and I couldn’t stop watching it until my mom made me). I was five or six, we had HBO and my parents were always busy doing other things.

First horror book (kids book): The Howling Inn. First horror book (adult): The Dark Half by King. I was 17 when a friend gave me a copy of the King book. I remember not being able to stop reading it. It was amazing to experience something so involved. It blew away watching horror movies, I remember thinking that.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Glenn: The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White. Dale has the power to bring people back from the dead after he kills them. And when they come back, they don’t remember anything about how they died. Dale does a lot of terrible things to them. It made me SOOOO angry I tore up my original copy. Now, years removed from that experience, the book and Dale have stuck with me. I bought a new copy a couple years ago and reread it. Now, it’s one of my favorite horror novels of all-time.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Glenn: The Exorcist. It just feels too real for me. It gives me the creeps every time and I don’t even dare to own a copy.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Glenn: From being a kid, the old Superman ones that were like cheap vinyl with that plastic masks. As for one I’d like to be… Spirit of Halloween has these really creepy ass old people masks. I want to dress up as that one year.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Glenn: Halloween I and II by The Misfits. Also love the cover of Halloween I by Alkaline Trio.

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

Glenn: Snickers or Reese’s are always great, but I’m not a fan of candy corn.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by today, Glenn. Always a pleasure to have you. Before you go, what are your five go-to Halloween movies?

Glenn:

  1. Goosebumps: Start things off light and easy.
  2. The Monster Squad: A Classic that ramps things up a notch.
  3. Evil Dead (original or remake): I love them both, so viewer’s choice.
  4. Trick ‘r Treat (2007): Who doesn’t love Sam? Plus, there are tons of creepy scenes and sexy werewolves!
  5. Halloween (1978): This should forever be tops on this list. A classic that stands the test of time. Also, feel free to follow it up with Halloween II right after.

Boo-graphy:
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He has three children: Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood & Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, and Slush.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kevin J. Kennedy

Meghan: Hey, Kevin! Welcome back to Meghan’s House of Books AND our annual Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Kevin: Throughout the years it’s changed. When I was young I loved making costumes and going tricker treating and then I hit a stage where I was a bit older and I would line up lots of horror movies to watch. A few years later I was going clubbing on Halloween and it’s probably the most fun night of the year to do it. For the last few years it’s became more of a month long event where I pick a few Halloween themed books to read, watch a few horror movies with my wife and pick up Halloween themed stuff that I don’t really need. Whatever stage I have been at in my life, Halloween has always been a fun time. I can’t imagine many horror lovers not loving October.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Kevin: Watching horror movies with my wife.

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

Kevin: Probably favourite now. Christmas was always a fave too, but my dad absolutely loved Christmas and he died a year and a half ago. This will be our second Christmas without him and it’s just not the same. I think Halloween has taken the lead.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Kevin: Nothing

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

Kevin: Jason Vorhees. I always loved the Friday the 13th movies but they seem to be doing more with Michael Myers these days.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Kevin: None that I can think of but for unsolved mysteries, it’s the Mary Celeste.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Kevin: We don’t really have urban legends in the UK. I think it’s more of an American thing. I’ve seen a few movies about them but can only think of the one where there is the scrape on the rook of the car and it’s the dead persons ring as they swing back and forth.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Kevin: Favourite is a strong word lol. I’ve been enjoying all the programmes about Dennis Nilsen recently so I’ll go with him.

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 was 6 or 7 I think and I snuck into the living room when my mum was in bed and my dad was out and watched the 1st Nightmare on Elm Street. I was terrified to go to sleep after it. Think it’s the only movie that ever scared me. I read a lot of Point Horror books when I was in primary school (ages 5 to 11 for the Americans) but the first adult horror novel I read was Darkness Tell Us by Richard Laymon. It blew me away and I devoured his entire back catalogue before finding other authors I enjoyed.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Kevin: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. I think because it was based on true events, it took it up a notch. It was really well written and it’s a book that never leaves you after you’ve read it.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Kevin: Nightmare on Elm Street

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Kevin: I went as the devil once. I shave my head but left two little tufts of hair at the front that I gelled into horns. I used red body pain over my entire head and torso. I wore a cape, black trousers and boots. I won first prize at work for it then I won a prize in a club I went to that night

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Kevin: The Monster Mash

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

Kevin: I don’t really eat candy.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by, Kevin. Before you go, what is your go-to Halloween watches and reads?

Kevin: Once Upon a Halloween by Richard Laymon and I like Rob Zombie‘s Halloween but not the sequel.


Boo-graphy:
Kevin J. Kennedy is the author of Halloween Land and the co-author of You Only Get One Shot, Screechers & Stitches. He has released three solo collections of short horror stories and he is one of the UK’s most prominent horror anthologists. He lives in the heart of Scotland with his wife and three small fur babies, Carlito, Ariel and Luna. You can find him hovering around Facebook most days if you want to chat.