GUEST BOOK REVIEW by Sue Rovens: Harvest Home

Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon

Both the movie (the made for television mini-series from 1978) and the book (written in 1973) are absolute wins. Harvest Home is the story about Cornwall Coombe, a tiny, almost forgotten hamlet tucked away somewhere within the Connecticut countryside and follows a young family (the Constantines) who desire a more quiet and peaceful life.

It’s part folk and part cult, but all solidly horror-based. The book does take its time “getting there”, but what Tryon does masterfully is set the scenes and create the world, so by the time hell breaks loose (and trust me, it does), you are all in.

The characters are riveting and truly jump off the page. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ll get to know and understand them. And while we might not live in a world like ‘the Coombe’, there’s enough folk horror of today for readers to have a firm grasp on the entirety of the story. Think Midsommar, The Wicker Man (the original), and to a degree, The Stepford Wives (the original), and even The Witch.

I recommend this book (and the made for tv movie – you can find a fairly decent offering on YouTube. It’s not the cleanest version, but you’ll get the gist.) It’s perfect for the fall, for Halloween, or anytime you want a fantastic story and pulls you in and refuses to let go long after you’ve finished with it.


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.

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.