Originally published on The Nerd Daily
We previously reviewed your 2020 novel, Until Summer Comes Around [Flame Tree Press, May 2020], and were all-too-excited to get our claws on an early copy of your newest, August’s Eyes. The two books are very different: one a coming-of-age vampire horror/love story, and the other a more adult tale that harkens back to childhood terrors. Can you tell us more about how you see these two books—and how the concept of coming-of-age plays into both stories?
This was largely unintentional, but certainly something I’ve heard from readers. In Summer, there was definitely a coming-of-age aspect, but I think it was more subtle in August and driven both by experiences from my own life as well as the characters themselves as they began to grow and take shape on the page. For example, in August’s Eyes, the character Patrick is a sort of lynchpin as he grows and develops throughout the story, inspired, ironically, by my reading The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines and then influenced by stories I’ve heard about disadvantaged youths overcoming the rough hands they were dealt. One could argue that the book’s main character, John, though adult has a “coming-of-age” arc in the story as well, as he faces a long-buried childhood trauma.
Ultimately, looking back I see a lot of my own experiences—and a lot of my own catharsis—seeped into the story, but I think that’s part of being a writer: smearing your own guts on the page and being honest with your art.
Horror readers might be surprised to find “Easter egg” references to other writers in the genre—Gwendolyn Kiste and Todd Keisling, for example. It’s common for writers to name other writers. How did you decide which fellow authors to bring into your story?
Again, it’s a matter of bringing the personal into the story and repaying the impact that some of these writers and their work have made in his life. I read Gwendolyn Kiste’s Rust Maidens and rushed out and bought an album referenced in her book. I’m not even sure Todd knows I mentioned him, but he’s been a good friend and I loved making a sort of obscure reference to his book, Devil’s Creek.
Serial killers terrorize alongside curses in August’s Eyes, making this book equal parts horror, true crime, and even sprinkling in a bit of folklore. How did you come up with this combination?
Three words: Wes Craven’s SHOCKER, which was such a source of inspiration when I initially started the original draft of the story that would become August’s Eyes. John’s dream of Graveyard Land pitched against the real world, and how to make the two work together, started when I originally set down with this idea in 2014. I set the original concept aside and let it simmer until 2019 until I really sorted out how to stitch the ideas together while enjoying the recent wave of true crime/serial killer documentaries. I wanted was a story that involved a warped, tainted spirit would that could coexist with our reality, but it was within the twisted motivations of real-world serial killers that I found the glue to combine the two pieces.
Okay, tell me true: Any nightmares while writing John’s story?
Nah, I’ve got enough of my own nightmares to experiences John’s too. But I certainly did find inspiration for John’s nightmares in unexpected places. Actually, my son contributed to that—the spiders that erupt from John’s dream journal where a product of his imagination.
What can we expect to see next from Glenn Rolfe?
My third short story collection, NOCTURNAL PURSUITS, come out November 30th, followed by my novella, SOMETHING IN THE GROOVE, coming January 11th (both through Silver Shamrock Publishing). Beyond that, there’s way too many projects to mention. I have a lot in store for the next two years. Stay tuned!
Lindy Miller Ryan is an author, editor, and spooky things enthusiast who occasionally makes crafty things and bakes.