Today I am happy to have Samhain Horror author Glenn Rolfe on The Horror Bookshelf for an interview in support of his delightfully creepy alien novella Boom Town (review). Glenn talks about his writing, punk rock, being a part of the Samhain Horror family, his upcoming releases and a ton of other cool stuff! Also, if you happened to miss it the first time around, Glenn was kind enough to share a brand new story titled “The Astronauts” last week that you definitely don’t want to miss!

A huge thanks to Glenn for stopping by to answer my questions and to Erin Al-Mehairi of Hook of a Book Media & Publicity for inviting me to participate on this blog tour!

Glenn Author Photo

Hey Glenn! Before we get started, I just wanted to thank you for stopping by The Horror Bookshelf!

Glad to be here, man. Thanks you so much for having me.

You write songs and act as the front man for a punk rock band called The Never Nudes. How did you first get involved in punk rock bands?

I started playing and singing in bands back in 1997. That band was called The Skin Flutes (we were a 3-piece). We started off with original tunes right off the bat. We did two albums which you can still find on bandcamp for free! https://theskinflutes.bandcamp.com/

I’ve been in and out of bands ever since. The Never Nudes came along a couple of years ago after I started writing. We’ve actually just called it quits. Lack of time and arranging schedules is too hard.

It was all fun, man. I used to sing Green Day and Rancid tunes all the time. One of my friends heard me and said I should sing in his band. That was the start.

The punk rock community has a long history of Do-it-yourself ethics and there are a lot of parallels with how that could be influential to a writer. Has that carried into your work as an author and what lessons have you learned from it?

Oh yeah. 100%. We used to walk through the crowds selling cassette tapes that we manufactured in my crappy apartment. Spray painted t-shirts, too. You learned to push your art. It’s never easy to walk up to someone who has no idea who the hell you are and ask them to buy your work for $3. Who knew I’d be doing that very same thing with my eBooks 17 years later! But yeah, I developed the tough skin needed to keep alive in this business. And a cool book cover can be as effective as a great album cover. Then there’s the whole word of mouth, grass-roots movement that bands and authors have to do at the start. There are a lot of things the correlate between the two.

Does music play a big part in your writing? Do you have any artists you like to listen to while writing?

Music almost always plays into my writing. I can’t tell you how many times a random tune comes through my headphones and works itself into my story. Off the top of my head…I know Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” is in the novel I’m working on now. It came on while I was in this scene and it just fit perfectly. I had to add it in.

And my first novella, Abram’s Bridge, pulls its name and inspiration from a Bruce Springsteen song.

How did you make the transition from a musician into writing fiction? What inspired you to finally go for it?

Well, punk rock isn’t what it used to be. People moved and I started a family. I lost my job in 2010 when the hotel I worked at closed. After a couple of months at home, I needed some sort of outlet. I had chicken-scratched a couple of horrible short stories in a notebook in the early 2000’s, but it wasn’t until I typed up something fresh during that jobless time that something sparked. I shared this short piece with some horror friends on Facebook and they wanted to know what happened next. They cheered me on until I had a sixty thousand word novel. I haven’t stopped since.

What drew you into the world of horror and what is your favorite thing about the genre?

I was always being subjected to creepy movies from my older brother. He would use them to scare the piss out of me. The Howling, Maximum Overdrive, A Nightmare on Elm Street… something about that powerful, resonating emotion—that fear—stuck with me. It definitely got me into reading. The bass player from The Skin Flutes gave me Stephen King’s The Dark Half and I was hooked.

My favorite thing about horror is how much you can do with it. To me, with horror, you can do almost anything any other genre can do–love, mystery, fantasy, drama, heartbreak– plus you can scare the crap out of people. You can push every button the reader has.

What is a typical day of writing like for you?

I’m usually writing blogs or reviews during the week. I do the majority of my fiction writing on my two overnight shifts at the hotel I work at now. I get three or four hours to sit with my laptop and go. Making time during the week for fiction writing is freaking hard. I have three kiddos that like to keep my attention.

When I do write, I almost always have music playing in the background. And I will use certain bands to set the mood. Danzig gets a lot of play. Bruce, hair metal, and whatever comes across the old shuffle.

Samhain Horror is one of my favorite Horror publishers. How did you end up connecting with them to release your work?

I tracked down Don D’Auria. He was the mastermind behind the Leisure Books horror line. I found out he was brought on to handle duties for Samhain and just targeted him. He was the only guy I really wanted to work with. Those LB titles were instrumental in making me want to become a writer. Abram’s Bridge was my most refined piece and Don loved it enough to offer me a contract.

Samhain Horror authors seem to be pretty supportive of each other. How has this helped you as a writer?

I just tackled this in a guest post last week for fellow Samhain author, Tamara Jones [in] “We’re a Happy Family”. And it is so true. Everybody is here for each other. I was fortunate to connect with guys like Jonathan Janz, Russell James, and Ronald Malfi while I was still honing my craft. Hell, I’m still fine tuning this thing. But even before I was on the Samhain roster, these guys were giving me advice and rooting for me. I felt like getting that first contract validated their time and faith in me. That first round of welcomes moved me.

I try to return that faith and encouragement. I try to pay it forward. I think we all do. It is a pretty special group. I’m honored to be a part of it.

You have mentioned in other interviews that you don’t really outline or plot out your novels, but instead take a more spontaneous approach. What are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages to that approach?

The advantage is you are learning what happens as it happens. Hopefully that translates to the readers surprise of what happens next. How can the reader know what’s coming if I don’t?

On the flip flop, I’m driving blind and can run into dead ends. But since no one sees that, I am able to delete and try again. I’m not afraid to fail or crash and burn in a story. You can always go back and try again. I can usually tell when it feels off.

Your debut novel The Haunted Halls started out as a serial work on Jukepop. What was the experience like? Would you try this style again?

It was good and bad. It gave me The Haunted Halls, but it was difficult. You had to write a chapter, edit it, and throw it up live. Once it was live, you could not edit it. They have since changed that. My ugliest mistake that I could not get down—Chevy Mustang. Yep, I like to say it was an alternate universe, but writing while you’ve been awake all night sometimes causes brain cramps. That was my big one.

I wouldn’t do it again. It takes time and commitment. I wouldn’t be able to do that now. If you are just starting out though it’s a good way to learn how to make a story that pulls people along. I think that was the best thing that came out of the experience for me. If you are writing and posting one chapter at a time, you learn to make sure that that each chapter makes people have to read the next. That’s something I see as a common thread pointed out by the reviews of my work so far. People can’t put the story down. That was my A+ in Jukepop 101.

The Ice Queen is one of the most original antagonists I have come across in quite awhile! How did you get the idea for her abilities?

I work at a hotel. The idea came to me there. I thought of all the things that would make my skin crawl and gave those abilities to her. I’m sure there is movie and novel influences in there, too. But yeah, she was a lot of fun to work with. I had goose bumps at three thirty in the morning numerous times. That’s how I knew I was doing something right with her.

Abram’s Bridge originated as an idea for a ghost story for your writing group. Do you still participate in the same group and if so, how has it helped you with your writing?

The Tuesday Mayhem Society. Yeah, there a bunch of great people, friendly as hell and just as twisted! I still get with them some, but not as much. Again, it’s a matter of time. I just can’t get there.

While Abram’s Bridge definitely shares the same voice as your other works, it is a little bit different in terms of style. What was it like exploring a different side of your writing?

Fun. I have to thank Mercedes Yardley for that. I read her collection, Beautiful Sorrows, and was blown away by her style and the things she dared to do and places she went with her horror. Sweet Kate would not have been who she was if Mercedes hadn’t opened that door for me.

Ronald Malfi’s Floating Staircase made an impression on me that I think bled into Abram’s Bridge, as well. The obvious line is that they are both ghost story/mysteries, but the atmosphere Malfi created in his novel, I definitely tried to re-create that a bit in my novella.

Boom Town is based on actual reports of underground booms in Wisconsin. What is the scariest true alien encounter you have ever come across?

I always point to the abduction story of Travis Walton. Whether you believe it or not. The movie, Fire in the Sky, has the scariest scene ever for an alien flick. When Travis is having flashbacks to what the aliens did to him…that gets every time. It’s one of my nightmares.

I loved the portrayal of the alien presence as a mysterious ooze. What inspired you to take that route as opposed to relying on more traditional entities?

Ah, the ooze. In the first draft it was more like the ectoplasm in Ghostbusters 2. But that just didn’t feel right to me. I wanted an alien connection and I just didn’t have the balls to go for it. I thought, “I’m a horror writer, I can’t write science fiction…” But once I got over the fear and added the opening scene and then the closing scene, the rest of the story fell into place and worked like I wanted it to. I had it in me and didn’t even realize it.

You’re upcoming Samhain novel Blood and Rain has been in the works for some time in various forms. What has the process been like re-working that?

Oh my. Blood and Rain, the first draft, was the first novel I wrote, the one I showed a couple of Facebook friends. It was much more Laymon-esque in its original form, but way less well-written. I sent it to an editor. He fixed all of my horrible writing issues, but the story was still less than good. I tweaked it and shopped it a few times. It was rejected by three or four indie presses including Don and Samhain thankfully! Yes, I’m glad no one took it. After Samhain took Boom Town, Don asked me when I could deliver a novel. I love the characters and the main story in Blood and Rain and I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I called upon two of my most honest and well-read friends to help me re-shape the novel. My best friend, Ben, kicked my ass. He told me if something sucked, or asked why a character would do this? I ended up re-writing about 50-60 percent of the last version I had. I had Erin (Al-Mehairi) clean it up and sent it to Don. Mind you, did all of those major re-writes over a four-week period last summer. It was intense, but the results were perfect. And Don agreed.

What was your inspiration for Blood and Rain?

Well, like I said, my brother showed me The Howling. He showed me Silver Bullet. He always seemed keen to werewolves. That rubbed off on me. One of my favorite werewolf bits is actually the beginning of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. That scared the hell out of me as a kid. That was done by the same guy who did An American Werewolf in London. After writing a couple terrible short stories, I started this werewolf bit. It started growing past my comfort zone. I remember thinking, “this is a novel”. I stopped, but I kept that notebook. I saved this story. When I started writing for real in 2011, this is what I knew I had to write.

I get my kids howling at full moons. It is hilarious. Plus, look at my name– “Rolfe: The unusual English surname Rolfe derives ultimately from the Old Scandinavian and Germanic pre 5th century personal name “Hrodwulf“. This was composed of the elements “hrod“, meaning “renown”, and “wulf“, a wolf.” [Source: Wikipedia]

It seems it was only a matter of time.

What horror novel has had the biggest impact on you as a writer and who are some of your favorite current writers?

Biggest impact: ‘Salem’s Lot. I kind of think Blood and Rain is my werewolf answer to ‘Salem’s Lot. I’m no Stephen King, but this is special.

For current writers out there…Ronald Malfi, Hunter Shea, Brian Moreland, I loved Jonathan Maberry’s Pine Deep Trilogy. A couple of writers I just got into last year that I really dig would be Adam Cesare and Todd Keisling. I could fill this list with Samhain authors. If Don gives them the thumbs up, that’s good enough for me.

If you could choose any writer to collaborate with, who would you choose and why?

Outside of King, who I’m sure I could share any idea with and he would make it amazing. I think I’d love to do something with Ronald Malfi. I love his style so much. I think we could make something deep and beautiful.

Horror writers are generally big fans of the genre as well. What sort of horror novel have you always wanted to see that has not really been explored?

Personally, I like what’s out there now. I like the classics. I like seeing someone drip their DNA into a “tired” trope. It’s like music, man. There are only so many chords and chord progressions that work, ya know? It’s what the individual has inside of them that makes their take special.

What other works are you currently working on?

I have two novels close to finished: Becoming and Window. Then I have a new untitled novella underway and plan on putting out my second short fiction collection, The World Comes Down, in the first half of 2016.

Thanks for stopping by The Horror Bookshelf Glenn, I am definitely excited to read your upcoming works!

Thanks again, Rich. My pleasure.

boom-town-tour-logo

About Glenn Rolfe

Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the ghost/mystery/thriller novella, ABRAM’S BRIDGE (Samhain Publishing, Jan. 2015) and his latest novella, a Horror/Sci-Fi mash-up, BOOM TOWN (Samhain Publishing). A full-length novel, BLOOD AND RAIN, will come out this Fall from Samhain Publishing and THINGS WE FEAR, a novella, is set to publish from Samhain in 2016.

His debut novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (James Ward Kirk Publishing, 2014), is available now, as well as his short story collection, SLUSH (Alien Agenda Publishing, 2014).

Look for his punk rock band, The Never Nudes, on Amazon and Facebook.
Check out his website: www.glennrolfe.com

About Boom Town

BoomTown

Terror from below!

In the summer of 1979, Eckert, Wisconsin, was the sight of the most unique UFO encounter in history. A young couple observed a saucer-like aircraft hovering over Hollers Hill. A blue beam blasted down from the center of the craft into the hill and caused the ground to rumble for miles.

Now, thirty years later, Eckert is experiencing nightly rumbles that stir up wild rumors and garner outside attention. The earthly tremors are being blamed on everything from earthquakes to underground earth dwellers. Two pre-teens discover a pipe out behind Packard’s Flea Market uprooted by the “booms” and come into contact with the powerful ooze bubbling from within. What begins as curiosity will end in an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.

Reviews for Boom Town

“…Stephen King-lite. (Boom Town) is quick, punchy and goes places you may not see coming before the final page is swiped or turned.”Horror After Dark

“Boom Town is quick and entertaining read that harkens back to the 1980’s brand of small town (or intimate invasion) alien pieces. Like a readers digest version of Late Night Horror Television presentations (every region had one, for me it was “Fright Night Theatre”) of “Invaders From Mars”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “Night of the Creeps” or “Xtro”Zachary, Mouths of Madness Podcast

Rolfe weaves a wonderful tale of big, bad things happening to a small, good town. A sure winner!Hunter Shea, author of Island of the Forbidden and The Montauk Monster

Add on GoodReads

Purchase Boom Town:

Amazon

Samhain Horror

Barnes and Noble

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