Glenn Rolfe is new to the horror writing scene. His first novel The Haunted Halls came out last year and he just released the wonderful Abram’s Bridge novella through Samhain Horror this week. I met him at World Horror Con last year and they guy is a creative dynamo.
Q: Tell me a bit about the story in your recent release Abram’s Bridge?
Abram’s Bridge is my first piece with Samhain. It is a ghost story, a mystery, and a thriller/horror tale all wrapped up in a neat little novella. I think it deals with a lot of inner demons that people will be able to relate to, and also, it zones in on the darker side of humanity. It’s definitely one of those man as the monster type stories. It is my favorite piece I’ve written in my relatively short time as a writer. I’m happy that Don and Samhain picked it up, and I can’t wait to get it out there.
Q: How long did it take you to write this novella and what inspired it?
I started it in late October of 2013 and finished it at the end of November. I was trying to beat a deadline for another publishers open call. I made the deadline, but they passed on the story. The editor told me they were picking one story out of eight great ones–Abram’s Bridge was one of the eight. That really validated the way I felt about the story and I decided to take the piece and try my luck again with Samhain. Don had passed on the first novel I sent to him earlier that year, but he told me he wanted me to send him whatever I finished next.
The inspiration was Bruce Springsteen, man. At the time, I was trying to conjure up a ghost story for my writing group and I had the Boss on in the background. In the song, “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, there’s a line that says, “Tell ‘em there’s a spot out ‘neath Abram’s Bridge, and tell ‘em there’s a darkness on the edge of town.” I’d listened to that song a million times, but it was like I heard that line for the first time. I just said to myself, “what happened out by Abram’s Bridge?” It all came together. It was going to be a straight up ghost story, but then as I was writing it went in a few unexpected directions. I’d never written a mystery before, and honestly, the thought of Abram’s Bridge taking that path scared the shit out of me. I just reminded myself that if it turned out horrible I could junk it, re-write it. I ended surprising myself.
Q: In your not so spare time, you are in a band. Tell me about the history of The Never Nudes and your musical influences.
The Never Nudes happened after I decided I was dropping music to focus my “free” time on writing. Some old buds put together a new band and said they wanted me to sing for them. Just when you think you’re out, they pull you right back in. We recorded six song EP last year and play when we can. There is a batch of new tunes waiting to be recorded so it looks like we’ll head back into the studio some time next spring.
I won’t speak for the guys in the band, but influences for me are all over the musical map. I love Bruce, as I know you do, as well. Then there’s the obvious ones: The Ramones, The Clash, Rancid, Green Day. But I’ve always loved Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, GNR, Metallica. New stuff that still inspires me would be The Gaslight Anthem, and for real, Taylor Swift. I don’t care what anyone says, that girl can write.
Q: Describe the route you took to become a published author?
I started writing in 2011. I’d never written more than a bad short story here and there just for fun, but I had this one piece that felt like the beginning of something, so I started working on it. Three months later, I had written my first novel. Next to my kids being born, it was the biggest, most energizing thing I’d ever done. That feeling was awesome, and I wanted more.
I had been a member of the Leisure Book Horror Club. I knew Don was the publisher I wanted to aim for. Those LB titles are what made me want to write horror in the first place. Brian Keene, Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, John Everson. Right as I was working on that first novel, I searched Don’s name and saw that Samhain Publishing had taken him on to start their horror line. I thought, shit, this would be the perfect time to get him a story. New company, they need authors…but I was a long way from being good enough, and I knew it.
I dove in. I started reading up on publishing and creative writing. I joined the Horror Writers Association; I started trying to write decent short stories, figuring I might be able to get in the business that way. I knew my novel wasn’t good enough to be published, but I was determined to learn, to gather all of the tools of the trade and write something better.
I sold my first pro story to EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy for their anthology, Coins of Chaos. That was in July of 2012. I started writing my next novel, The Haunted Halls, in December of that year. The real deal for me though was getting the email from Don for Abram’s Bridge in March of this year. That was my goal, and I achieved it.
Q: What’s coming next from Glenn?
Lots. I have Boom Town, my second novella for Samhain coming in April. And my first full length novel for Samhain, Blood and Rain, will see the light of day sometime later on. I have another novella and two more novels that I’m trying to finish up before spring…but who knows what will come of those.
Q: Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I’m a firm believer in beta readers. I need someone else to at least look at what I’ve written. As the author, I only see through my eyes, and can easily miss the most obvious things. Whether that’s a simple misspelled word, or a name change/spelling, or something that a character does in a scene that doesn’t sync up with how they are in the rest of the story. My beta readers will call me on that shit. I tell them not to hold back, and they don’t.
For my novels and my novellas, I use my best friend, Ben, and a gal that a lot of us in the know at Samhain turn to, Erin Al-Mehairi. They are both worthy of riches! I ask a lot of them, and they let me have it. I am forever grateful to have them as a part of my journey.
Q: What the hell is it with Maine churning out horror writers?
It has to be the crappy whether. The summers are so short; it just gets us all in a miserable mood. Maybe being so close to that guy in Bangor has something to do with it, too.
Q: Your great first novel, The Haunted Halls is set in a hotel, also the location of your day job. Have you had any real life creepy hotel experiences?
The only thing weird that I can think of happened when I was writing one of the scarier scenes in The Haunted Halls (I was writing on my overnight shift). A set of keys fell from the key holders next to me. It seriously scared the bejesus out of me. I got up and saw the keys and then one of our touch pad locks to a door on the other side of our back office beeped. You have to touch those things to activate them. I looked out and there was not a soul to be seen. My feelers were raised, for sure. Creepy.
Q: Money is no object. Where would you take your dream vacation?
Australia, Jamaica, Hawaii. Someplace warm and sunny and exuding a lot of culture.
Q: Do you have a Website or Blog? How can fans get in touch with you?
Yeah, my blog, Glenn Rolfe Scribbles Madness : https://glennrolfescribbles.wordpress.com
Also, my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Rolfe/e/B00AXYEBTY
My Good Read page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6939496.Glenn_Rolfe
Thanks for having me, Russell. I’m super-psyched to have my first piece at Samhain coming out the same day as your new novel, Dreamwalker! I’m reading it right now, and it is awesome. Also cool to share that date with Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz. All three of you guys have been very supportive to me and my career this last year. I appreciate it so much. Love this family. Go Samhain!