Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Road to Samhain by Glenn Rolfe

Fans of horror may know author Glenn Rolfe for his terrifying short stories or his novel The Haunted Halls. Today, I’m happy to have Rolfe as a guest to talk about his journey into horror fiction and his latest book, Abram’s Bridge, published through Samhain Horror. 

Hi. My name is Glenn Rolfe. Prior to 2004, I wasn't really much of a reader. Sure, I'd read a few Stephen King and Anne Rice novels, but I would read one of those over the course of six months or so. It wasn't until my first marriage crumbled and I found myself living with my cousins that I turned to the written word for something. For something to escape and disappear into…I couldn’t choose what haunted my dreams, but I could decide on what darkness swirled through my mind during my waking moments.  I found myself venturing to my local Borders and perusing the horror titles in search for a new King novel. Funny things is, Borders had a terrific Horror section. There were plenty of the Masters novels, but as I let my eyes drift, I gazed upon names I'd never heard of: Laymon, Little, Ketchum... I had some cash acting like battery acid in my pocket and decided to venture outside my King/Rice comfort zone and snag two authors I'd never read. I left the store with paperback copies of The House by Bentley Little and The Rising by Brian Keene.

I devoured both of these titles and realized I'd stumbled into a wide world of frightful wonders. I remember Little's macabre and sometimes erotic scenes drilled holes through my preconceived notions on what to expect. I remember reading the scene near the beginning of The Rising where we find out what happens when one of Keene's zombies has a baby in their belly...Let's just say I never read anything like that before. These two books succeeded in pressing a number of buttons I didn't know were present in my brain. The scenes written in these pages were bold, over the top, violent, disturbing, raw...but somehow, the writer's made them believable. 
I don't think it was long after I finished The Rising that I found Ketchum's Off Season in the paperback section at my local grocery store. Off Season? Yeah, I experienced a BIG mind-fuck on that one. I noticed something familiar on the spine of Ketchum's novel–LB Fiction.  Inside the book I found the offer to receive Leisure Book Horror titles EACH month (the first two completely FREE!). Visions of Columbia House's music club and the magical option to have this new love delivered to my mailbox headbanged into my hungry horror-reading heart.

Over the next two and a half years, I managed to move six times, found an awesome new lady to marry, and welcomed my first baby into the world. I didn't end up signing up for the Leisure Book Horror Club until 2007. I got books from Laymon, Keene, Ketchum, plus new (to me) authors like Nate Kenyon, Gord Rollo, Wrath James White, John Everson, and Ronald Malfi. I dove in and swam their crimson lakes and rejoiced in this flood of dark fiction like the younger version of myself in the summer of 1988 overdosing on Headbanger's Ball.

All good things must end, nothing gold can stay.... She's my cherry pie gave way to I hate myself and I want to die.

Like a lot of my fellow horror literature fans in those days, when Dorchester Publishing imploded under the eBook surge, and the paperbacks by my favorites stopped coming, I was lost. I mean, we still had King and some kid named, Joe Hill...but who would have thought that eBooks would have played Nirvana to Mass Market Paperbacks’ Warrant?

In May of 2011, I started toying with the idea of writing my own horror novel. I'm not sure if it was the void left from the double-dose of books coming in the mail each month or the fact that I was between jobs, but I felt compelled to try. I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, I didn't even finish high school. What made me think I could write a novel? Well, whatever the case, I actually started the novel, and more importantly, I finished it. The first draft took me about three months to finish.  That was August 2011.

Samhain Horror Editor, Don D'Auria

Now, I realized that it was far from perfect, that it was not ready for prime time, but I immediately began to search for one name–Don D'Auria. I'd seen his name in the front of all of my favorite Leisure Books titles. I knew he was the man in charge of picking the manuscripts and authors that became part of the Leisure Book catalog. I also knew he'd been let go when the company started to sink. I Googled his name and found Samhain Publishing.  Don had just been brought on to start up a horror line for them. They were accepting manuscripts from all authors, established and new alike. I did not send in my manuscript.

I wasn't ready.

So I did what I knew I had to do. I read more books. I also added books about how to write. I started writing short stories and collecting rejections. I joined the Horror Writers Association and started seeking advice.

Fast forward three years.

I met Don D'Auria at the 2013 World Horror Convention in New Orleans. I pitched him the original manuscript I'd written in 2011 and he asked to see it. In October, I got the rejection email. He told me that there was a lot to like, but that he couldn't offer me a contract at that time. He also told me to send him whatever I finished next. So, that's just what I did.

In March of 2014 Don accepted my novella, Abram's Bridge.

Abram's Bridge came out earlier this year alongside new releases by three of my favorite Samhain authors, Hunter Shea, Russell James, and Jonathan Janz. All three of these guys (plus John Everson and Brian Moreland) accepted my friend requests on Facebook. All of these guys answered any writing questions I dared to ask, wished me luck, and encouraged me to chase that dream. I owe each of them a ton for what their openness did for my confidence as a writer. Thank you Hunter, Jonathan, Russell, Brian, and John!

Here’s the synopsis for Abram’s Bridge:

There is a darkness in this town, and it’s buried beneath Abram’s Bridge.

When Lil Ron meets Sweet Kate under Abram’s Bridge he is mesmerized. And when he realizes this beautiful girl is a ghost, it frightens him, but also draws him to her. Curiosity and a drive to make things right lead Lil Ron into a tangle of small-town secrets involving his own father and other members of this otherwise quiet community.

Bit by bit, he will uncover the truth about Sweet Kate, a story of heartbreak, violence…and fear.


Abram's Bridge has garnered some fantastic reviews. Above validating me as a writer, for me, it validates Don's belief in me. It validates the writer friendships that I've made since setting out on this journey. It validates my wife and family's patience and understanding in giving me the time and space I need to construct these stories.

I don't have any lofty goals or crazy thoughts of becoming a successful, full-time writer, but I do plan on crafting many, many, many more stories for anyone willing to read them.

If you're looking for a good horror story, I hope you'll give Abram's Bridge a try.


Follow my blog: Glenn Rolfe Scribbles Madness

And check out my Amazon page for all of my available works:

Watch for my next two pieces from Samhain Publishing:
My Horror/Sci-Fi tale, Boom Town (April, 7th),
and my werewolf novel, Blood and Rain (fall, 2015)