This week, Glenn Rolfe stops by to talk about his recent novella from Sinister Grin Press called ‘Chasing Ghosts’. It is another fine entry into the Rolfe catalog. Glenn has had a busy couple of years churning out books in rapid fashion and he is putting himself in a strong position among the indie writing elite.
‘Chasing Ghosts’ is probably Rolfe’s most gruesome read, and I really enjoyed it (you can read my review over at Ginger Nuts of Horror). It is a backwoods slasher featuring some inbred hicks and a whole lot of blood, being a novella the pace is fast and furious so buckle up. Rolfe has a new novel out early next year called ‘Becoming’ as well as a follow up to his ace Werewolf tale ‘Blood and Rain’, so it looks like 2017 will be just as busy for him. I hope you enjoy this insight into ‘Chasing Ghosts’. Thanks as always to Glenn for the feature, he is one of the most supportive writers I have come across on social media and it is a pleasure to have him over here. You can find out more about him at the end of this feature.
Beyond the Chase: The Story Behind Chasing Ghosts
Last summer, I wanted to do a re-read of something with razor sharp teeth. I picked up my paperback copy of Richard Laymon’s THE WOODS ARE DARK. I read about twenty pages before I was inspired and compelled to scribble my own vicious tale. And when I say compelled, I mean exactly that. I felt absolutely possessed. The initial idea was to take my old punk band and have us play a show at a rented cabin in the woods. The original working title of the book was The Last Show.
I got so excited, I scratched out this generic cover.
So, I take my real life band-mates, Connor and Ian (rechristen myself as Jack) and take The New 45 (also our band’s real name) to Naples, Maine. The characters are pretty close to our actual personalities. For the people hanging around the cabin, I used a loose sort of recollection of characters we met on the road between Maine and Michigan. The feel of the people hanging out on the lawn, porch, and interior of the cabin draws from a house we played in Delaware. Cool kids who made us feel at home.
Like all stories, this one grew and grew. More characters showed up and I needed a good way to introduce my starring family, the Cobbs. What better way than to have some pre-teens playing a foolish game around and “abandoned” house in the woods? That is where we also meet Luke. Like the Eagles said, he’s “the new kid in town”. He’s lost his father in the military, and he and his mom move to Naples to wind up in this wonderful, happy story. Lucky kid….NOT!
After writing a batch of horror novellas that had a toe or two in other genres or sub-genres (mystery, science fiction, and psychological horror), I needed to return to the outright horror of my debut novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS. As I said, I was compelled to write this novella. I put down the Laymon book and got straight to work. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone; I wasn’t trying to amaze people with my originality. I wanted to write the kind of story I wanted to read at that specific moment. I wanted to write something that would make the late Richard Laymon smile.
The very first thing I wrote was the dedication: To Richard Laymon, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, and Jonathan Janz for giving me the guts to tear out someone else’s.
Eight days after typing the dedication, I wrote “the end”. That’s right—eight days. I told you I was possessed! Before you start thinking I’m some sort of writing machine, let me assure you that I’m not. Never before or since have I written something so quickly that I love so much.
Early reviews are drawing comparisons to the works of Laymon and Ketchum. There’s also a lot of Wrong Turn and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre mentions (and rightfully so on all accounts). I made no bones about the fact that this is an homage to my love of the horror books that got me hooked, most notably, the Leisure Books Horror Club novels (of which many Laymon, Ketchum, and Keene were an integral part of). It makes me happy that readers and reviewers are enjoying it and having fun reading this wild tale.
The title, “CHASING GHOSTS”, came from the game Luke’s friends are making him play as in” they’re chasing the ghosts of the Cobbs” (the long gone and dead Cobbs). It was my editor, the great and magnificent Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi that suggested the title change. She was absolutely right.
This is my first time working with the fine folks at Sinister Grin Press (also home to Janz, Kristopher Rufty, The Sisters of Slaughter, and many more). They were terrific to work with and even brought over artists Scott Carpenter who had done many of my covers for Samhain Publishing. I appreciated that they wanted to keep that working relationship going. Mr. Carpenter came through with a brilliant cover that couldn’t have been any closer to my wish for this book if he’d actually been in my head!
In the end, this was probably my favorite novella to write. I think it will totally appeal to fans of the authors I dedicated it to, and I hope also any of the readers who were part of the Leisure Books Horror Club. Early reviews have been great! I hope if you’re reading this, you’ll take a chance of entering these woods. If you have any questions or comments for me, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@grolfehorror) or find me on Facebook.
Thanks to Adrian for having me and for putting together this very cool segment for his blog.
Visit Glenn Rolfe at GlennRolfe.com
Pick up a copy of ‘Chasing Ghosts’ from here.
Check out his Amazon page here.
Check out more from horror books at Sinister Grin Press