August’s Eyes: Glenn Rolfe
Reviewed By Miranda Crites
Many thanks to NetGalley, Flame Tree Press, and Glenn Rolfe for providing me with a review copy of “August’s Eyes” by Glenn Rolfe.
It’s probably been three, maybe closer to four years now since I discovered Glenn Rolfe’s work. I was hooked from that first discovery which happened to be “Blood and Rain” and was recommended to me by my friend James Newman. Since then, Glenn has been one of my “go-to” authors. He’s one of the best.
If I remember correctly, Glenn’s last release was “Until Summer Comes Around,” and that story really pushed all the right buttons for me. Growing up in the 80s (and 90s), I was obsessed with vampires. “Until Summer Comes Around” has all the flavor of the 80s right down to the AquaNet hairspray and cassette tapes–and the vampires, of course.
When I first saw a drawing on Facebook Glenn’s son had done for his new book, “August’s Eyes,” I was really excited to see what was going to go down! We are introduced to John and then his nightmares. Graveyard Land follows him from his dreams into reality. Through those nightmares, he discovers a very real nightmare from the past, and he can’t outrun them no matter how hard he tries.
I really enjoyed “August’s Eyes,” but it didn’t completely push all the buttons for me. (I’m thinking probably 3.75 stars.)
Unrelated to it not quite being a homerun for me (or is this the very reason?!), there was something very different about this book, and I can’t completely put my finger on what it is! I’ve thought about it for months, and I still haven’t figured it out. Simultaneously, we had the beautiful character-building and creepy setting like only Glenn can create. It’s Glenn, but it feels different which is perfectly fine because it provides variety.
With Halloween right around the corner, I think it’s the perfect time of year to give this one a read if you haven’t already!
The Kendall Reviews Post Review Interview
Miranda Crites & Glenn Rolfe
Miranda Crites: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Glenn Rolfe: In 2002, I picked up a copy of On Writing by Stephen King. I’d had a couple of ideas for stories and wanted to see if the book would help. It DID! I ended up writing 6 or 7 short stories and set them aside in my notebook. I got back into music and didn’t end up trying to write again until 2011 when I wrote my first draft of Blood and Rain. I haven’t stopped since.
MC: What was the first story you ever wrote? What was it about?
GR: The very first one was freshman year. I wrote a Jason knock off that my teacher actually liked. After dropping out, it wasn’t until the On Writing Experiment when I wrote a story called “The Eyes”. I would consider that my first real story. I had a girlfriend at the time that was in hair school. She had this dummy head to work on at home and its eyes always creeped me out. So, one night I wrote a story about it.
MC: How do you make time for writing?
GR: My life changed a lot this summer and I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate things. Barnes and Noble has actually been the place I’ve been able to work the most.
MC: How has your writing style changed over the years?
GR: I hope it has improved. I try to continue to push myself into new areas that scare me. I don’t mind going back and writing a fun, fast-paced splatterpunk story, but I like pushing forward at the same time and trying to expand the kinds of stories I can write.
I think August’s Eyes is a good example of where I’m trying to go as a writer. I want to create that old school paperback horror but the kind that can, at the same time, appeal to the masses.
MC: Which novel/story that you’ve written is your favorite?
GR: I LOVE August’s Eyes, but I think Until Summer Comes Around is still my personal favorite. It just has all the magic I hoped it would when I started writing it. I have been wanting to write that story for forever.
MC: Which was the most fun to write?
GR: I think the most fun was my short story, “Welcome to Paradise” (it’s in my collection Land of Bones). It’s the story of a punk model that murders on her Christmas vacations. Everything about the story exceeded my expectations. It’s cool, sexy, and violent all in one.
MC: Which, if any, of your stories is the most autobiographical?
GR: Until Summer Comes Around probably takes that title. There’s a lot of me in Rocky. I had a back brace for my scoliosis and I sucked at approaching girls. But even the other characters in here are either pieces of me or friends I’ve had growing up.
MC: Rituals: You’re getting ready to write. Do you pour a favorite beverage, light candles, crank up the music? Basically, what do you do to prepare yourself before diving into your writing world?
GR: If everything works out, my preferred set up is: Light a candle, have a coffee, beer, or margarita (depends on the mood), and write for a couple hours. I do have music on my headphones a lot, but not always.
MC: Do you have a designated writing space, or do you write in different places often or just wherever it’s convenient at the time?
GR: As I said, life changed a lot this summer for me, so I’m working when and where I can. But I do like writing at my desk.
MC: Are you an outliner or a pantser?
GR: Both. I outline for my Flame Tree Press books and I pants for everything else.
MC: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
GR: writing songs, playing my guitar, singing, playing video games with my son.
MC: What is your favorite food?
GR: hot wings or spaghetti.
MC: What is something your readers might not expect about you?
GR: I am afraid of tons of things. Spiders (although I’m starting to get better with them), snakes (they move so fast!), anything bad happening to my kids or anyone I care for, our government, stupid people, being possessed….so many thing!
MC: Why do you write?
GR: I love playing in my imagination. I love creating characters and creating characters that feel real.
MC: Who do you write for?
GR: I write for me, for sure.
MC: Why horror? What spoke to you and lured you into the horror genre?
GR: It’s the ultimate genre. You can really write any genre into it. The best horror books have romance, thrills, action, sex, blood, mystery, and suspense. And sometimes, aliens.
MC: What is the best book you’ve read so far this year?
GR: Best book from this year? I have so many I haven’t been able to get to yet, but so far, Sarah Langan’s Good Neighbors is my fav or 2021. Other books I finished this year that I loved are The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix and The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.
MC: What’s your favorite book of all time?
GR: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King It’s my favorite story by my favorite writer with my favorite love story. There’s just something about Ben and Susan’s relationship that hits me every time I read it. Plus, I love everything else about the book.
MC: What advice would you give to a new horror author?
GR: Write the kind of stories you want to read. Be true to yourself. Don’t chase trends. Don’t be afraid write outside of your comfort zone. Be fearless.
MC: You’ve just been offered an endless amount of money. It NEVER runs out. You can use it any way you choose, but you can never write again. Do you take the money?
GR: I’d take the money and help as many people in the world as I could. I’d miss writing, but it would be selfish to not be able to help others in need.
MC: What project(s) are you currently working on? What about the sequel to “Blood and Rain”? Is that something we can look for in the future?
GR: I have three more books under contract to finish (Chasing Ghosts 2 and Vincent for Silver Shamrock Publishing and Blood Predilection for Death’s Head Press’s Splatter Western series) After that, I’m waiting to hear back from Flame Tree Press on my next outline (The Mask). And yes, Waiting for Darkness (aka Blood and Rain 2) is underway. No idea when it will get finished, but it is still coming.
MC: Thinking about your newest release, “August’s Eyes,” was the idea for this book something that had been lurking in your brain for a while, or was it more of a sudden idea? What more can you tell us about Graveyard Land?
GR: The idea came quick. I moved to a town in 2014 that seemed to have way too many cemeteries and I thought this place should be called graveyard land. From there, I wrote the first three chapters and then set it aside. I didn’t feel like I was a good enough writer yet to attempt the story I wanted to write. Fast forward to 2019 and I decided to attempt it. I wrote the outline and the prologue and once Flame Tree gave me the green light, I pushed through the craziness of 2020 to complete the manuscript. It was certainly the hardest book for me to write due to all that was going on in the world. But I do love it how it turned out.
As for making Graveyard Land into a dream/spirit realm of sorts, it felt right. I wanted to have the freedom to make anything possible there and it worked out really well.
MC: Thank you for taking time to answer my interview questions.
GR: Thanks for having me, Miranda! Stay safe and stay positive!
When dreams start bleeding into reality, a social worker is forced to face the mistakes of his past.
A serial killer has found a way to make his land of graveyards a sinister playground to be bent at his sadistic will.
The secrets behind August’s eyes will bring two worlds together, and end in a cataclysm of pain and ruin.
Glenn Rolfe is an author 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, Richard Laymon, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, and many others. He has three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.
He is a Splatterpunk Award nominee and the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, Blood and Rain, The Window, Becoming, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Boom Town, and the collections, Slush and Land of Bones.
He’s hard at work on many more.
You can find out more about Glenn via his official website www.glennrolfehorror.com
You can find Glenn on Twitter @AuthorGrolfe
Miranda Crites is a reader, writer, book reviewer, photographer, artist, and lover of horror from the ghostly woods of rural West Virginia.
She has a Writing for Children and Teenagers diploma although most of her current work is horror fiction and poetry.
Miranda is a member of Team Kendall Reviews at www.KendallReviews.com where you can find her horror book reviews and her monthly feature, Miranda Snaps, which generally contains horror fiction and photography.
She has artwork, including paintings and/or photography, published in the following books: “Black Dogs, Black Tales – Where the Dogs Don’t Die: A Charity Anthology for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand” edited by Tabatha Wood and Cassie Hart; “The Boy Whose Room Was Outside” by Steve Stred & The Kids; and “Of Witches…” by Steve Stred.
Miranda is one of “The Thirty,” which is a group of thirty authors who have each taken a turn in writing a chapter of a horror novel. “He Has Stayed Too Long”
You can follow Miranda on Instagram miranda_crites
Follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaCrites
You can find out more about Miranda via her website www.mirandacritesreadsandwrites.com