December 30, 2014

Too Sweet to Be Sour: an interview with Glenn Rolfe, author of "Abram's Bridge"

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 and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. They currently reside in Augusta, Maine. (source:

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. 

Gef: What was the impetus behind Abram's Bridge?

Glenn: I’m in a writing group (Tuesday Mayhem Society). We decided to try and write ghost stories for our Halloween meeting (this was 2013). I really wanted to impress them, and put my best foot forward. I tried to find some mood music to start me off. Bruce Springsteen has never let me down. “Darkness on the Edge of Town” has 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.” That got me rolling. Style wise, this is pretty drastic departure from my previous release (The Haunted Halls). Where The Haunted Halls is a very vicious, no holds barred, chainsaw of a tale, Abram’s Bridge has elements that I dare say are pretty and dreamy. The character, Sweet Kate, was born from the influence Mercedes Yardley’s awesome collection, Beautiful Sorrows, had on me. She (Mercedes) opened a door for me I otherwise wouldn’t have dared to approach.

Gef: What kind of a gear shift is it when writing a novella as opposed to a full-length novel? Or, considering you recently released a collection, a gear shift into short stories?

Glenn: They all start off with an idea, or a scene. I usually get an idea right off if it’s got to be a bigger or smaller story. For me, short stories are certainly the hardest. They can’t miss a beat or they fall apart. Novellas are really fun because they allow you to stretch out more and really build the characters without having to make the story and its world too huge. Ultimately, I enjoy the process of a novel the most. Once you see write that first scene and open it up to the ether of whatever…it’s kind of magical. I don’t really plot, so it’s a real thrill ride to take on a novel. I’m amazed at where each one takes me. Eventually, you do have to make a loose idea map for where the story needs to go, but even those can be cast aside if the characters decide to take the story in a different direction.

Gef: How much does folklore, particularly local folklore, influence your writing? Are there any regional ghost stories that have sparked your imagination?

Glenn: Sadly, no. I mean, there are ghost stories and haunted places around here (Maine), but I haven’t really researched or dipped into them yet. I’m sure I’ll get around to it.

Gef: What do you consider to be the strength or saving grace of the horror genre?

Glenn: The strength is the people involved. That’s the writers and the readers. There are some really great writers out there right now. Outside of King, you have guys like Ronald Malfi and Brian Moreland (just to name a couple) that are writing really strong stuff each time out. You take a novel like Floating Staircase or Shadows in the Mist and you can’t help but be inspired. There’s also a boatload of smaller publishers perpetuating the pulse of the genre. Even with the self-pub world going as wild as it is, you need a publisher of some sort to hold us writers to a standard. I’ve done both paths, and I’d have to say, the confidence level is definitely boosted for the potential reader (and for myself as a writer, as well) in the piece of work if it’s had to pass through somebody’s quality gate.

Outside of the writing world, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have horror on TV exploding like it is. I don’t watch the Walking Dead, but I know a ton of people who do. I’m sure they are much more prone to pick up one of my novels now that they’ve got that horrific taste in their mouths.

Gef: What's the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Glenn: I haven’t really been given any bad advice yet. I’ve been given good advice that I’ve passed off and ignored. That, of course, came back to bite me. I’ve always been a learn-the-hard-way kind of guy.

I wish people would stop telling people that certain tropes are tired. Okay, that’s kind of hypocritical for me to say since I’m a notorious anti-zombie guy, but that said, I’m still willing to read a zombie novel if it’s done by a writer I trust. It just depends on what the writer does with the trope. If you write a vampire or zombie story, make it feel special. Don’t go paint-by-numbers. That’s where some of us younger writers run into trouble. For zombie writing, I took a chance on Nikki Hopeman (Habeas Corpse) and was rewarded with a fantastic novel. I just started Tim Waggoner’s The Way of All Flesh. There is a common denominator between those two authors, her name is Kristin Dearborn. If I trust someone, I’ll read anything (even a ombie story).

Gef: What kind of guilty pleasures do you have when it comes to books or movies or whatnot?

Glenn: My guilty reads are Dan Brown novels. My best friend and some of my writing friends consider him garbage, but I have a lot of fun following Robert Langdon around. For movies, it’s romantic comedies. I love them, just ask my wife! The Wedding Singer, When in Rome, even something like Something’s Gotta Give. I’ll watch them with or without my wife.

Gef: We're coming up to the end of the year, which means everyone and their mama is writing a year-end lists. So what book, movie, game, show, song, or dirty limerick has found its way to the tippy-top of your favorites this year?

Glenn: The Martian by Andy Weir (book), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (movie-it came out last year,, but I saw it this summer)—I also really enjoyed The Amazing Spider Man 2, but keep in mind, I didn’t get to go to the movies too much this year. As for new shows…the Rom-Com guy in me just discovered Rachel Bilson’s Heart of Dixie. Is that lame? I really want to check out Penny Dreadful and True Detective, but haven’t had the time yet. Favorite songs this year: “House on a Hill” and “Heaven Knows” by the Pretty Reckless, “High Hopes” and “Harry’s Place” by Bruce. There’s always room for some Taylor Swift in my world, too.

Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?

Glenn: 2015 has lots of stuff coming from me. Abram’s Bridge (novella, Samhain- 1/6), Boom Town (novella, Samhain- 4/7), and Blood and Rain (novel, Samhain- Release date TBD). My punk rock band, The Never Nudes, will be recording our second EP sometime this spring, as well. Other than that, I have a new novella (should be ready to sub by in a couple weeks) and two new novels that are close to finished. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with those.

Follow me on Twitter (@grolfehorror) or find Glenn Rolfe Horror on Facebook.

My personal favorite is my blog/website:

Thanks for having me, Gef. I appreciate it.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I have been fortunate enough to read Abram's Bridge and I heartily recommend it. It's a great story