Little known fact: my due date was Oct. 31, 1967. Unfortunately, I ended up being three days late so even though I do not have a Halloween birthday, I was supposed to and, to be blunt, Nov. 3 is close enough. Growing up, every birthday party was associated with the holiday, whether it was the costumes or the Halloween-themed invitations or even just the ever-present piles of candy collected on the holiday itself. My birthdays were always candy-filled celebrations and I have vivid memories of dumping pillow cases filled with candy into the middle of a ravenous horde of young boys and girls right before cake (because we needed still more sugar). Though, come to think of it, I did tend to receive gifts of candy rather than toys so that might not have been the best thing.
Now that I have children of my own, Halloween has become a multi-week celebration of spooky lights, creepy decorations and, of course, candy. It’s a toned-down celebration, kid-friendly and light on the scares and thrills. They’re growing older now, though, so the holiday will soon begin it’s ritual transition from fun, candy-filled adventure to more of an exploration of the sinister and horrifying.
Still, there was always something special about the birthday/Halloween connection that grounded me to the holiday. As the song by Ministry says ‘Everyday is Halloween’ and with a Young Adult Horror debut novel out in time for Halloween this year, every day does have that Halloween feeling. Not to mention also having that birthday feeling.
There’s something wonderful and comforting to be spending so much of this year talking about things that go bump in the night, the shadows in the closet, the mysteries under the bed or the ghosts up in the attic and with the release of my book that’s pretty much exactly what’s happened. Every interview I’ve given, every time someone asks about the book, I get to bring just a little bit of the creepy, haunting wonder of Halloween out into the rest of the calendar.
And like blood slowly spreading across the floor, Halloween also reaches tendrils of horror out from October 31. Looking for the latest horror movie? Used to be the week or so before the holiday was it for releases. Then, they moved to earlier in the month. Now? May for the big box office horror films. August for the slightly smaller movies. Christmas for creepy holiday movies, because every holiday now has at least one (if not more) horror movie to help celebrate the festivities. Jack the Pumpkin King really is taking over.
Same with books. Yes, horror novels will tend to congregate around Halloween, but like Literary Fiction and other genre novels, they also come out year round, to satisfy the growing and ever-present hunger for the horrifying.
So where the calendar used to have one bloody day to celebrate the macabre, the blood has spread throughout the year and it’s been wonderful to be a part of this celebration not just because it’s Halloween but because every day really is Halloween now.
TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Peter Salomon is offering one paperback copy of Henry Franks. To enter post a comment in the section below or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and put HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.
PETER ADAM SALOMON graduated Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a BA in Theater and Film Studies in 1989. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Boston and New Orleans chapters of Mensa as the Editor of their monthly newsletters and was also a Judge for the 2006 Savannah Children’s Book Festival Young Writer’s Contest.
He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Horror Writers Association and The Authors Guild and is represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. His debut novel, HENRY FRANKS, was published by Flux in September 2012.
Peter Adam Salomon lives in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife Anna and their three sons: André Logan, Joshua Kyle and Adin Jeremy.
Read an excerpt from HENRY FRANKS, Peter Salomon’s debut novel published Sept. 2012 by Flux Publishing
Four thousand, three hundred and seventeen stitches, his father had told him once. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men had put Henry Franks back together again.
One year ago, a terrible accident robbed Henry Franks of his mother and his memories. The past sixteen years have vanished. All he has now are scars and a distant father—the only one who can tell Henry who he is.
If he could trust his father.
Can his nightmares—a sweet little girl calling him Daddy, murderous urges, dead bodies—help him remember?
While a serial killer stalks their small Georgia town, Henry unearths the bitter truth behind his mother’s death—and the terrifying secrets of his own dark past.
Sometimes, the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.
Spanish moss, bleached to gray in the heat, stretched down from the trees and the breeze barely stirred the air. From his bedroom window, Henry watched oak branches reaching for the house, close enough to scratch against the bricks. The marshes surrounding St. Simons Island reached to the horizon, flashing with light where the rising sun reflected off the water.
With the blinds pulled up, he pressed his hands against the glass. Scar tissue ringed his index finger like jewelry made of flesh, matching the bracelet on his left wrist and the necklace of scars circling his neck. More snaked around his legs, beading with sweat in the Georgia heat.
Henry closed his eyes, took a deep breath and then counted to ten. A pushpin stuck out of the wall next to the window and he grabbed it without looking. A branch grated across the house with a hiss that seemed almost alive.
Where the sharp metal point broke the skin of his right index finger a single bead of blood welled up. He opened his eyes, took another breath and then counted again.
Against the glass, he pushed the pin the rest of the way into his finger. Blood ran like rain down the window but Henry Franks didn’t feel a thing.
Praise for HENRY FRANKS and the work of Peter Salomon
“Salomon’s Frankenstein homage churns through its often confounding but highly unnerving plot like a slow nightmare–readers won’t be entirely sure they even want to know how it ends. The scenes are clipped, the dialogue spare, and the prose rewards meticulous reading, making this debut the thinking teen’s horror choice of the year.” –Booklist starred review
“A strong start for a promising author” –Publishers Weekly
“Creepy, atmospheric, suspenseful, evocative…It’s 22 kinds of creeptastic greatness.” –Mike Jung, author of GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES
“Henry Franks is a story told in language that’s both gorgeous and creepy. It gave me chills, it inspired sympathy, and the ending! OMG, the ending!” –Natalie Dias Lorenzi, author of FLYING THE DRAGON
“I loved the dark atmosphere of this Georgia-based suspense novel, and how every detail added to the eerieness. Trees drip with Spanish moss and branches scrape at windows. Even the nightly dinner ritual is creepy.
The dialog between Henry and Justine is so authentic it feels like eavesdropping to read it. And the mystery had me riveted from beginning to end.” –Jeanne Ryan, author of NERVE