Celebrating OCTOBER NIGHTS with author Kevin Lucia

October Nights banner

This October, Kevin Lucia fulfills a dream with the release of a new collection of Halloween-themed short stories, October Nights. Crystal Lake Publishing will be releasing the collection on October 22, so this seemed like the perfect time to ask the author a few questions about his work, and to pick his brain about his — and our — favorite holiday, Halloween.

(Interview conducted by Blu Gilliand)

CEMETERY DANCE: What’s the origin story of your new Halloween-themed collection, October Nights?

photo of author Kevin Lucia
Kevin Lucia

KEVIN LUCIA: I’ve always wanted a Halloween release, but for whatever reasons, I was always working on something else besides Halloween stories, and the timing never worked out. Last spring, I realized I had several in-progress Halloween stories for the first time, so I pinged Joe Mynhardt at Crystal Lake Publishing to see if they had room in their schedule for a Halloween release. They did, so I plunged ahead, and here we are.

Are these all original stories written specifically for this collection, or did you pick these from throughout your career?

It’s a mix, really. “The Rage of Achilles” was originally published in the Random House/Hydra Halloween series, Halloween Carnival. “Long Night in the Valley” I self-published several years ago, but pulled it down a year ago and put it through extensive edits for re-release. “The Last Will and Testament of the Not-So-Good Reverend Ford” was written specifically for this collection, last spring/summer, and “One Last Pitch” was actually started almost ten years ago, and went through quite an identity crisis! It began life as a novella, then grew into a novel, then laid in stasis forever, then I tried re-writing it as a novella for my short-lived Patreon, and finally decided to finish it for October Nights, so this is really the first time anyone’s seen this, also.

What is it about this time of year, and this holiday in particular, that inspires you as a writer?
I’m still eternally a kid. I love that aspect of Halloween — the hype, the costumes (even though I don’t trick or treat, my kids do, so I’ve spent the last ten years on costume duty), the over-the-top lawn decorations. That night just seems kind of magical, and I love it when it gets a little foggy, and we’re walking the kids down misty night streets to trick or treat.
There’s something else about that night, too. The whole month, really. The leaves, the crispness of the air, the crickets in the evening — I’m currently finishing a Halloween novel, and I just love sitting out on the front porch in early evening, writing, and sort of drawing in the autumn vibe.

What are your favorite Halloween-themed stories, movies, and novels? What are the ones you always turn back to at this time of year?

Definitely the classics — Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. As far as movies, the same — the Halloween movies (ESPECIALLY Halloween III), Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Silver Bullet, Children of the Corn, Riding the Bullet, Sometimes They Come Back, Trick R’ Treat, and Hack-O-Lantern!
What’s a favorite Halloween memory of yours?

We always used to end Halloween at a friend of the family’s. Their children were all grown up, so my parents would sit in one room and talk with them, and my sister and I would sit in another room, divvy up our Halloween candy, and watch TV. One year, Saturn III starring Kirk Douglas was playing. It was science fiction…but man! That movie freaked me out. Was probably the first “scary movie” I’d ever seen.

cover of Infinity Dreams by Glen HirshbergYou’re back working with us here at Cemetery Dance as the trade/ebooks editor. Congratulations and welcome home! Anything coming up you can tease?

Everyone definitely needs to buy Infinity Dreams by Glen Hirshberg, which is the first book I’m working on. I love everything he’s written, and this is no exception. As to the rest…you’ll have to wait and see!

What else are you working on?
I’m currently wrapping up a Halloween novel called Pleasant Brook, and working on a novella entitled Joey Leonard’s Last Horror Movie Marathon. I also have a professional critique of my weird western, Billy the Kid and the Lazarus Stone which needs my attention, also!

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