Guest Post: Honesty in Pain: An Inside Look at The Window by Glenn Rolfe
You can look outward and see life in progress. You can catch your reflection and see yourself, or maybe what’s behind you. For my fourth novel, The Window, I thought I needed all of the above.
When I started writing this story in the fall of 2011, I had only just begun writing. I’d completed one manuscript (Blood and Rain) and had a novelette-sized short story called, “October House”. One night while grabbing a beer or soda from the fridge, I was startled by something in the window in my kitchen. I actually jumped. Turns out it was my reflection. Fast-forward a few days and I was watching a Bruce Springsteen documentary about his fourth record, Darkness on the Edge of Town. Bruce talked about wanting a record that was real and that would resonate with a large audience. In order for your art to resonate you have to open up and give them something real, something painful, something they maybe went through or could easily relate to. I took all this into consideration when I started writing The Window.
This book is a very deep-cutting piece of fiction from my end. There is a tone of personal issues that I’ve struggled with in my adult life. Love, religion, alcohol, broken families, sex, depression, self-esteem, and a daily struggle to give this life your all when it seems you’re getting kicked where it counts. There’s a reason I stopped writing it when I did — I wasn’t ready.
In 2017, I finally pushed through and finished the manuscript.
While there are plenty of real life struggles presented — from the man dealing with separation from his ex-wife and son and trying to not get swallowed by his drinking, to the new girlfriend wondering what it is she’s doing wrong and questioning her self-worth, to a son witnessing things he should never have to see— this book goes deeper than any of my others. It takes a hard, gritty look inward.
And that’s just what our demons are looking for….
As the story unfolded, I began to create my own mythos for a couple of demonic lovers. While they are trying to possess our characters, their play is more complex than that, and even within that complexity there is a slight twist.
And of course, there is also a coming-of-age aspect to the novel. We have the last month of summer for the son and his best friends. I totally got lost in these parts of the story drifting back to my own childhood. It was a trip.
The hard part of writing a novel as honest and blunt as this is that it doesn’t exactly belong to any specific sub-genre of horror. I would have loved to give it more direction, but I felt doing that would have meant making too many compromises. Would it have meant an easier presentation for the book? Sure. But it wouldn’t have been an honest version of the book, and that’s what was important to me. At times, the book is 100% a coming-of-age tale, at others, it’s a brutal, bloody freight train that holds nothing back. In the end, The Window ended up a coming-of-age, Splatterpunk mash-up that I find to be both beautiful and as ugly as they come.
I could have catered to my loyal readers, but I would have cheated myself. And as an artist, sometimes you have to remember to stay true to your vision, true to your piece. You have to also know that it’s not for everyone and accept that.
As I’m writing this, The Window has a 90% approval rating on Goodreads with just under 100 reviews. All things considered, I’ll take that.
I want to thank my host, Michael Patrick Hicks, for having me on his blog, and any of you out there that have read, reviewed or rated the book, and/or those of you that just spent a couple minutes reading this post, thank you!
If you’d like, you can check out The Window on Amazon, where it’s just $2.99 for the eBook or $7.99 in paperback.
"A vital part of this generation." - Brian Keene, author of THE COMPLEX and THE RISING
Glenn Rolfe is an author/singer/songwriter 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, Ronald Malfi, Jack Ketchum, and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have 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 Becoming, Blood and Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Abram's Bridge, Things We Fear, and the collections, A Box Full of Monsters, Out of Range, Slush. and Land of Bones.
Check out his latest novel, The Window.
He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!