Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Girls of October by Josh Hancock

 "The Blair Witch Project of books...a superb novel." -David Royce,

The Girls of October tells the story of a young woman who develops a strange fascination with John Carpenter’s Halloween, believing that somewhere within the 1978 horror classic lays the truth behind an arcane force that has terrorized her since her childhood.
As an escape from a world that has not always been kind, film student Beverly Dreger takes comfort in spooky urban legends, horror movies, and monster magazines. But when a string of bizarre murders draws her closer to the folkloric entity known as “the bogeyman,” Beverly must unravel the mystery of her past and confront an ancient evil.
An epistolary novel, The Girls of October collects fictional primary sources—newspaper articles, film criticism, screenplays, short stories, interviews, police reports, and more—to tell a chilling story of psychosis, family secrets, and murder.

What inspired you to start writing, and when?

I don’t know—I just know that I was always writing fiction, probably as early as the third or fourth grade! I used to cut out pictures from monster magazines and comics, tape them inside a notebook, and then create fictional stories around the pictures. My parents, though mildly concerned about my interest in darker material, always encouraged my writing, and their bookshelves were filled with works like The Exorcist, Pet Sematary, and countless mystery and thriller novels. Throughout high school and college, I continued to write and began to develop an interest in combining different aspects of the arts (poetry, fiction, film, photography) into a single work that tells a cohesive story. My interest in multimedia led to the writing of my novel.

What is your preferred genre?

My preferred genre is literary horror, especially anything that unites different types of media to tell a story.

How many books have you written?  If more than one, are any a series…or trilogy?

The Girls of October is my first novel, but my previous book, Cabin 28: The Keddie Murders, told the true story of an unsolved quadruple homicide that took place in Northern California in 1981.

Tell us a little about your book.

The book is called The Girls of October, released by Burning Bulb Publishing this past April. The novel was born from my love of the horror films I grew up with, including Halloween, Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. But I didn’t want to write a slasher, “blood and guts” book. Though there are many gruesome scenes and plenty of chills, The Girls of October is an academic work masquerading as a horror novel. It features essays, research papers, short stories, news articles, letters, 911 calls, police reports, psychiatric interviews, and an entire dissertation on John Carpenter’s Halloween—all to tell the fictional story of a film student who believes a supernatural entity has been stalking her since she was a child. It combines my love of academia with my love of horror to tell a story that hopefully readers will enjoy!

Do you have plans for a new book?

My next novel is called The Devil and My Daughter, and it’s a collection of essays, articles, interviews, press kits, scripts, and oral histories that work collectively to tell the story of a group of young filmmakers trying to make a demonic possession movie.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?

I always plot, but I allow myself the freedom to deviate from that outline when necessary.

Did you have an editor edit your books?

As an English teacher for over 18 years, I feel comfortable with my own editing skills, but it’s always important to have fresh eyes tackle your work. For The Girls of October, I worked exhaustively on editing and proofreading the book before finding a publisher for it. Then the publisher and I worked together to perfect any remaining issues.

Are you a self- published (Indie) Author?

No, though I am drawn to the small presses. Cabin 28: The Keddie Murders was published by Adelmore Books, and I believe it was their first non-fiction, “true crime” publication. The Girls of October found a supportive home with Burning Bulb Press, who has an impressive roster of authors, including Gary Vincent, John Russo, and David Fairhead.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?

Lately I’ve discovered an interest in cryptozoology, so I’m currently reading paperback versions of Lyle Blackburn’s The Beast of Boggy Creek and Linda Godfrey’s American Monsters.

Who designed the cover of your book?

The cover was designed by my publisher, Burning Bulb Press.

Do you find yourself intrigued by the cover of a book enough to buy it? 

Absolutely. When I discovered Mar Danielewski’s House of Leaves, it was purely by accident. I happened to be wandering through the bookstore and the colorful spine caught my eye. When browsing books online, I think the cover is even more important and should really grab the reader’s attention in some way.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad - 

Reviews are always a good thing, whether they are positive or negative. I think all a writer can ask for is an honest review. So if you love the book, tell the audience why you loved it; and if you didn’t like it, be clear as to what put you off.

List 3 of your favorite movies?

Well, The Girls of October makes it pretty clear that John Carpenter’s Halloween is in my top three. I also adore William Friedkin’s The Exorcist and David Fincher’s Zodiac.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?

As a horror writer, I’m delighted by the recent uprising of horror/thriller television, including The Walking Dead, Hannibal, True Detective, and The Bates Motel.

Where can your readers stalk you?

My books can be found on Amazon and Goodreads, and readers can explore the world of The Girls of October at

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?

The Girls of October is in print softcover, at around 290 pages or so. There is also an e-book version available, but because of the epistolary nature of the novel, I think the print version is much more user-friendly.

Book links:

Book website:


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