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Author Interview: Halloween Games by D.C. McGannon

October 21, 2017

This is the thirteen (oooooo spooky and yet so fitting)  interview in my series of Author Interviews.

Pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Enjoy reading.

I am chatting with D. C McGannon again, this time about his book of scary tales, Halloween Games.

The wind is up, creeping into the gaps in my clothing and freezing me to the core. The hairs on the back of my neck rise and I’m not sure why. I whisper of a voice on the wind tickles my ears. Cripes, I’m scaring myself now…

Welcome D.C.

So terrific to speak with you again. Lets talk about Halloween Games.

What inspired you to write YA horror?

I guess I’ve always been a bit of a horror nut, so it naturally came out in much of my early writing. For years, I wrote a lot of poetry and thoughts about things that were bugging me and about difficult things we face in the world and in our lives. Horror gives a voice to a lot of that for many people and allows us to process things in safety, readers and writers alike. Horror is like a release valve sometimes, and in this world you need something to let the steam out every once in a while.

I agree, for me – it’s scifi and fantasy.

For the longest time, I never released much of my horror writing. There will be a lot more of it coming out between now and 2018, but when I started writing fiction full time I wanted to write something that would appeal to a broader audience, and specifically within young adult literature.

Later I began thinking that teens and young adults would enjoy horror just as much as adults. I know I did. So I decided to jump in and begin sharing some stories to that audience.

Yes, kids love scaring themselves silly. I think I starts when we see shadows of monsters in our bedrooms. Turn on the light and it’s nothing more than a pile of clothes! What gave you the idea to do it as three short stories?

Going to parties a lot as a teen, we used to play a lot of spooky games and try to freak ourselves out. When I decided to do this collection of stories I thought it would be cool to center the stories around the games we used to play. I didn’t want blood, guts, and gore for these stories, and so Halloween, parties, games … it just seemed like a great environment for some fun ghost stories.

Of course, there are many other games that aren’t in these stories, which of course means this collection isn’t finished. It’s just the beginning.

Ooooooh, terrific.

The stories are linked, Is there a wider reason?

Yes. Everything I’ve written—and most of that has been with my son and coauthor C. Michael McGannon—is connected. If you were to read all our works, young adult or otherwise, there is a connection in all of them. Some are smaller and some are much more obvious.

The stories in “Halloween Games” are closely linked to our “KAOS” series of dark fiction for adults. The town where these stories take place is actually within the world of “KAOS” and some of the elements and events you see take place in these stories are found in some of the “KAOS” stories.

Further, there is a character that is introduced in the last story of book 1 of the “KAOS” collection that appears in each story of “Halloween Games.” There will be much more of him in future collections and the expanded universe, so I attempted to gently introduce him here. I just hope it worked.

There is an old fashioned feel to the stories. Did you want them to convey a feeling of “old school” style horror?

Yes, very much. I enjoy a good ‘ol ghost story. You know, the kind you can tell around the campfire, or under dim lights in the living room after watching a scary movie.

Sometimes I think it’s good to raise the questions without always answering them. There are a lot of questions in these first three stories that will continue to be addressed in later stories. Plus, I believe at the heart of us all, we love down to earth stories, whether they are spooky, funny, romantic, or dramatic. There can certainly be a lot of excitement within a story, but at the end of it all, if it doesn’t come back home, and isn’t human, I think we as writers have missed the point.

A lot of “old school” storytelling focuses in on the relationships of the characters and the human element. Even the cover for this one has a small throwback to those old dime novels that had the cool banners across the top. Almost a comic book feel that they used to create with those. “Halloween Games” is a nod to a different time, and I think humanity is gravitating back to a time such as that in our entertainment: good old fashioned storytelling. It can be quite modern, and still capture that heart I think.

Yes! I totally agree. What’s coming in the future?

Sleep. Or at least I hope so. Hehe.

We are hard at work to complete our Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series, and a more serialized collection of works for adults in the horror genre, and I’ve got a couple of solo projects at different stages that I want to focus on in the next year. Of course, we’ll continue our “KAOS” universe with a new offering of stories soon in that world, and there will most likely be a “Halloween Games, part 2” for next Halloween. Like I said earlier, there are a lot more stories already at work for that series.

In addition, 2018 will be a big year for us as publishers. We have a very strategic focus at play for that part of what we do, and I am excited to finally be at a point in publishing that I believe we can make some significant strides. I do hope to have some specific news in that arena to announce very soon. *wink, wink*

YAY!!! Me too. *cough*

Little kids speaking with a voice of “deadness or predicting experience” in horror always gives me the creeps. What scares you DC?

Spiders. Evil little buggers. I mean, they are the reasons we believe in demons after all!

Hahahaha Oh D.C. I’m Australian! We are all about terrifying spiders. I feel your pain.

I once woke up to an enormous wolf spider in the wee hours of the morning, and I had left my lights on when I fell asleep. I woke up to the light reflecting off that spider’s eyes, and they shone red, and were pointed right at me.

Holy freakin’ hell….

I felt like the thing was cutting a hole deep in my soul and sucking out my life force. I began reciting ancient Latin verses of binding and casting out evil, and the thing didn’t budge. I knew right then and there that spiders were a level of demon beyond ancient recitations, and that those fu@%er$ would bring on the end of the world at some point.


Another time I had a mother wolf spider release her babies when I was right next to it. If you know about spiders having babies, they don’t just have one or two. They birth a small army, and they spread like an apocalyptic vision from the book of Revelation gone horribly wrong! To say the least I lost my cash and then some change in those two experiences. Also, if you have ever lived in Florida, you know we get Kaiju-sized spiders there, so it certainly didn’t help.

Remind me to tell you about Huntsmen, Red Backs, and White Tails.

Other than those, and sharks (I have come face-to-face with very large sharks on two separate occasions that changed me forever), I don’t really have much to worry about. I mean, stupidity scares the heck out of me, but I try to avoid that at all costs.

OMG… sharks too? Well if you ever visit Aus, watch out for the snakes…

Is there any other story that you really wanted to tell?

There is, and I may share it in the next year. It’s non-fiction wrapped up in poetry and fiction. It’s about abuse and recovery, a damaged soul who found freedom, a twisted world full of evil that didn’t win over love and grace and endurance when all seemed lost. It’s a story I have had difficult telling, but I think is important to give to the world as I know so many who need the healing it has to offer.

There are a few other stories that I am working on, like I said earlier, but I’m allowing them to simmer. I’m moving into a season as a creator where I’m really looking forward to the process much more than the result. I’ve always been that type of person in most things, and so I really want to let it flow in my writing more these days too.

I am dying to know which story was the real life story with you D.C.? I know you wont tell me, but can you give me a hint? Obviously you are alive, so there is a hint there… maybe? eek!

Haha! The only hint I think I can give without giving it away or spilling a secret I’m not sure I’m ready to yet is that my real life experience embedded in this collection is in the third story in the book, The House on Fireside Hill.

??? OMG, that was like the creepiest one!

Only two other people in my entire life know of that particular event. My wife is one of them, and when she read it the first time, she turned to me and said, “Are you sure? This seems awful close to home.” Of course she also knows a lot more of the details. I just shrugged my shoulders and grinned. What she doesn’t know is that there was a part of me way down deep that was scared to share it, and so I thought about taking it out. I left it in, because if I’m not willing to write at that level, I’m not really willing to connect with readers. I would rather make a connection.

I’m so glad you kept it in.

Sometimes as an author you have to risk a bit of yourself. I’ve risked a lot of my own heart in my writing in the past couple of years with personal experiences and loss and love and personal victories, so why not? I think the last couple of years have taught me that it’s okay to share some of those intimate, personal experiences even if they are wrapped up tightly in a story.

When I re-read some of those parts, I just smile knowing people are reading a piece of my soul out there. Some of it, somewhere, at some point in time, may actually connect with someone in their own lives. If it does, I pray it is healing, or freeing, or at the very least brings a bit of laughter to their own hearts.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today D.C.

Can’t wait to catch up again soon. (Very soon.)


That icy breeze is back. I tug my coat closer around my chest and duck my head into the wind. Time to go. In the distance their are two figures. One, a smaller body seems almost wraith-like. I immediately cross the road. Not tonight.

To read my review of Halloween Games click here.

You can purchase Halloween Games on Goodreads

About DC McGannon

D.C. McGannon pretends to be a ninja sometimes and two of his biggest fans, his sons Michael and Nathaniel, play along with him to make him feel better about it when he does. His other biggest fan (his wife, Holly) usually nods her head in restrained agreement, walks away, and hopes nobody gets hurt.

Mr. McGannon is the author of the Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series with his son, C. Michael McGannon. He is also at times a pirate, an alien, or simply the one who retrieves the Frisbee from the far side of the yard. D.C. lives with his family and their little Maltese dog somewhere in the Midwest. He is partial to coffee, video games, and coffee.

You can find more about D.C. McGannon at (YA Publisher) (Podcasts, stories, speaking)

Goodreads Author Page:



  1. Great to meet DC. The Wolf Spider tale was the creepiest. Thanks, Laurie and DC

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