Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
My most current available work is the novel The Witch of the Wood, released by Hippocampus Press. This came out in December of 2014 and can be purchased and reviewed at the following:
The Witch of the Wood came from a scholastic place, as dry as that might appear. I am a college professor, and there has been much dialogue of late concerning love and marriage, specifically in reference to the relatively new (and radical) idea that we should marry for love, and not necessarily interests of family positioning. It made me wonder why we would assume that a gushing, first feeling of love would last over time, and while I am a romantic at heart, one cannot avoid the logical fallacy. I imagined that once women could change according to need, at least in a fantasy scenario, and hence, I had the premise for a hot, sexy (and frightening) book.
I decided to write when I was thirty and I realized it was one of the only ways to make a statement without compromise.
Stephen King for his uncanny ability to find the inner core of a character. J.R.R. Tolkien for story. Ernest Hemingway for his blunt syntax (and ironic rambling sentences used for counterpoint), and Tamara Thorne for her setting descriptions (among other things).
I write in my home office on my desktop computer. I write best from 5:00 in the morning until noon. Never after 5:00 in the evening.
First was the great rumbling, vibrations that sent numbing shooters through Rudy’s feet, pebbles and dirt seemingly from nowhere rolling and threading down the hill toward the shed, Patricia’s plywood work board trembling and shivering on its supports, then falling off at an odd angle. Next was the rocking, the skyline come alive, trees all around pitching to and fro as if engulfed in some strange hurricane that painted arcs on the horizon.
From beneath, there were great pulling sounds, stretching, yawning, a muffled army of high tension bows being drawn as the massive network of intertwined root systems strained to the absolute breaking point.
Then the earth erupted, a million buried circus whips cracking all at once as the embedded, roots ripped up from underfoot in a damp throaty roar, soil coming up in bursts and cascades, peppering the house, showering all around Rudy Barnes who covered his face with his forearm.
He thought he heard screams: a neighbor walking a dog maybe, a jogger, who knew? It got drowned out quickly by the fantastic collapse, the purging of the skyline as every tree came crashing down to the earth.
Rudy was lucky he was not killed. The border elms like the slats of some massive gate-barrier thundered down in a diagonal pattern, first smashing through the roof atop the detached garage, then the kitchen and laundry room, the rose garden, and all along the hill Rudy was sidestepping down, the ground feeling like shuffling floorboards in a funhouse. Rudy turned and tried to run. A gargantuan trunk pounded the ground missing him by inches, and he dove off to the right. The weeping willow on the far side of the back yard smashed down into the shed turning it to splinters and three trees plunged across Rudy’s path a few feet ahead of where he had fallen to his stomach. He covered his head with his hands for a moment, the scratches and abrasions up his forearms wet and stinging.
The thunderous booming of it was overwhelming, rolling shockwaves pounding the ground, a riotous tumult that felt like the end of the world. It reached a tremendous peak, then slowed, thinned out and scattered to isolated shivers, the final showers of soil and rock pelting down, then drizzling off like an engine ticking down as it cooled.
There were dull echoes. There was aftermath silence, but then came a mad skittering in the grass. Rudy raised his head and there, coming on at ground level from the felled ruin of the wood beyond the iron fence, was a mad rush of wildlife flooding over and between the crooked nest of trunks and branches: white and grey field mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, gophers, small foxes, deer, all jumping and crawling over each other in a mass exodus from a world that had been turned inside-out.
There were more screams now from over the hill, honking horns, cars crashing into things with gritty finality, hoarse shouts.
“Good acoustics all of a sudden,” Rudy thought wildly, as he pushed to his feet and made for the tool shed, its opened back corner still standing on its own like some ancient monolith. He moved, climbed, stepped across the jigsaw of foliation, lost his footing and raked his shin, then doggie paddled over to the “monument.” The catty-cornered shelves had held, and Rudy swiped the remains of a collection of gardening trowels to the ground along with a stack of clay flower pots. He climbed two shelves high and wrapped his arms around the corner post for dear life.
The evacuation swarmed underneath him, yipping and rustling, and what looked like a bear cub loped right past his ankle nipping and snapping at the air. The mass covered the hill, a rippling hoard of clawing, retreating hindquarters that scurried off to the jungle that had become Hampstead and Elm Avenues and beyond.
The dust and dirt that had risen in the air was now settling to a resinous haze. There was almost a dramatic pause then, like the time for a deep breath where one could take inventory, cut his losses, and measure his options.
But along the slope of the near hill there was new movement. A sneaky sort of creeping.
It was a spread of strange coloring, an outpouring, and Rudy’s breath caught in his throat. Bone white hands and arms were creeping out of the holes in the ground, skeletal fingers feeling about the perimeters, palms settling, then pressing, and then was the emergence.
Rudy focused on the closest cavity across the yard, where an elm had toppled down across the forest gate, bending the corner into a twisted black dog-ear. Back at its dark uncorked root-cellar, a form pushed out of the hole, black beetles and other vermin swimming off her in a sort of unveiling, white skin stretched bone tight and spotted with filth, tangle of black hair peppered with dirt. Her bulbous black eyes shuttered open and closed in reaction to the glare of the sun, and she pushed up to a standing position, bony knees almost buckling.
Her hand was at her forehead then, in a protective salute to shield her sensitive eyes, and Rudy noticed something. He still had a clear view of her face in an odd, sort of bare perspective.
“No shadow,” he thought.
She let her hands fall to her sides, and took a step forward, careful not to touch branch, leaf, nor stalk of the prison column that had held her underground for so long. She gave a slight curtsy, and then said in a voice rough with dirt, “Rudy. Rudy…Barnes.”
Michael Aronovitz has been writing horror fiction since 2009. Along with his two collections and two novels, he has published short stories and critical articles in a variety of magazines. In 2011 his short story "How Bria Died" appeared in Paula Guran's "The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, and in 2014 his short story "The Girl Between the Slats" appeared in S.T. Joshi's "Searchers After Horror" anthology. Aronovitz is a Professor of English and lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Kim and their son Max.