Posts tagged "August Norman"

What Scares You, August Norman?

I met August through my Debut Authors 2019 group when his novel Come and Get Me came out. I knew nothing about him personally, however, so when we became Facebook friends, I was happy to see a nice smiling photo of him and his wife in a baby store, holding up an ultrasound image.

“Oh, how sweet,” I thought.

And then I noticed this terrifying thing in the background–a woman, with the most evil expression in the world, stomping on a sideways stroller and looking like she was about to attack them.

Someone isn’t so happy about the new baby…

I was so freaked out by this photo that I actually took a screenshot of it and sent it to a few friends. A discussion ensued. And then I went on August’s page and started scrolling–and I realized that the woman was a friend of theirs. That she did this sort of thing in a bunch of their photos. That August and his wife and their friends had THE BEST SENSE OF HUMOR EVER.

This especially resonates with me because my friends and I have a running joke where we take photos of ourselves looking bored and/or angry at really nice events (like weddings.) Anyway, all this to say that if August is this cool, then I figured his answers to my fear questions would be pretty great, too.

He also has a new book out this month! It’s the second in the Caitlin Bergman Series, called Sins of the Mother, and you can check it out on his web site right here.

What is your greatest fear?

While I’d love to claim to be terrified of clowns, spiders, or heights, my greatest fear is the loss of my memory. I can think of nothing worse than the inability to recognize my family, to recall my achievements, or even my tragedies (okay, that’s not entirely true…being buried alive, locked in a rapidly sinking chest in the ocean, shark orgy appetizer…that might be bad, too). Having witnessed the pain that the degradation of the human mind can cause with its slow, unforgiving march toward death, and having recently become a first-time father, my heart breaks for those that are robbed of their older generations, and especially, those suffering from early onset cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Paul Cleave’s 2016 thriller TRUST NO ONE, where a crime writer just approaching 50 can’t differentiate between his memories and the thrillers he’s been writing, really made me throw the book across the room.

What is your earliest childhood memory of fear? Or the scariest thing you remember from childhood?

Again, while I’d love to blame clowns (I did have to keep my copy of Stephen King’s IT—in particular, the version with Tim Curry as Pennywise from the miniseries—face-down on my book shelf for a month), the scariest nights of my childhood were spent in my grandmother’s house. No, there was nothing wrong with my grandmother or her house—it was a lovely place full of love, happiness, and turkey dinners. The scary nights came when everyone in the house but me slept peacefully while I stayed up, eyes wide open, listening to my grandmother’s ragged breaths, irregular due to her worsening emphysema, wondering with each dramatic gasp if I’d heard her die. Happy Spoiler Alert – I did not. She lived another decade and a half, but still, that helpless feeling of those anxiety-ridden nights still gets me.

Is there any fear you’ve overcome in your life? How has it changed you?

I was pretty anti-spider as a child, and as a tall man living in Southern California who constantly walks through webs during spider season (totally a thing), they still make me a little squiggly. But, as an actor and writer in my 20s, I wrote a role that required someone to have a black widow walk down their chest and into their boxer shorts. When no one cared to play the part, I had to step up. Luckily, our production was blessed with a world-class spider wrangler who worked pro bono because no one else had been willing (meaning stupid enough) to try it. Between his professionalism and someone else’s donation of a valium, we got the shot. Since then, I’ve been known to gather unexpected indoor spiders gingerly and transport them back to the wild unharmed.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I grew up religious and have stayed that way to a lesser extent over time. To be Catholic is to literally include the “Holy Ghost” in the model of all things. Therefore, how could I not believe in lesser than holy ghosts? While I’ve never experienced a haunting, I have enjoyed glorious moments of relief and calm when I believe deceased friends and family have returned to share a goodbye. If happy ghosts can make appearances, so can the others. 

Do you have a recurring nightmare?

That freaking Golden State Killer. Ever since I finished Michelle McNamara’s I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, I’ve had some half-asleep, can see someone over the bed, but can’t move nightmares. Beyond that, there’s also a house from my childhood, a lovely Victorian with lattice around the raised front porch…the basement leads to hell. Every time. It used to scare me, but the Nightmare on Elm Street movies prepared me to become a dream warrior, just in case. I’m fairly good at shaping my dreams these days. . .unless I’m dreaming right now? Oh crap.

Sins of the Mother

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever written?

While I’m a big fan of the cult I’ve created for SINS OF THE MOTHER, I was more scared and/or scarred by the serial abductor I invented for COME AND GET ME. To make it believable, I had to really ask myself what it would take to do those things—which means part of me had to know in the first place.

What is your favorite monster or villain?

Cult leaders. While vampires are a close second, the real world terror of knowing that sociopathic narcissists have and do manipulate people for their own benefits, often despite making end of the world predictions that don’t come true, is enough to make me yell at a screen, throw a book, or write my own.

You are renting a remote house with a few close friends when all the electricity cuts out. Are you the friend who goes down to the basement to check on the situation? If not, what do you do when someone else does, and you hear them calling your name from that dark basement? (Assume your cell phones don’t work out there in the remote wilderness.)

Finally, someone asks the perfect question. I have several answers, all of them are dependent on the number of friends in the house.

5+ Friend Scenario:

I do have decent electrical knowledge, so:

Me plus 1 in the basement.

1 at the top of the basement stairs, door open.

1 by the front door, still in visible range of the person at the basement door, able to see outdoors as well.

1 by the back door, still in visible range of the person at the basement door, able to see outdoors as well.

4 Friend Scenario:

Me in the basement.

1 at the top of the basement stairs, door open.

1 by the front door.

1 by the back door.

3 Friend Scenario:

Me in the basement.

1 at the top of the basement stairs, door open.

Couch in front of the front door.

1 by the back door.

2 Friend Scenario:

Me in the basement.

Friend at the top of the stairs, door open.

Couch in front of the front door.

Refrigerator in front of the back door.

Also, work out a series of code words before anyone goes out of sight, so you know if that voice calling your name in the dark is the real deal.

All of that said, if someone’s cutting your power, they’re probably doing it from outside of the house, so monitor the perimeter, particularly any power lines leading to/from the transformer…

Originally from central Indiana, August Norman has called Los Angeles home for two decades, writing for and/or appearing in movies, tv, stage productions, web series, and even commercial advertising. August’s debut thriller, COME AND GET ME, was one of Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2019 debuts, and SINS OF THE MOTHER, the second in the Caitlin Bergman series, will be released September 8, 2020 by Crooked Lane Books.