Halloween Hoosier | Shane Bitterling
Written by Brendan Douglas
What does an author of horror and all things creepy crawly do during the COVID pandemic to stay busy and keep the creative juices flowing? Start writing books for children, of course.
And that is just what Logansport, Indiana native, Shane Bitterling did this past year to break the constraints of the pandemic and get back to doing what he loved to do, and what he does best, writing.
Shane, an award-winning author with over thirty scary movies already under his belt, found himself unexpectedly searching for motivation during these unstable times that many of us have also been struggling through.
Currently living in Los Angeles, Shane turned to dishing out what many say could be award-winning pizza from his driveway as a way to keep some dough coming in as well as to make ends meet. Not only was it a way to stay busy and profitable, it also gave Shane the opportunity to see friends at a safe distance.
A pizza stand may have brought back memories of those childhood lemonade stands back in Hoosier country, but it was his fond memories of Halloween-themed birthday cakes and treats, and his run-in with childhood hero, Hoosier horror royalty, Sammy Terry at the Logansport Mall that inspired his next venture. Halloween was quickly approaching, and Shane realized with dismay that there was a real chance of its cancellation. An October without a Halloween celebration would just not work for Shane, and he knew there were too many kids who would be feeling the same despair of a year without Halloween.
Setting aside adult-themed terrors he had grown so accustomed to, Shane took a fork in the road to concentrate on young readers and begin a new saga of writing books for children. The year may have passed with Halloween traditions looking different, but he knew the kids would be resourceful and find new ways to celebrate. “This idea just lent itself to a children’s book,” he said. “I didn’t try to force it to be something that it wasn’t. In movies, you have to make a point that everybody is a superhero or a sleeper wizard. In children’s books, your message can be simple, but important, to be nice, be thoughtful, or use your imagination.”
Soon after came his first of such releases, The Year Without Halloween, which pays homage not only to his lifelong inspiration Sammy Terry, but also to those early authors he enjoyed reading as a young boy himself such as Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, and Ray Bradbury.
The words came easy, but Shane was uncertain how to get the visions of his book from his head to the pages. Fortunately, he was put in contact with illustrator Walid Atshe through a mutual friend, and although they never met in person, Walid was able to manifest in fine detail the visions in Shane’s mind. Shane attributes much of the early success of the book to the throwback style of Walid’s art.
Through the use of his close network of friends, family, and independent stores like The Record Farm in Logansport, the sales of his first children’s book began to climb. Now available on Amazon and other global distribution sites, sales have been steadily increasing. Shane hopes the book will be available in libraries for many more to discover.