The thoughts and work of Sam Witt

Why I Wrote Half-Made Girls

FINAL_COVER_HMG_RESIZED_2I grew up in a strange little town south of St. Louis. We were close enough to the big city to enjoy its malls and restaurants, far enough away to feel isolated. We had cable television and a Commodore 64 in my house, but we also had snake handlers and ghost stories that kept us awake deep into the night. I always felt as if I were standing on the border between a world being born and a world preparing to die. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I grew up in Pitchfork County.

My formative years consisted almost entirely of two states of being – pure awesome and abject terror, often within moments of one another. Riding the Screaming Eagle at Six Flags? Unbelievably fucking awesome. Being forced to ride Injun Joe’s Cave at Six Flags? Absogoddamnlutely terrifying. Spelunking with my friends through the limestone wormholes that riddle the Missouri countryside? Fantastically awesome. Discovering that I’d crawled into a nest of bats that were now clawing the shit out of my face and covering me in batshit? Pants-wettingly terrifying. Running across I-44 in the middle of the night, dodging traffic that would most certainly have smashed us into extra chunky human salsa if we mistimed our runs? That’s pure, death-defying awesomeness in a fancy bottle, my friends. Learning that one of your classmates actually did mistime his run and is wired up to life support while the doctors try to figure out if he’s got enough brain matter left to survive? Mortality-confirming horror.

These events, magical and horrific by turns, were the seeds that would one day become Pitchfork County. But I spent a long time not writing about them. I wanted to write fantasy novels. I wanted to write science fiction. Hell, I even wanted to write horror. And I tried all of those things, for years, struggling to write the kinds of stories I thought I should be writing. I tried, I failed, I tried, I failed. Writing became this frustrating shitshow of fruitless struggle. It wasn’t until I gave up that I figured out what I’d been doing wrong for all those years.

I was trying to write stories that weren’t my own. I was exploring themes and settings that didn’t really resonate with me, which meant my stories were never going to strike a chord in my readers. If I didn’t give a shit about what I was writing, then why would anyone else?

After years of fucking around with failed ideas and story concepts that didn’t really turn my crank, I finally decided to get serious about stacking up the words. I did a lot of navel-gazing about the kinds of books I read and the shows and movies I watched. Spent even more time trying to figure out how I could add to that vein of material, where I could inject my own stories into the thoughtstream.

What I settled on was Pitchfork County. The place I’d grown up in, my childhood and adolescent years pumped full of my adult experiences. I dug down to the wellspring of ideas that had been waiting for me all along, and soon found myself drowning in a brain basement flooded with stories I’d been avoiding for years. Families in crisis. Communities falling to despair and decay. Brave men and women willing to try and save their way of life in the face of a world that has moved on. Drug addicts and drunks searching for the divine in a rush of poison.  Angsty teenaged assholes and the parents who struggle to connect with them before it’s all too late. Husbands and wives who no longer really understand each other, no matter how fucking hard they try. Old legends and new fears. Mysteries and magic and horrors.

To be honest, when you get right down to the grimy nuts and bolts of the matter, I wrote Half-Made Girls because it was the story I was meant to tell. I wrote it because getting the words on paper was the easiest and hardest writing I’ve ever done. I wrote it because it felt right, after all these years, to go back to the place that helped make me who I am.

And I wrote it to share it with you. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. For the next few days (until October 6, 2014), it’s totally free. Gratis. My gift to you.

Get your free copy right now.

If you dig it, feel free to leave me a review on Amazon, because that’s more help than you can possibly imagine. Tell your friends. Spread the word.

Thanks again for reading. There’s more to come.


About Sam

I am the author of the popular Pitchfork County series of horror novels. I also write a newsletter with great reading suggestions and free fiction.

  • Sam, you’ve written a wonderfully terrifying book. It was a thrill to edit. I’m still having nightmares from this thing, but I can’t WAIT to read the next one!

  • KATHY I. – Oct. 6, 2014- 5:30 am. Just finished ” Half Made Girls” Well, they do say WRITE what you know. You hit a big fat homerun on this one! I really hope you build on this story with a sequel. With these great characters and all their gifts you have a deep well to draw from. Congrats !!! I really hope to read more about them soon…. Good Luck!!!

  • Sam

    Thanks for the kind words, I’m really glad folks are into Half-Made Girls and enjoying the ride. Kathy, if you want to stay up-to-date on the next Pitchfork County book, just sign-up for my mailing list. You’ll also get a couple of short stories for your trouble, both set in Pitchfork. Thanks again!

  • Beautifully amazing book! Thank you!

  • Edward Thompson

    I’m Halfway through Half Made Girls, so that’s probably a full something, but I have a query.
    The battle with the Bog Witch is often alluded to in HMG, but is it available in one of the novel’s as a full account of that story, with Joe’s father etc. ? I would love to see that story fully fleshed out, because it makes HMG’s seem like a sequel.

    Anyway, love the book and can’t wait to read the sequel’s, well done!