Recipe for a Slasher–Creating the Woodsview Harvester

Harrowed-Cover-RevealI was initially going to post this week about my favorite slasher Jason Voorhees, and why I love him so. But my fellow Midnighters have done such a great job writing about different slashers and why they’re so great, I decided instead to write about the Woodsview Harvester. The Harvester is the slasher that Jolene and I created for our new Woodsview Murders series as our love letter to all the slashers that have come before.

I can honestly say creating a slasher was one of the items on my writing bucket list. I literally grew up in the era of slashers. Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out the year I was born. I was four when Michael Myers returned to Haddonfield, Illinois. When Jason first donned the hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part 3, I was eight. And Freddy began haunting the dreams of Elm Street kids when I was ten. By the time I was thirteen, I’d seen all of those movies and their sequels to that point, courtesy of our local video store that would rent any movie to anyone, anytime (God bless them). So, when I say I grew up with slashers, I’m not kidding. And when I tell you that one of the reasons I started writing horror was to one day create a slasher of my own–believe it.

So, when Jolene and I decided we were writing a slasher story, we had to come up with the mix of ingredients that would make for a memorable killer. We felt our character would need to have three M’s–motivation, mystery and a motif.


Our killer has embarked on his or her murderous quest for one reason (which I’m not going to tell you because spoilers). That motivation has led our killer to target several of Woodsview High’s best and brightest students.


Our killer wears a mask. Our killer taunts his or her targets with disappearing messages, obscure symbols and cryptic Bible verses. Not only is the killer’s identity a mystery, but the killer’s motivation, and his or her choice of victims is a mystery our main characters (and the reader) must get to the bottom of–while there’s still time.


Every good slasher has a central theme or characteristic that makes them iconic. The Woodview Harvester has taken one of the town’s most enduring traditions–the Harvest Festival–and twisted it into a symbol of death. From the killer’s name, to the clues he or she leaves, to the instruments used in each killing, the theme of the harvest is central to our killer’s identity.


The symbol of the Woodsview Harvester.

Jolene and I mixed all of those ingredients together, baked it for several weeks in our imaginations, and voila–the Woodsview Harvester was born.

When our book was released, the one piece of reader feedback I craved more than any other was what people thought of the Harvester. So when a reader reviewed our book and had this to say:

The Harvester was perfect. Unhinged, mysterious, and murderous, the Harvester was definitely a hybrid Frankenstein of some of the greatest slashers out there. A little bit of Freddy for motive, some Michael and Jason for stalker tendencies, Leatherface for a certain deranged quality, and just a pinch of Pinhead for that added intelligence, and you get the Harvester. He was creative, sadistic, and genuinely enjoyed the suffering of others. He was a perfect slasher hands down.–Max Baker (You can read the whole review here).

I actually cried tears of joy. I’m not kidding. When you write something and let it out into the world, you have no control over what a reader brings to your work, or gets out of it. To see people really getting what Jolene and I tried to accomplish with the Harvester–that’s special. And for me, that’s one huge item I can cross off my bucket list.

You can get HARROWED, the first book in the Woodsview Murders series, on Amazon right now by clicking here. And if you’ve already checked out the book, we’d love to know what you thought. Leave us a review, or hit up Jolene or me on Twitter.

  • Kathy Palm
    October 24, 2015

    It’s NEXT on my to-read list! AAAAHHHH!!!!!! So glad you and Jolene went on this adventure.

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