Community Spotlight: The Library's Norm Partridge Has a Secret

Norm PartridgeStep inside the library some late afternoon or gray evening, and you’ll encounter Norm Partridge, the night circulation manager, generously assisting sleepy yet inquisitive students. With his super friendly personality, Partridge, who’s been on duty for 20 years, no doubt knows just the book each student needs and where to find it. But there’s something a little spooky that you might not know about the gregarious Partridge: He is an award-winning author of mystery and horror books—one of which may soon show up on a movie screen near you.

“I’m an evening circulation services manager.…I’m the night guy,” says Partridge with a chuckle.

Partridge is also the author of Slippin Into Darkness (1994), Dark Harvest (2006), Johnny Halloween: Tales of the Dark Season (2010), and Wildest Dreams (2011). His stories have been featured in numerous anthologies and magazines. And, he is a three-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, including one for Dark Harvest. He said of the award: “It’s a little haunted house–looking thing.” Designed by the unusual cartoonist Gahan Wilson, “the brass door opens to say what you won.”

In addition, Dark Harvest was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s 100 Best Books of 2006 and—a feat for any author—and was recently optioned by an agent at UTA. The book revolves around a Halloween ritual in a small town in 1963. Every year, a nasty pumpkinlike creature comes out, and the boys in town have to kill it. “The one kid who kills it is the one kid who gets to leave town,” Partridge said.

“I’ve had movie interest over the years off and on,” Partridge continued. “Dark Harvest is a Halloween novel. I sat down to write it as a present for my wife for Halloween, and as I started writing, it was my dad and guys from the neighborhood telling stories from the backyard that I remembered. I wanted to try to capture that experience in a novel. An omniscient narrator tells you the story. It’s like the longest campfire ever. People who know me say they heard me in their heads.”

“I’m more interested in someone trying to steal your soul than steal your wallet,” Partridge explained. “I look at: If you lived in this town, what’s your day-to-day life going to be like. There’s one little part where I had these guys driving out to the cornfield. I thought: I’m just going to have Rod Sterling step out. That’s literally the most fun I’ve ever had as a writer.”  

Partridge enjoys working the night shift at the library, which leaves him time each day to spend with his young daughter—and write. Sharpening his keen writer’s skills, he’s always listening on the job: “Finals at the library are like a zombie movie. They keep coming. I’ve also heard doors slam upstairs [when no one’s there]; the elevator will run by itself.”

Next up? Partridge’s agent is recommending he write a sequel. Plus, Partridge hopes to complete another project this Jan Term. “I haven’t had anything out for a while; it’s hard to write spooky stuff when you’re running around with an 8-year-old.”

“I feel like I’ve had that lottery ticket in my pocket for a long time,” Partridge said of his exciting movie deal.