Saint Mary’s Librarian by Night, Writer of Scary Stories by Day. Now Catch His Novel ‘Dark Harvest’ on the Big Screen.

Norm Partridge’s award-winning journey as an author of tales now being told on the big screen 

by Kevin Wing, Director of Media Relations and News | October 31, 2023

Norm Partridge arrives at the Saint Mary’s College Library well before the sun goes down, and he stays almost to the time of the bewitching hour of midnight. 

He is there five nights a week, actually—as he has been for the last 25 years.  

Partridge is at the library when the place is bustling with students, their hushed conversations emanating throughout. And Partridge is there as the dark deepens outside, when there is hardly a rustle of pages being turned or fingers clicking on keyboards inside. 

Partridge works quietly. He talks to all of the students. He knows where all the books are, too. As he should, since he is the library’s night circulation manager, or, as he puts it, “the night guy.” 

He is also friendly, modest, almost unassuming. And while he is one of SMC’s most celebrated staffers, he is also more than likely one of its best-kept secrets. 

The veteran SMC librarian has been a published, award-winning author of mystery and horror novels for years now, and is often compared to legendary American fantasy, mystery, horror and science fiction author Ray Bradbury and Twilight Zone screenwriter and playwright Rod Serling

“I was the kind of kid who knew about every horror story out there,” says Norm Partridge.

One of Partridge’s novels, Dark Harvest, caught the attention of Hollywood. It’s now a film, released in October. It was produced and distributed by MGM Studios and directed by David Slade.

The 169-page book, first published in hardback in 2006 and a few years later as a paperback, is a fantasy horror tale set at the time of Halloween in 1963. The story centers around a Halloween ritual and is set in a small Midwestern town. The main character is October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face or Sawtooth Jack. Every Halloween, he rises from the mysterious confines of the town’s cornfields, carrying a butcher knife in his hand. He walks toward the town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their opportunity to confront the town’s legendary nightmare. He is the hunter, but he is also the hunted, and October Boy is the prize in the annual rite of life and death.

Books by Norm Partridge in the SMC Library, 2023
Spooky editions: Norm Partridge’s work on display at the Saint Mary’s library, along with some scary classics. / Photo by Francis Tatem

October Thrills

The American fantasy horror film Dark Harvest was released in select Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theaters around the country on October 11, then released digitally on—get this—Friday the 13th. 

It couldn’t be more perfect for Partridge. 

“This feels great,” Partridge says. “I’m very excited about my work as a writer, and having this film made. I have a whole bunch of half-finished books that I want to finish, and I want to jump in and get back to work.”

He is working on three different novels at the moment. One is a sequel to Dark Harvest.

“As a writer, you have to be your own best editor,” he says. “Sometimes, I’ve dealt with professional writers who would read my stories and come back and say, ‘Change this, change that, do this instead.’ And that would change my story and it wouldn’t be my work.”

Librarian Norm Partridge looking through stacks
Non-required reading—and viewing: Norm Partridge’s education as a writer started with scary comic books and Creature Features. / Photo by Francis Tatem

Creature Feature Kid

Partridge is a born writer. He is passionate about his work. It is all he has ever wanted to do. The Bay Area native lives in Lafayette and grew up watching Creature Features on KTVU, which inspired and encouraged him to write scary stories. 

“I was literally in front of the TV every Saturday night watching (host) Bob Wilkins,” he says. He was such a fan of the show that he wrote to Wilkins and would send him cartoons and artwork. 

“One night, Bob had Stan Lee on as a guest, and they were showing Night of the Living Dead. And, Bob showed my cartoon and read my letter and showed my cartoon and I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, I’m famous.”

At the time of Dark Harvest’s hardcover publication, the book was chosen as one of Publisher Weekly’s 100 Best Books of 2006.

In recent years, Partridge’s work was optioned by a literary agent with an interest in Dark Harvest, and the rest is history. 

“I was the kind of kid who knew about every horror story out there,” he says. “I wasn’t like every other American kid. I wasn’t a sports kid. I wasn’t playing ball with the kids down the street. I was at home, hunkered in my room reading scary comic books and watching Bob Wilkins. I could tell you how to kill a vampire. I could tell you how to do that. But I couldn’t tell you Willie Mays’ batting average.”


READ MORE: Norm Partridge and the movie deal for Dark Harvest.

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