Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
It’s the Halloween season, and author Michael McCarty is making a “scary and fun” tribute to the Quad Cities. His latest book – “Biters: Tales of Zombies & Vampires” – has just been released to the public. The book is a collection of short stories about – you guessed it – zombies and vampires. The Quad Cities has a special place in the new book with one of the stories called “To Live And Die in IA.” (That title is a nod to the 1985 movie “To Live And Die in L.A.) The story, which took Mr. McCarty 10 years to write, is about zombies taking over the Quad Cities. “It’s a tribute to the Quad Cities, in a scary and fun fashion. … This was a fun collection to put together,” the Rock Island man added. “Biters” is just the latest scary literary creation from Mr. McCarty, a longtime local author with more than 50 books to his credit. He has been ultra-busy in the past few weeks at a variety of Halloween-related speaking events, guest appearances and book signings across the region. (He jokes that Halloween season in the area lasts from mid-August through December.) It has been so busy that for the first time in memory, Mr. McCarty has had to turn down a few speaking invitations. He adds that’s big news because in the past, he has never refused an appearance. At many of his recent speaking engagements, Mr. McCarty has been asked to discuss his latest books: “Eerie Quad Cities” (with co-author John Brassard Jr.) and “Ghosts of the Quad Cities” (with co-author Mark McLaughlin). Those books are available at local Walgreens and CVS stores, and online through Amazon. Both books look at some of the bizarre and ghostly manifestations reported in the region. For instance, in “Ghosts of the Quad Cities” the authors examine ghost stories surrounding the Colonel Davenport home, Augustana College, Hotel Blackhawk, Oakdale Cemetery, St. Ambrose University and other places. In the book, Mr. McCarty tells his own story of a possible ghost encounter in the 1980s when he was delivering a pizza to St. Ambrose. He mistakenly went into St. Ambrose Hall, which was a place of many reported ghostly incidents. “At one point, it felt like someone was following me. I’d stop and look behind me, but no one was there. Then I’d start walking again. The feeling of being followed continued. I’d stop and look around, but still, no one was there. It was disturbing.” The Quad Cities will continue to be the focus of Mr. McCarty’s writing talents. He said the third book in what he calls his “Quad Cities series” now is in the works and will come out in a year or so. He added that he is not at liberty to give details, but said it will be a non-ghost story book that focuses on the region. Even though many of Mr. McCarty’s fans have focused on his many written works about ghosts, ghouls, vampires and horror stories, the author is quick to point out that his works span a wide variety of subjects. “I change genres like some people change socks,” he said. In addition to horror and ghost stories, Mr. McCarty has written a children’s book (“Rusty the Robot’s Holiday Adventures”), and non-fiction interview books with other authors (“Giants of the Genre” and “Modern Mythmakers”). He has even teamed up with famed mentalist, the Amazing Kreskin, for the book “Conversations with Kreskin” that focuses on stories from Kreskin’s life. Even though the stories and genres may differ, Mr. McCarty does have a favorite style – the short story. “I really love writing the short stories. … It’s like a kiss. You get in there and move on fast,” he said.