There's no time like Halloween to discuss monsters, a topic that's dear to Bellingham writer Royce Buckingham.
He loves a good scare.
"It was 'Jaws' that turned me on to monsters," said Buckingham, author of the popular "Demonkeeper" and its 2011 sequel, "Demoneater," a pair of delightful monster tales that are set in Seattle.
Steven Spielberg's 1975 movie about a demonic shark started a lifetime love of terror that led Buckingham to read classic horror novels and adventure stories that put their characters in grave peril. He knew he wanted to write frightful stories himself.
"I thought, 'How can I scare other kids the way I was scared?'"
Buckingham will read from "Demoneater" and discuss his writing process during a free event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Ferndale Library, 2007 Cherry St.
"That's got some fun stuff in it," he said. "There's the troll under the bridge, the Space Needle, the Seattle waterfront."
His talk will be most suitable for adults and for students from sixth grade through high school, said Tamar Clarke, teen services librarian for the Whatcom County Library System.
"We're lucky to have him," Clarke said. "His books are kind of scary; they can be kind of gory - but not too much, just enough!"
Clarke said Buckingham will discuss his progression as a writer and "some of the starts and stops" of becoming a published author.
She said the library will give away five copies of the book and the author will have copies for sale. Treats will be provided by Carol's Cupcakes in Ferndale.
Buckingham, who's also a prosecuting attorney in the Whatcom County Prosecutor's Office, enjoys the supernatural craze that's currently popular in young adult fiction. It's part of "universal theme," he said.
Frankenstein's monster was simply a zombie - a reanimated creature, he said.
"Vampires, zombies, werewolves are all real popular right now," Buckingham said. "This is cyclical (in literature). It's nothing new. It's the new generation enjoying it all over again."
He's particularly interested in thematic variations in the literary heroines of some young women writers whose stories are aimed at teen girls.
"They're nurturers," he said. "They want to change the beast into something nice."
Buckingham advised budding young writers to polish the art of writing and storytelling.
"For kids, they need to just practice," he said. "They need to read a lot, write a lot. Telling stories and writing stories are two different skills and you need to learn both."
A Family Fun Day at the Skagit County Historical Museum celebrates the fall harvest from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the museum, 501 S. Fourth St. in La Conner.
Activities include cider pressing, popcorn making, face painting and games. Admission is $8 for a family; $4 for adults; $3 for seniors and children ages 6-12; children under 6 and museum members are admitted free.
Admission allows entrance to the museum, which features historical artifacts and exhibits that document pioneer life in the Skagit Valley.
For more information, call 360-466-3365 or go online to skagitcounty.net/museum.
The number of free copies of Royce Buckingham's book was corrected Oct. 18, 2012.
ROBERT MITTENDORF is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Suggest your ideas for local family-friendly events or day trips at 360-756-2805 or at email@example.com.