- There is a Goodreads giveaway for The Zombie Stone going on until Friday, February 19th. You can follow this link to enter the contest.
Welcome to MG Book Village! It’s a pleasure to have a chance to chat with you today about your middle grade series, Zombie Problems. Can you please tell our readers a little bit more about your series?
Hi Kathie. Thank you for welcoming me to your arena and giving me the opportunity to talk about my gruesome little yarn. Zombie Problems is a three part series, a trilogy, with a single story arc. Ostensibly, it’s a darkly funny and slightly gross, highly atmospheric, Southern Gothic about a twelve year-old boy with, well, zombie problems. On a deeper level, at the heart of the story, lies childhood loneliness, and as it has progressed, perhaps even a universal loneliness that is part of the human condition.
This series is your foray writing middle grade fiction. How did that process differ from writing picture books?
The vast majority of stories, long or short, are constructed on the same frame: catalyst, goal, conflict, resolution and so on. So to that extent, there is not much difference.
A picture book however, generally has a single plot with a simple takeaway. A novel is a rather more organic and untameable animal. Now, I’m a serious “plotter” and Zombie Problems had a robust story arc with an ending before it was even started. But even I found subplots emerging and character development evolving as the tale progressed. So the biggest difference I guess, would be that with longer works, I’m more fluid and open to unexpected turns.
Why do you think zombies are such appealing characters for kids?
Well, the short answer is that they are gross and awesome! A more considered explanation would be that during our development, around the age of 8-12, young humans become fascinated and entertained by all things macabre. I suspect this has something to do with an increased understanding of, and coping with, our own mortality. For some of us of course (like me!) that fascination never dies (pardon the pun).
If you were standing beside a young reader in a bookstore, trying to decide if they should purchase your book, what would you say to convince them?
Do you know what it’s like to hold someone’s eyeball in your hand? No? Well, you should definitely read this book to find out.
That’s a great answer! You are also a well known children’s illustrator. Were you involved in the covers of these books?
I was really thrilled to contract my first middle grade series and became a little giddy with a sense of autonomy, with the ability to construct an entire, fairly extensive, world of my very own. As I have an illustrative background, I decided that this should be the most lavishly illustrated middle grade series ever! So yes, not only did I craft the (wraparound) covers, but a full page illustration and spot for every single chapter and double page spreads for four of them. It in fact took me longer to illustrate these books, than it did to write them. Wearing both hats I fear, has slowed down production, but bringing my characters to life both in words and visuals has been a labor of love. I hope that shines through.
Can you share an interesting tidbit about your writing life or publishing journey with us?
As many of your readers no doubt know, with so much competition out there, it is not easy to get your foot in a publisher’s door as an author of kid lit. After several attempts to do so myself, I very consciously turned to my artistic skills, educated myself in industry expectations and marketed myself as an illustrator. As you can see, the strategy worked. But even today, I consider myself a writer who happens to be able to draw, rather than an artist who happens to be able to write.
Where can people go to find out more information about you and your writing?
You can check out my work and bio in any of the following locations:
GoodReads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6588725.K_G_Campbell
Thank you again for joining us today, Keith, and best of luck with your series and the final book’s release.
Oh, there’s nothing that writers like more than to talk about themselves, so the pleasure was all mine. Thank you for having me and for the good wishes. August DuPont and his undead great, great aunt Claudette have been such a huge part of my life for three or four years, that I confess to becoming misty eyed a few weeks ago, when I finally wrote that terminal phrase “The End”. I hope you and your readers find their misadventures as engaging as I have.
K.G. Campbell was born in Kenya but raised and educated in Scotland. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a master’s degree in Art History.
He is the author and/or illustrator of numerous award-winning books, including Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, The Mermaid and the Shoe and Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses. The Zombie Problems trilogy is his first work of middle grade fiction.
K.G. is currently a full-time author/illustrator and lives in California.