Monday, August 18, 2014

Egmont USA Book Blast & Interview: My Zombie Hamster (Havelock McCreely)

My Zombie Hamster
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by EgmontUSA

A laugh-out-loud funny middle-grade debut with a scary twist, "My Zombie Hamster" will appeal to readers who like their animal stories mixed with chills. Fans of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps Most Wanted series will grab this one right up.
Matt Hunter and his buddies are looking forward to Christmas--actually, they're looking forward to receiving the latest sword-and-fantasy video game. But Matt's parents have other thoughts--they give him a fluffy little mammal, a hamster called Snuffles, for the holiday. And his grandmother makes it worse by giving him a hamster cage and wheel. But the hamster isn't all that cute--at least not after part of its cheek and belly fall right off--without bothering it a bit! And why is it staring at Matt with black beady eyes and a lean and hungry look?
Say hello to Anti-Snuffles, the zombie hamster! Or better yet, run!
This series combines middle-school readers' passions: humor, animals, and scary stories, into one unbeatable package. 

“Think Shaun of the Dead for a middle-school crowd.”—Publishers Weekly

“The perfect pick for readers who are interested in zombie action, but who are not ready for gore.”—School Library Journal

“Packed with references to action and sf movies, this comic horror zips along like a fluffy little rodent in an exercise ball. Minor gore will please Goosebumps fans.”—Booklist

Havelock McCreely inspired H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds and was the first person on the moon, no matter what anyone says. But in spite of his interplanetary adventures, he has never owned a zombie hamster or battled an orc. You may reach him on Twitter @H_McCreely. The author lives in New York, NY.

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I really loved the Adrian Mole books and wanted to do my own diary-type story. But I wanted to put my own spin on it so combined a Goonies-type vibe with Adrian Mole and Shaun of the Dead. Really, I just wanted an excuse to write funny zombie stuff.

2. Who is your favorite character in the book?

Phew. Tough one. That's like saying which of your children are your favorite. Obviously Matt is great fun to write. I like his dry humor and outlook on life. I also have a soft spot for Matt's dad. There's a bit of me in Matt's dad.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel. The great title is actually courtesy of my editor Regina Griffin and the marketing guys are Egmont. My original title was "Things to do after the Zombie Apocalypse". My Zombie Hamster is a million times better.

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I really like the scene at the end, where (and I'll do this without spoilers) the gang leaves City Hall and stumble into the aftermath of the Pet Show. Just the chaos that is going on and the music playing through the scene was great fun. It made me chuckle.

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

Less is sometimes more. You can really over-describe things, and that leaves nothing for the reader to contribute. Books are a collaboration between the writer and the reader.

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

The whole thing! It's colorful, funny, and perfectly shows what the book is about.

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2014?

Guinea Dog 3. Those books are great fun.

8. What was your favorite book in 2013?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. A beautiful book.

9. What’s up next for you?

I'm currently rewriting the second Zombie Hamster book. It's called Attack of the Zombie Clones and stars out favorite zombie hamster. 

10. Is there anything that you would like to add?

Just to thank everyone for reading the book. I've had a lot of great feedback and it's very gratifying when that happens. Also a shout-out to the booksellers and librarians who have been pushing the book. You guys are amazing.

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