Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens by Julie Mata

Debut author Julie Mata dropped by Watch. Connect. Read. as part of the Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens Blog Tour. We chatted about her book trailer, one of her favorite movies, school libraries, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Julie! 

The book trailer for Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens was mostly shot in our back yard! My husband and I own a video production company, so I wrote and directed the trailer and he shot it. One of our daughters plays a zombie and the other plays a mysterious star in a ski mask. We made the trailer at my agent’s suggestion to help attract a publisher. I assured our daughter that no one except a few New York publishers would ever see her dressed as a zombie having a really bad hair day. Then, Disney Hyperion bought the novel. They liked the trailer so much that they decided to use it! Oops. I’m happy to say my daughter has survived the embarrassment!

Twelve-year-old Kate Walden wants to be a famous movie director when she grows up. That’s a big goal, because there still aren’t nearly enough female directors in Hollywood! Kate is trying to make a movie called Night of the Zombie Chickens, but her mother’s organic hens are not cooperating. Even worse, Kate’s best friend, who stars in her movie, abandons her for the popular crowd. Friendship drama is a big issue at this age. Like a lot of kids, Kate doesn’t always deal well with it. She fights with her BFF. She gets mad at her mom and quarrels with her younger brother. Really, Kate’s trying to figure out what it means to grow up, and what it means to be a friend. And she has some funny adventures along the way with hare-brained hens and mixed-up movie plots! 

One of my favorite movies is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, probably because it was one of my favorite books as a child. When I was young, I really wanted to join Lucy and her siblings on their adventures. My favorite scene in the movie is where Lucy finds the wardrobe, then meets Mr. Tumnus and has tea with him. I think it brilliantly captures a sense of magical wonder. Or maybe I love it so much because, deep down, I’m still looking for that wardrobe!

When I was 12, I read a lot. The whole growing up thing didn’t sit well with me and I became very shy. Reading was my escape. Also, I was quite short and young-looking at that age, which are both attributes I gave to Kate. When I sat down to write Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens, Kate’s voice almost leapt out onto the page. So maybe all this time I’ve had a funny, sassy, 12-year-old buried inside me, just waiting for her chance to show some attitude! 

School libraries rock! How can you even measure the enjoyment they give young readers? I still remember strolling the shelves at school, searching for fun-sounding titles. And what’s a library without a helpful librarian? They connect children to stories that they will remember and treasure for the rest of their lives. Wow. In heaven, I will be a school librarian—except I’m not a good sharer. I would probably hide all the books in my to-read stack, which is not very angelic.

Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Especially in this hectic, frazzled world, there’s something so lovely about sinking down in a comfy chair, opening a book, and getting lost in someone else’s story. I think reading is also the most essential ingredient in becoming a good writer, more than any class or how-to book. We absorb sentence patterns and the wonderful rhythm of words without even trying. That’s the best way to learn! While I do have an e-reader, which I use on occasion, I admit that I’m a sucker for shiny dust jackets and crisp white pages. Whatever form it takes, reading is the gasoline that ignites the imagination!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my chickens! When our daughters were in middle school, we moved to a small acreage and acquired ten hens. Some of the chicken behavior in my book came from our own hens’ antics, like roosting (and pooping) in the garage, or climbing into cars and pecking at grocery bags. In my story, Kate doesn’t like her mother’s hens but we actually loved our ladies, except for those episodes in the garage! 

 Debut author Julie Mata co-owns a film/video production business, where she works as the producer and writer. Previously she pounded out copy as a television reporter, producer, and freelance writer Julie lives with her husband and two daughters in Wisconsin, along with three dogs, two ferrets, one bearded dragon lizard, and a parrot. She’s also owned chickens, although none were zombies, as far as she knows! 

I am giving away one copy of Kate Walden Direct: Night of the Zombie Chicken

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from May 15 to 11:59 p.m. on May 17. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Kate Walden Directs:Night of the Zombie Chickens. Written by Julie Mata. Disney-Hyperion | Publication Date: May 20, 2014 | Interest Level: Grades 4-7 


  1. WOW! I have a ten-year-old who wants to be a movie director. We must get this book and I LOVE everything about this post! :)
    Cool Mom for
    The Stanley & Katrina Gang


Post a Comment

Popular Posts