A Small Zombie Problem by K.G. Campbell

Hello, K.G. Campbell! Happy Friday! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read. What have you been up to since the last time you visited on March 16, 2014?

K.G. Campbell: And hello to you, Mr. Schu. It’s an honor to be back.

Gosh, so much has happened in the last four years, I had to look up my own Amazon page to jog my memory. Since our last chat I’ve moved to a new area, raised a new puppy, written my third picture book, illustrated that and three more. And – because I like to stay busy – it seems I’ve gone and written my own first middle grade novel.

A Small Zombie Problem is the first installment of a darkly funny Southern Gothic trilogy published by Knopf and will be available June of next year.

We’ve just finished up the cover. Would you like to check it out?

Yes, please! 

Wow! Wow! Wow! Look at A Small Zombie Problem’s INTRIGUING and EYE-CATCHING cover. Please tell us about the characters featured on the cover. 
K.G. Campbell: So, our protagonist, August DuPont, is the bespectacled young fellow in the foreground. He is nearly twelve years old yet has never ventured outside of the large, crumbling house he shares with his highly-strung aunt Hydrangea (the jittery looking lady beside him). 

The wilted, fragile belle suffers from a crippling phobia of butterflies - and betrayals - and has sought to keep her great-nephew sheltered from the many horrors that lie beyond the boarded-up windows of Locust Hole.

But covert observations from his attic bedroom have revealed to August - in the television of a nearby houseboat - an incredible world; the world of Stella Starz. The TV teen’s zany, friend-filled existence has led the isolated boy to understand that he is desperately lonely and wants nothing more than to belong.

So, when he spies an abandoned package in the front yard, August is newly motivated to rescue it; to step through his front door for the very first time. And in so doing, he activates a chain of events that lead to an invitation…from relatives he didn’t even know existed.

Orchid Malveau and her twins Beauregard and Belladonna (back row) inhabit an extravagant mansion that lies shrouded in constant mourning. Although haughty and formidable, the aristocratic kinfolk offer August his first opportunity for friendship. 

But August’s new life of belonging is quickly jeopardized by the character to whom the menacing shadow belongs; a small zombie who, appearing unexpectedly in the family cemetery, attaches herself to him with stubborn persistence.

And so, August plunges into the realm of undertakers, ball gazers and necromancy in a desperate search for an ancient talisman that might help him return the zombie’s restless spirit to where it belongs, before his new relationships are jeopardized and he is condemned to a dusty life of loneliness forever.

Illustration Credit: K.G. Campbell, from A Small Zombie Problem
Scenario: A school librarian spots you holding a copy of A Small Zombie Problem just as you’re leaving the exhibit hall at ALA Annual. She asks you what it is about. You only have 20 seconds to chat with her before you have to rush off to the airport. What do you say? 

K.G. Campbell: A Small Zombie Problem is a wistful, slightly melancholy and altogether spooky tale concerning family secrets, hot sauce, gemology, a giant white alligator and of course, the walking dead.

But at its heart, A Small Zombie Problem is about loneliness; the loneliness of a young, secluded boy, the loneliness of a small zombie and indeed, the loneliness that haunts all of those who hide away part of themselves they don’t want others to see.

Please finish these sentence starters:

August Du-Pont thinks he really needs to get rid of his mildewed, undead new sidekick, before she removes her left eyeball (as she is wont to do) in front of his new friends.

The story is a Tim Burton meets Roald Dahl meets Tennessee Williams midnight romp through Spanish Moss, gloomy mansions and forbidding swamps.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if the book is illustrated, and I would have responded with a resounding yes; big time! I am after all an illustrator and bringing this little universe and its inhabitants to visual life is an absolute joy…if a bit time consuming. In fact, I’m still working on the artwork and deadlines loom, so I best be off. 

Look for A Small Zombie Problem on June 4, 2019.

Pre-order it HERE.  


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