Friend of the blog, M.C. Lesh has a new book out! Mr. Katz is a Zombie, the first in the Goethalsburg Ghost Squad series, starring J.D. & the Horn boys.
This delightful middle-grade romp explores what happens when a boy who can talk to ghosts ends up on the wrong side of an unpredictable spell book and a best friend looking for trouble.
Catastrophe looms in North Goethalsburg!
When twelve-year-old J.D. is tricked into taking possession of a book of spells, his best friend turns their teacher into a zombie. The zombification of Mr. Katz creates general chaos and a not-so-terrific time for near-genius J.D.
Teamed with his best friend Rodney, twin troublemakers, and an obnoxious ghost, J.D. must figure out how to change Mr. Katz back from one of the undead before he:
1. Escapes the janitor’s closet;
2. Eats their brains;
3. Wears J.D.’s spleen as a hat.
Can four boys armed with a slingshot, two boxes of jelly donuts, and a handy zombie guide battle their mindless teacher and live to tell?
You’ll have to read to find out.
Halloween sale — today get the Kindle version for only 99 cents!
Welcome to Bad Menagerie, M.C. Lesh! Come answer ALL OUR QUESTIONS.
How did you originally come up with the idea for this story? Were you inspired to write the book following your own experiences with zombies?
M.C. Lesh: Good question! I wish I could say it’s from personal experience, but I haven’t encountered any zombies in real life. That I know of. I had a math teacher in high school who was like a zombie though.
And the book came about as a family endeavor — can you tell us a little bit about that?
My creative/life partner, The Talented Mr. Bear aka Steve, is an art director who’s been involved in graphic design and publishing since his college days working on the school magazine where his highlight moment was meeting Cesar Chavez. He created the cover as well as the book’s layout and typesetting. Mr. Katz is a Zombie is our second book collaboration.
My son has a history of turning in all of his school papers with cartoons in the margins. In the past, he’s created memorable characters such as Cat Frog, and also Zombie Seeds! (Not a character so much as a concept.) He contributed the illustrations, and a couple of them make me laugh every time I see them. He’s also the one who urged me on with this project. So the three of us put our talents together, and I think it worked! (If it doesn’t work, I blame him. Kids are handy for that.)
What’s your favorite thing about Mr. Katz is a Zombie?
I’m a sucker for baked goods, so maybe the jelly donuts? And/or Rodney and his massive head of hair. Rodney is kind of my spirit animal.
Did you ever have any ‘uh oh’ moments while writing, like maybe not being sure how J.D. was going to get out of a situation?
Only a lot!
Are you a pantser or plotter?
I’m a pantser. I usually know how I’m going to start and how I’m going to end. It’s the middle parts I’m not so sure about.
Favorite thing about being a writer? Suckiest thing?
Favorite? Creating characters, mostly entertaining myself, and hoping that the things I find funny will work for the reader.
Suckiest? Putting your piece of work out into the world and hearing nothing but crickets chirping in the background.
Self-Publishing a children’s book is more challenging than, say, a romance. Are teachers and librarians a useful resource for spreading the word among your target audience?
Yes! Teachers, librarians, and parents are usually in charge of what kids end up reading. (Except in my house growing up where my parents left me alone to read whatever I wanted.) I’ve had a couple of people tell me they’re donating paperbacks of Mr. Katz to their local school library as well as a children’s hospital library. This makes me bounce in my chair a little. (And now my dog is looking at me with her head tilted.) I’m hoping to eventually do some school/library visits down the road. That would be so cool! I’m getting excited just thinking about it.
You took the step of creating a Twitter account for JD. Are you enjoying interacting as your character?
Tweeting as J.D. helps me to keep myself entertained during this whole process, and J.D. has some amazing Twitter friends. (You know who you are.) I haven’t been as active lately, but I hope to remedy that situation soon.
What is J.D.’s worst fear in the world? What’s yours?
At this point, I’d say J.D.’s worst fear in the world is getting stuck in a closet with Mary-Alice for an extended period of time.
My worst fear? Oh, gosh. So many. Flying, roller coasters, global pandemic, my son not finishing his college applications.
What was the scariest thing that happened to you at JD’s age?
The time I walked in on my sister and her boyfriend. And I’ll stop right there.
What will J.D. be doing this Halloween?
Trick-or-treating with Rodney, getting ALL of the candy, then going on a stakeout with his ghostbusting parents at an abandoned insane asylum. Kind of a typical weekend, actually.
What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Heath bars, Almond Joys, Twix bars, Kit Kat bars, and Mars bars — because I can’t possibly choose just one. (Please don’t make me!)
Best advice if we run into any zombies this Halloween?
Walk away. Just walk away. They’re zombies, and they move at, like, .05 miles per hour.
We understand the next Goethalsburg Squad book is coming soon. Can you tell us about it?
Oh, boy, can I? In Martin Barton Might Be A Werewolf, J.D. is retained — doesn’t that sound fancy? — by ten year old Miguel Vega to investigate after Miguel hears howling outside his window. J.D. is soon plunged into a world of fangs, fur, gold chains, and disco. Book 2 of my Goethalsburg Ghost Squad series will be ready to unleash on the world in the Spring of 2015.
Thank you, Bad Menagerie, for hosting me! I hope you get only good things in your trick-or-treat bags and no rolled pennies or those horrible little strawberry candies left over from last Christmas’s Swiss Colony basket.
Remember, there’s a Halloween sale now — 99 cent ebook! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!