HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12My Writing and Reading Life: Laurel Gale, Author of Dead Boy
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My Writing and Reading Life: Laurel Gale, Author of Dead Boy

Laurie Wallmark | The Children’s Book Review | December 6, 2015

DEAD BOY is Laurel Gale’s first novel. Gale says, “I wondered what it would be like for a ‘live’ dead boy to try to make friends. I had no idea what would happen next, so I kept writing to find out.”

Like Crow, Gale resides in the Nevada desert. She lives with her husband and a band of furry monsters that might actually be ferrets, her favorite animal (even though they don’t make an appearance in this story).

Latest published book …

… is Dead Boy. It’s both my latest and my first published book. It’s a middle grade fantasy about a boy who is, as the title suggests, dead. Kind of. He doesn’t sleep or eat, and he has problems with maggots and rot, but he doesn’t eat brains or shuffle around or do any of the other traditional zombie stuff. In the book, he makes a friend, and together they confront the monster responsible for his smelly state.

You wrote it because …

I love stories that blend things, like fantasy and reality or humor and horror. Dead Boy does this. It’s also about friendship and being one’s best without being judgmental about it, and these ideas are very close to my heart.

Best moment …

… in Dead Boy is probably when Melody figures out that Crow is dead but still wants to be friends with him. I loved writing Melody’s character, so this scene was a lot of fun for me. In my writing career so far, the best moment has been when I got to see the art for Dead Boy for the first time.

Your special place to write …

… is my home office, which sounds grand but is really just a small corner of my home with a desk, my laptop, and lots of books. It’s perfect, though, because it means I’m close to my kitchen and surrounded by my ferrets.

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

… is my laptop. I have a hard time writing without it. My penmanship seems to get worse every year, and I end up scratching out half of what I write anyway. I am seriously grateful for modern technology when it comes to writing.

Favorite bookshop …

… is The Writer’s Block in Las Vegas. They have a real rabbit and an artificial bird sanctuary. They do lots of writing workshops and other activities. And they have books! Any place with books is wonderful.

Currently reading …

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. It’s one of those books that I could easily speed through, but I’m forcing myself to slow down because I don’t want it to end.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t write …

… is likely to change at any moment, possibly multiple times a day, but The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett is always high on my list of favorite children’s books.

An author you idolize …

… is J. K. Rowling. First and foremost, the Harry Potter series is amazing; the characters are so real, the world so rich. And then there’s her influence on children’s literature, which has been tremendous. I think children’s publishing is a lot stronger today because of her. Finally, she could have been satisfied with her Harry Potter success, but she decided to write in a different genre and under a (not so secret anymore) pen name, which I think shows a real passion for writing.

Favorite illustrator …

… is Yoko Tanaka, but I might be a little biased because she did the cover art and interior illustrations for Dead Boy. I think her work has a very imaginative and mysterious feel.

A literary character to vacation with …

… is Hermione Granger. She’d pack everything I might forget, and she’d be a great source of information if I had any questions. The magic could come in handy, too.

Connect with Laurel Gale …

LaurelGale.com | Twitter


Written by Laurel Gale

Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka

Publisher’s Synopsis: Fans of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book will embrace this darkly funny debut novel about Crow, a dead boy, who has a chance at friendship—and a chance at getting his life back.

Crow Darlingson may be dead, but he still loves air hockey, bowling, and drawing. Like other kids, his mother makes sure he finishes his homework, and he always looks forward to Halloween.

But Crow Darlingson isn’t like other kids. He stinks. He’s got maggots. His body parts fall off at inopportune moments. And he hasn’t been able to sleep in years. Not since waking up from death.

Despite the maggots, Crow is lonely. When Melody Plympton moves in next door, Crow finally has a chance at friendship and a shot at getting his life back from the mysterious wish-granting creature living in the park. But first there are tests to pass. And it means risking the only friend he’s had in years.

Debut author Laurel Gale’s story about friendship fulfilled may be the most moving—and most macabre—yet.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0553510089

Available Here: 

Discover more books like Dead Boyby Laurel Gale and Yoko Tanaka, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with  and ; and be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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