Havelock McCreely | The Children’s Book Review | August 28, 2014
Why do I write Middle Grade?
Good question, faceless reader, and one I will answer forthwith.
Is it because the books are shorter, giving me more time to sip champagne while sitting on my private beach watching the sun go down?
Nope. (And the private beach is totally in my head, by the way.)
Is it because of the untold wealth and riches writing such books will bestow upon me? <Splutter Cough Splutter> (Sorry that’s me choking on my laughter.)
No, I write Middle Grade books because it’s the most open-minded age group. The age group where you aren’t tied down by conventions and rules. Where you can fly as high as you like and you know your readers will be right there with you. (As long as you don’t talk down to them, of course.)
Where else can I write a book where the world is overrun with zombies, where everyone lives behind fifty feet high walls in secure towns and cities?
Where else can the outside of these towns be littered with port-a-johns converted into Zombie-Zappers, (where high-powered speakers blast out the recorded sounds of human life to attract the zombies into a trap that owes much to those UV bug zappers you hang on your porch in summer.).
Where else can I write about an undead hamster called Snuffles trying to turn the entire town’s pet population into a zombie army?
I’ll tell you, shall I? Nowhere else.
Take Young Adult, for instance. Nothing wrong with it. I enjoy reading the genre. But if this book was YA? There would have to be a romance between the two main characters, Matt and his best friend. Charlie. (And Charlie would be pretty horrified at that. She’s just not into Matt.) I’d have to write all the angst and the repressed emotions and the whole will-they-won’t-they schtick.
Nope. Not for me.
And if it was in the adult genre? The walls would have to be coated in gore. Readers desensitized by increasingly gross television shows would demand it. Friends and loved ones in the book would have to be killed in increasingly grotesque and – frankly – stupid ways à la The Walking Dead.
No, give me Middle Grade any day. Where you can have humor, horror, (but not too much), friendship, adventure, warmth and character growth without the need to be tied down by formula.
A controversial opinion, I’m sure. Young Adult? You can keep it. Adult? Nah. Too serious. Give me Middle Grade any day.
About the Author
Havelock MacCreely is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. A self-styled narrator of far-fetched stories, MacCreely insists he is a hundred and fifty years old. In 1890 he joined a joined a traveling circus that toured across the plains of Africa. he was 13 at the time. He celebrated the centenary of 1900 in London catching the master criminal Dr Horatio Silverpike, and insists he is the true-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and Gandalf the Grey.
After catching Silverpike, he headed back to Africa and discovered the true source of the Nile and also the Fountain of Youth. He then traveled across Europe and discovered a race of psychic polar bears. He helped them defeat an invading army of Norse Giants, but was unfortunately wounded in the battle. He moved to America where he lived for a while in the town of Boring, Oregon. Unfortunately, the town didn’t live up to its name and he helped foil an alien invasion before finally settling in Goblintown Va, where he currently lives and spends his time writing his far-fetched tales.
By Havelock McCreely
“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
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.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: EgmontUSA | July 8, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1606844915
Follow along with our Middle Grade Books tag to discover more fun titles, in addition to Havelock McCreely’s My Zombie Hamster, of course.