NEW RELEASE and GIVEAWAY
Come Little Children
by D. Melhoff
Come Little Children is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The author stops by today for an interview. You can also read my review. Please visit all of the other tour stops and enter the giveaway below.
A hidden town. A paranormal rumor. A family secret.
After graduating from the mortuary program at Mount Royal University, Camilla Carleton moves to a secluded town in the northern Yukon for her first job at a family-run funeral home. Her new employers, however, are the town’s most controversial citizens, and when strange occurrences begin happening around the morgue – including late night visits from children who were thought to be dead – she won’t stop until she uncovers the truth behind these paranormal events.
But unraveling the funeral home’s secret is just the start. When Camilla is faced with life and death decisions of her own, she must fight to undo a horrific chain of events while struggling to outsmart a serial killer, save her family, and escape the morgue alive.
Camilla Carleton, a recently-graduated mortician, travels to the Yukon to start her first job in the Vincent Funeral Home, run by the strange members of the Vincent family. A soaking wet six year old boy shows up on the their doorstep on Camilla’s first night, but that is only the beginning of the strangeness. Camilla starts speculating about what’s going on, but none of her imaginary scenarios can possibly prepare her for what is happening in reality. What dark secrets is this family hiding?
When a tragic accident threatens to ruin her life, Camilla must make a difficult decision and put her trust in Peter, the youngest Vincent. This sets in motion a chain of events which will forever haunt her.
This story starts of slowly, but stick with it. Once the action starts, you won’t be able to stop reading. Full of gory details of dead bodies and morticians’ practices, this book is moody and atmospheric. It is also darkly humorous, as evidenced by the hilarious comedy of errors that nearly sees Camilla fired on her first day of work. Come Little Children is extremely well-written, and the author has an impressive vocabulary. I’ll be keeping an eye out for future works by this debut author.
Interview With the Author
Hi D. Melhoff, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Come Little Children.
What age group do you recommend your book for?
Come Little Children is for 18 and up (mainly for violence and “mature situations”), but let’s get real. We were all reading that kind of stuff much earlier on, so I’d probably slip it to a 15- or 16-year-old and say, “Go for it.”
What sparked the idea for this book?
Drugs. Sort of.
I had jaw surgery a few years ago, and I was flat on my back for almost three weeks solid. One of those afternoons, I remember watching a TV special about the funeral business (or at least I thought I was watching a TV special, maybe it was a hallucination from all the painkillers) and it hit me that a morgue would make the perfect setting for a story I’d been kicking around for a while. Plus, I’ve always wanted to write about morticians, so the morphine gave me the extra push I needed.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
It differs by project. In the case of Come Little Children, Camilla waltzed into my head out of nowhere, a fully formed image of a beautiful and intelligent mortician. The story was built around her.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Getting the start of the book right was challenging. For one thing, I had to introduce this main character who has a very strange – and distinct – view of the world, as well as a sense of humor, while simultaneously taking readers to places they’ve never been before (the Yukon, the town of Nolan, a funeral home, etc.). When you have that many unfamiliar elements at the start of a novel, there’s not a lot of common ground that readers can draw on and use to form a clear image in their head, so you have to be careful you don’t lose them.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope they enjoy the thrill ride and realize that not all horror is purely about blood, guts, and gore – some of it is much more subtle. Consequently, I hope they go around recommending it to friends who might not usually read this genre.
I sure will! How long did it take you to write this book?
Two years, part time.
What is your writing routine?
6:15am – 8:00am – Wake up, get ready, commute to the office (I have some co-working space downtown)
8:00am – 8:15am – Deal with e-mails
8:15am – 12:00pm – Write, research, talk with editors and publishers
12:00pm – 12:30pm – Shovel lunch down my throat
12:30pm – 5:00pm – More writing, more researching, etc.
5:00pm – 8:00pm – Commute home. Eat, drink, and be merry.
8:00pm – 2:00am – Anyone’s guess. Sometimes I’ll take the evening off if I feel I’ve had a productive day, but most of the time my mind wanders back to my current project, so I’ll just keep writing. Personally, I like working late. There’s something special in the air when the rest of the continent goes to sleep and no one’s awake to bother you.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Take criticism as objectively as possible. Work in the good feedback; forget the trolls. Take breaks, but go hard and give your project as much time and attention as you can afford. At the same time, don’t stress about the aspects you can’t control.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Play chess and take in live theater. I wish I could say I’m a thrill-seeker in my personal life as well as my writing life, but alas, it isn’t so.
What does your family think of your writing?
Many of them died in a tragic fire, so thank you for bringing it up.
Only joking. They’re very supportive.
I never do know when you’re joking! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
All right, Dr. Lecter. I grew up in a small city that has since turned into something of a ghost town. My mother is a psychiatric nurse and my father owns a brew pub (unfortunately, I had neither free alcohol nor therapy growing up), and my grandparents own a farm roughly ten miles north of the city limits.
My father was athletic in his day, so he tried to enroll me in every sport he enjoyed. Hockey, baseball, soccer – you name it. Sadly, I wasn’t very good at any of them. In fact, I stunk. I’d usually show up to the locker rooms with a book tucked under my arm, or find myself day-dreaming in the outfield during all my minor league baseball games (which is actually a good place to day-dream, seeing as kids at that age aren’t usually good enough to whack the ball past second base). My sports career ended around sixth grade, which is roughly the time I started writing.
Did you enjoy school?
I was good at school, and I enjoyed some classes, but I wouldn’t say I’m an academic. The only reasons I got good marks were because: 1) I have a good memory for facts, and 2) I’m comfortable with public speaking.
I graduated from university with high honors and great distinction, but oddly enough, I hate research and academic readings. Warning: If you want more on my perspective regarding the flaws of our current post-secondary system, we’ll need to start an entirely separate blog post.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
What was your favorite book as a child?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I liked the idea of being a writer early on (high school), but it took a while to finally get there. I dabbled in screenplays and poetry in university, then eventually moved on to novels.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Sure, but don’t our childhoods influence everything we do? I guess far as direct influence – such as sticking certain settings and people into my books – I’d say yes, I probably draw on some inspiration from when I was little. But don’t get the wrong idea and think that my childhood household was anything like the Vincent Funeral Home.
I should hope not! Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
A lot of them finish my first book and immediately ask, “What’s next?” Which is a good sign, I guess. Most of them just like the posts on my Facebook page (#shameless_plug).
That said, what can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a summer camp horror story, which I’m very excited about. Nothing paranormal in this one, just my own take on the classic “summer slasher” story (with a few new twists, of course).
Sounds great! Thanks so much for stopping by today. It’s been a pleasure.
Thank you for the interview.
About the Author
D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town located an inch above the Canadian-American border. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Raimi, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.
Come Little Children is D. Melhoff’s first commercial release.
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for your chance to win one of five paperback copies (US only) or one of five ebook copies of Come Little Children by D. Melhoff (international).