Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens
Guest Blog Post

By Julie Mata

      A lot of people have asked how I came up with the idea to write a book about a girl who wants to make movies. It was easy—I just looked at my own daughters! They loved to create little films with their friends when they were young. Kids like messing around with cameras, even if it’s just the one on their phone, so it seemed like a natural fit for my main character, Kate Walden. It also helps that my husband and I own a video production business, so I have some knowledge about writing, shooting and editing.
      Since Kate wants to be a Hollywood director when she grows up, I wanted the plot to focus on a movie she’s trying to make. Our daughters were always dragging our pets into their productions, whether they wanted roles or not! At the time I wrote Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens, we were living on a small acreage and had ten hens—the Ladies, we called them. From a kid’s perspective, chickens are funny creatures—the way they waddle and squawk, and the way they will, ahem, poop in their own food if you let them. So I decided Kate’s mother would raise organic hens and they would be Kate’s stars. And what kid doesn’t want zombies in her movie? So Night of the Zombie Chickens was born.
      In my story, Kate’s best friend abandons her and Kate makes some bad choices as she tries to get back at her. This plotline came from watching our daughters navigate middle school. I saw firsthand that those years can be tough. Kids are not always nice to each other. That’s why I created a character who isn’t always nice, either. She worries about her social standing. She gets in a fight with her friend. She quarrels with her younger brother. Like her peers, Kate is struggling to figure things out. She’s leaving childhood behind but adulthood is still a scary, gray fog on the horizon. It’s no wonder kids clump together in groups for support! And there’s plenty of poking and elbowing going on as they try to find their own place.

      Kate finds her niche by being the girl who loves to make movies. I do think that movie making is a great activity for kids. It’s fun, it’s creative, and it doesn’t involve video games, internet, or TV. On my Instagram, KateWaldenDirects, I post 15-second video filmmaking tips that kids can try in their own productions—everything from making blood to using a skateboard as a camera dolly. I hope that kids, after reading about Kate and her adventures, will check out these tips and then get together with their friends and think up their own creative ways to have fun shooting!

Disney is kindly offering a free copy of Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US/Canada to win. Enter below!


Ruth Cox aka abitosunshine said...

Organic Zombie chickens and photo shoots? Kids of all ages are sure to love this book!

Jo said...

Film making is a terrific outlet for kids creativity! Sounds like a wonderful premise for a story.
I'm looking forward to reading your book.

Catch My Words said...

This sounds like a great book to add to my school library. Zombie Chickens -- what a hoot!


Rosi said...

I thought I left a comment several days ago, but it's not here! Anyway, the concept of this is great. The title cracks me up. I am definitely going to check this out. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I remember my kids' middle school years. Some days it was like walking through a mine field! Thanks for the chance to win your book!

Anonymous said...

The world has changed so much since I was a kid. I still remember the wonderment at being able to show my children a Disney movie anytime I wanted. And now? Every child with a cell phone can make a video. They understand production values a lot more than I ever will. Such a topical book. BTW - my mother who grew up on a farm would always describe how when you chopped off a chicken's head, the body would continue running around.