Tuesday, November 12, 2019

*Book Tour & Giveaway* Body Farm Z by Deborah Sheldon-GUEST POST

Body Farm Z
by Deborah Sheldon
Genre: Horror

To solve murders, you must understand the process of decomposition. Australia’s newest body farm, the Victorian Taphonomic Experimental Research Institute, is hidden in bushland some four hours’ drive from Melbourne. Scattered across its 150 acres are human donor cadavers and pig carcasses arranged to mimic some of the ways in which police might find murder victims: exposed to the elements, buried in a shallow grave, wrapped in tarpaulin. Forensic scientists and graduate students meticulously track each stage of putrefaction. Today, Detective Rick Evans of the Homicide Squad is at VITERI for the re-creation of one of his cold cases. A human donor will be locked inside a car. But the donor has other ideas... So begins a facility-wide outbreak of the reanimated dead. 

I'm an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. I write short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum. 

My latest releases, through several publishing houses, include the horror novels "Body Farm Z", "Contrition", and "Devil Dragon"; the horror novella "Thylacines"; the crime-noir novellas "Dark Waters" and "Ronnie and Rita"; and the dark fantasy and horror collection "Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories" (winner of the Australian Shadows Best Collected Work 2017). 

My short fiction has appeared in many well-respected magazines such as Quadrant, Island, Aurealis, SQ Mag, and Midnight Echo. My fiction has been shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, long-listed for a Bram Stoker Award, and included in various "best of" anthologies. I'm also guest editor of this year's edition of Midnight Echo. 

Other credits include TV scripts such as Neighbours and Australia's Most Wanted, feature articles for national magazines, non-fiction books published by Reed Books and Random House, and award- winning medical writing.
Publisher: Severed Press 
Facebook: @SeveredPress  Twitter: @severedpress

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I doubt I could capture the personality of a real person on paper! Real people are infinitely complicated. Even if I could, the demands of the plot would soon change them beyond recognition. This is because characters are the flip-side of plot; the stuff that happens in a story depends on how characters think, feel and respond.
However, I need to “see” characters in my mind’s eye before I can write about them. I use real-life “tags” to help pin down my characters. For example, in Body Farm Z, the caretaker looks a lot like my husband – 6’4”, solidly built, middle-aged, of Northern European stock. But that’s where the similarities end. Sometimes, the “tag” is as simple as a real person’s haircut, gait, or style of speech. I might take a single trait from people I know or from strangers I’ve noticed in the street, at the mall or in a restaurant, but the bottom line is that my characters come from my imagination, and spring from the necessities of the plot.

Where did you come up with the character names?
I have a systematic approach. Once I decide age, sex and ethnicity, only then do I look for names. A few rules I’ve given myself...
Firstly, each name has to start with a different letter of the alphabet. (Stories that have a Martha, Melba, Muriel and Mabel soon get me bamboozled.) Since names go in and out of fashion, the age of the character matters greatly, which is why I always scour lists of popular names throughout the relevant decades. (For example, how old do you think a man named Cecil might be?) Incorporating a range of ethnicities not only reflects the makeup of multicultural Australia, but in fiction helps the reader to remember which character is which: in Body Farm Z, for example, how could you confuse Rick Evans with Magnus Vestergaard?
The most important element, however, is how the full name sounds. I speak it aloud; does it hit the ear like a real name? If not, I decide whether I prefer the first name or the surname, ditch the other, and keep searching.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I sold my first piece: a non-fiction article on steroid abuse to an Australian bodybuilding magazine. (I was a gym rat back in the day.) I was eighteen years old, in my first year of university, and had been writing in various forms since I could hold a crayon. I can still remember my disbelief and joy upon opening the envelope and seeing a cheque instead of a rejection letter. (Yes, that’s how old I am – this happened in 1986, way before the internet or email. Everything was done by “snail mail” back then.)

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