Dead Voices Blog Tour

One question to the author: Why spooky for middle grade readers? 

Kids really like scary books. Why? Who knows. I think it’s because scary stuff goes straight for the lizard brain, grabs it, and gives it a shake. People of all ages like having a shortcut to their most fundamental emotions. For a kid, a good scare is a safe way to get that. Emphasis on safe. Safe fear is fun. You get the thrill, you get your heart racing, your fight-or-flight instincts going. But when the story is over, you put it away, and snuggle up in the covers and all is well.

Why did decide to write kids’ horror? Well, I had an idea for a book (what eventually became Small Spaces), and I didn’t think it would work as an adult book. So I tried writing the story for kids, and it worked quite well. Writing middle grade horror was a fun exercise for me because of course, in middle grade horror, you don’t have as big of a “scary stuff toolkit” as you have when writing for adults. A middle grade author cannot employ some of adult horror’s stock in trade like gore, torture, explicit violence, etc. The scares have to be achieved solely through creating and sustaining an atmosphere of dread. That is a wonderful challenge for a writer and one I have really enjoyed.

Why middle grade horror more broadly? Well—why not? Always assuming the book is put in the right kid’s hands (and I am the first to say that not every kid is ready for scares and educators need to be cautious with sensitive kids) horror can be a lot of fun. And I am a big believer in books being fun. 

Dead Voices is the sequel to Small Spaces which was a huge hit in my classroom last year! I couldn't tell you how many of my 52 students read it, I know WAY more than half, but I CAN tell you they all LOVED it. It comes highly recommended to the incoming 5th graders that I have. The spooky story trend has definitely become a huge hit in my classroom over the last few years and I am so excited to share with them Dead Voices, because it did NOT disappoint. 

Dead Voices takes you on a journey with Coco, Ollie, and Brian as they go to the woods to a ski resort that Ollie's dad had won. As they are traveling to the resort they are managing their way slowly, but safely, through a horrific snow storm. During the drive to Mt. Hemlock Resort, Coco falls asleep and experiences a dream of which a young girl is telling her things that don't seem real. Not to listen to the voices. Determined to arrive, Ollie's dad makes it finally, but as he is pulling in Coco sees a young man standing in the entrance drive out in the snowy, cold weather. As Coco yells for Ollie's dad to stop, nobody else had seen this young man. This was just the start of the spookiness that follows them to the ski resort. 

As you read on, you start to learn that those who you think you can trust, can not be trusted, and that in the end friends who have been through the worst with you will do anything to protect you. During this story, it's Coco's turn to be the brave one, it's her turn to be the one to ensure everyone is safe. It's also her turn to fight for Ollie. I truly hope there is a next story and that it's Brian's turn and that all of the kids are returned back safely home....

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One
August 19 – The Midnight Society – Inspiration Collage
August 20 – Fangirl Fury – Review + Inspired by the Book: Baking Recipe
August 21 – Teachers Who Read – Reviews + Author Guest Post: Why spooky for middle grade readers?
August 22 – Bookishgals – Creative Instagram Picture
August 23 – Liezel and Angie’s Book Blog – Review

Week Two
August 26 – Word Spelunking – Inspired by the Book: Baking Project
August 27 – By Hook or By Book – Review
August 28 – Vicariously & Voraciously  
August 29 – The Book Deviant – Review

    Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

     Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie's watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

     With Mr. Voland's help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help--or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

     Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

Born in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent a year of high school in Rennes, France. Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrollment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature. After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crepes to guiding horse trips. Currently, she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.


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