Home Improvement: Undead Edition by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

By Don Helin

In their latest Anthology, Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner compiled stories so scary that Romantic Times Book Review says, “As home repair projects can sometimes take on a hellish nature, 14 authors hit the nail on the head with these truly DIY nightmares.”

There’s nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or other-worldly portals in the attic.  Editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner return with an all new story collection of the paranormal perils of DIY . . .   This is the fourth anthology from New York Times best selling pair Toni L.P. Kelner and co-editor Charlaine Harris.  Kelner is also the author of the “Where are we Now?” mysteries, the Laura Fleming mystery series, and the forthcoming Family Skeleton Series.  She’s won an Agatha Award and an RT Career Achievement Award, and has been nominated for the Anthony and the Macavity awards.

I caught up with Toni L.P. Kelner the other day and had a chance to ask her a number of questions.

Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about Home Improvement: Undead Edition?

As with our other anthologies, Charlaine and I cheerfully invited writers from all over the place.  This time we’ve got Melisa Marr, who is more known for young adult books; Heather Graham, one of the reigning queens of romance; award-winning private eye writer S.J. Rozan; Victor Gischler, who’s  equally at home on the mean streets and on comic books pages; and James Grady, whose Six Days of the Condor is one of the classic spy novels.  Their stories, and those of our other contributors, are just as wide-ranging as their backgrounds.

Did any particular event inspire the idea?

If you’d ever done any home improvement projects, either do-it-yourself or with contractors, you’d never ask that question.  No renovation project has ever been completed without unpleasant surprises, and though in the real world it’s more likely to be termite damage, it can still be pretty damn scary.

What are you doing to promote the anthology?

One of the best parts about anthologies is that instead of one lone author mournfully trying to dredge up interest, we’ve got a pack of fourteen of us talking it up on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms that are too cool for me to be aware of.  Plus Ace always does a great job featuring us in catalogs and such.  On the bad side, it makes it really hard to schedule in-person events, and I don’t think we’ll be able to wangle it at this time.

What’s next?

Charlaine and I are already collecting stories for the next anthology, An Apple for the Creature, which is going to be about the horrors of education.  It’s scheduled for back-to-school time in 2012.

When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc)?

I spend a ludicrous amount of time playing computer games on line, notably Neopets, and I find myself watching a lot of video as my husband and I work at introducing our two daughters to the classics.  Currently we’re going through Buffy the Vampire Slayer for our younger girl, Valerie, and Torchwood for our older girl, Maggie.  Otherwise I share the same hobbies as most stay-at-home mothers: driving the kids to and fro and nagging those same kids to do homework and tend to the guinea pigs.  Some parents substitute other pets for the piggies, of course.

What’s your story about?

I have jumped on the zombie bandwagon, at least in a small way.  My story, In Brightest Day, is a mystery about a zombie getting murdered.  Repeatedly.  I’m sure there are other zombie mysteries, but this may be the first one set in Dunwoody, GA.  (It’s a surprise for my mother-in-law who lives there).

Thanks so much, Toni.  I hope that everyone gets their copy of Home Improvement: Undead Edition.  I know that I will.

*****

This is the fourth anthology from NYT bestselling pair Toni L.P. Kelner and co-editor Charlaine Harris. Kelner is also the author of the “Where are They Now?” mysteries, the Laura Fleming mystery series, and the forthcoming Family Skeleton Series. She’s won an Agatha Award and an RT Career Achievement Award, and has been nominated for the Anthony and the Macavity awards.

To learn more about Toni, please visit her website.

Don Helin

Don Helin published his first thriller, They Kingdom Come, in 2009. His second, Devil's Den, is an Indie Book Award Finalist Best Second Novel. Don lives in central PA, and is hard at work on his next novel.

Contact him at: www.donhelin.com.

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