Saturday, November 16, 2019

Book Tour and Giveaway: Body Farm Z by Deborah Sheldon

Title: Body Farm Z
Author:  Deborah Sheldon
Publisher: Severed Press
Publication Date: August 14th 2019
Genre: Horror, Adult
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.

Q. What inspired you to write Body Farm Z?
A. One evening, I was chatting to my husband about my work-in-progress, the horror-noir novel Contrition, when he asked me if I’d considered writing a zombie story. I admitted that I hadn’t – but if I ever did, I’d set it on a forensic body farm. An isolated facility hidden in remote bushland, hours away from help, with scores of dead bodies scattered everywhere: what could be a scarier setting? Our conversation moved on, but the idea of a zombie uprising at a body farm stayed with me. I had to write it. That idea wouldn’t leave me alone!

Q. Did you learn anything during the writing of Body Farm Z?
A. An awful lot about the decomposition process! For example, did you know that the gut microbiome – those friendly bacteria that help to digest food – start noshing on your insides before your dead body has cooled? Or that dried-out dead organs make “creaking” noises as your abdominal cavity bloats with gas? Nah, me neither. And to be honest, it was absolutely captivating. Before I began writing fiction, I was a health and medical writer for a couple of decades. Human physiology has always fascinated me, but I’ve never before had cause to investigate the processes of death so thoroughly.

As a medical writer, I wanted to create zombies that are faithful (more or less) to real-world physiology. For instance, my zombies don’t make vocalisations, since that would require exhaled air passing through vocal cords. And since my zombies are dead, they don’t breathe.

Q. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A. The action sequences. Very challenging! Other than sex scenes, action scenes are the most difficult to write. If you’re not careful, you end up with a laundry list of verbs, or worse, a boring “this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened” kind of mechanical droning. You have to juggle the action itself – involving physical moves, description of injuries, character thoughts and feelings, incorporation of the terrain – plus pacing, context and (paradoxically) restraint.

By restraint, I mean “less is more”. The temptation when writing an action scene is to go full throttle, but doing so risks pushing the scene into melodrama. Sometimes, deliberately underwriting a scene is what’s required to give it more power.
Win a $20 Amazon gift card or an eBook of the Horror collection Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories by Deborah Sheldon!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


  1. The cover is perfect! Sounds like a great horror read!

  2. scary book cover , great for this book.

  3. Love the cover! Sounds like a creepy, fascinating read!

  4. This looks like a story I would enjoy reading! Love the cover!

  5. I have been introduced to Deborah Sheldon by this blog, and I am so happy! I went to her Goodreads and saw so many great books. I have now found some Holiday reading. I can't wait!

  6. My first thought on seeing the cover was Matrix...zombie infested. Though that could be a great book in itself. 8) Love the sound of the story & looking forward to reading it. Congrats on the book release.

  7. I like the cover- it's a good indicator of what the book is going to be like

  8. The cover is really great- I love zombie novels. Can't wait!

  9. The book cover is different but I like it

  10. Seems interesting and the cover fits it perfectly.