Katie Hayoz was born in the USA but has lived more than half of her life in Switzerland. She writes for all ages, from children to adults. She has a penchant for writing weird, silly, or scary stories and often tries to combine all three.
1) How did you come up with the idea of "tackling" a myth like Heidi? And why did you mix it with fantasy?
Heidi has been retold many times by many different people, so taking on her story was nothing new. However, those retellings are usually similar to the original. I wanted to take the characters and give them a new adventure, all while adding my personal touch. My touch just happens to be anything weird, silly, or fantastical. In this book, I guess it’s all three!
2) Of all the imaginary creatures that exist, you chose zombies, why? Was your idea to write a "Halloween" book?
Heidi’s world is beautiful and breathtaking. So I took the opposite—something ugly and disgusting—and dropped it into that world. You can’t get much uglier than zombies! I wasn’t thinking about Halloween; I was thinking simply that the zombies would be even more fun to encounter in the alps than in a deserted city like they usually are.
3) Your Heidi has nothing to envy the "classic" one in terms of courage and humour. Why did you choose to portray her in such a fearless way and the more "smooth" image of the original?
We are drawn to the story of Heidi because we love the themes in the book—the beauty and healing power of nature, the importance of friendship, and the freedom of simplicity. However, the character in the original novel is of her times and almost too perfect to believe nowadays. I wanted to keep the same themes as the classic but create a more modern, more realistic, and more fun version of the heroine. (It’s also very possible that Heidi and her annoyance with chores is very much like me.)
4) Who would you give the book to?
I have two daughters who might pretend to be too old for the story now, but I think they’ll secretly enjoy it!
5) The next myth, Swiss or otherwise, that you'd like to bust neck?
I have ideas for more adventures with Heidi and friends. But I’d also really love to tell the (un)true story of William Tell…with werewolves.