Coming this September:
From Kelley Skovron comes a ghostly mystery that explores the little-known history of Nazi indoctrination camps in the United States.
“It started off small. Just a dripping outside my window.”
When Morgan witnesses some eerie happenings in her family’s new house, at first she shrugs them off. But as the unsettling dripping noises―and the sounds of someone crying―become more frequent, she starts to get nervous. Then a neighbor asks Morgan a blood-chilling question: What’s it like to live in a haunted house?
It seems Morgan’s new home is notorious in the town of Port Jefferson, all because of Joseph Klaus, a boy who drowned in the 1930s after vanishing from his summer camp. Morgan begins learning all she can about the Klaus boy and uncovers the little-known history of the German American Bund, a Fascist organization that indoctrinated children and forced them into labor. Klaus wasn’t just escaping from any old summer camp―he was fleeing American Nazis. As Morgan discovers the heartbreaking history of her new town, she’ll have to do everything she can to protect her family from the spirits it left behind. Because the ghost of Joseph Klaus is still trying to get home―even if he drowns the people living there.
I’m thrilled that I can start talking about this middle grade novel, which is being published by Scholastic Books! My first proper horror novel, and boy is it intense! Ghosts! Nazis! Ghost Nazis! And how spooky is that cover?!
In all seriousness, this book was an immense challenge, but also deeply rewarding. While it is a work a fiction, the history behind this story is tragically real. There truly was a summer camp in Long Island that not only emulated the Hitler Youth to indoctrinate children in Nazi ideology, but also forced them into grueling physical labor and worse. Frankly, some of it was so disturbing that after a long discussion with my editor, we decided that there were some aspects we would not explicitly describe, but only hint at. Adults will recognize those moments when they read it.
With the recent resurgence of fascism and Neo-Nazism, both at home and abroad, I felt an enormous responsibility to get this story right—especially since some of the characters that appear in flashbacks were real people who suffered terribly. I wanted to help kids growing up now to understand why stuff that happened nearly 80 years ago still matters. Because these are the things that truly haunt us as a society. The real ghosts, if you will.
I hope I did the subject justice.
So, er, perhaps you have some questions…
Indeed it is.
I jest. In truth, the GI Joe novel was slated to come out at the same time as the Snake Eyes movie and the new Phil Noto comic in the fall of 2021 in a lovely trifecta of franchise synergy. But pandemics, global shipping issues (perhaps you heard?), paper shortages, and a few other things conspired to make that impossible. So G.I. Joe Classified was pushed back nearly year. Then The Wizard of Eventide was pushed back from April. Now here we are, with three books in three months, bing bing bing!
Anyway I look forward to talking more about all three of these projects in the coming weeks and months. And specifically for The Ghost of Drowned Meadow, I look forward to sharing some of the research that didn’t make it on to the page for whatever reason, as well as exploring some of the more light-hearted aspects of the book (They exist! I promise!).
In the mean time, I hope this missive finds you all well.
Talk soon, Kelley